Video: Donald Trump reportedly made the request during a February meeting in the Oval Office. (Photo:AP/Evan Vucci) (ABC News)
A top Republican has said he will seek copies of any memos sacked FBI director James Comey wrote about his meetings with Donald Trump, after claims the US President urged an investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn be shut down.
- Comey memo reportedly documented Trump request to shut down FBI probe into Flynn
- White House denies reports, Republican Jason Chaffetz calls for copies of memo
- Document would be clearest proof Trump tried to influence investigation
The newspaper cited a memo Mr Comey wrote shortly after the conversation.
The newspaper's reports have been backed up by a source familiar with the situation, Associated Press said.
The White House quickly denied the report, saying it was "not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr Comey".
"While the President has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the President has never asked Mr Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn," the White House said in a statement.
The explosive new development follows a week of tumult at the White House, after Mr Trump fired Mr Comey and then discussed sensitive national security information about Islamic State with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The memo would be the clearest proof to date that the President has tried to influence the investigation into his campaign's alleged ties to Russia.
The Times said it was part of a paper trail created by Mr Comey, who documented what he saw as Mr Trump's efforts to improperly interfere in the ongoing probe.
The Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, Jason Chaffetz, said a letter had been drafted giving the Justice Department until May 24 to hand over copies of any communications between Mr Comey and Mr Trump.
Mr Chaffetz said the memo raised concerns "about improper interference placed on an active investigation".
He said in a tweet that he had his "subpoena pen ready".
'I hope you can let this go,' Trump reportedly saidMr Flynn resigned the day before the February 14 Oval Office meeting, after it was revealed he apparently had lied about the nature of his contacts with Russia's ambassador.
Reports emerged that he failed to disclose talks he had with Russia's ambassador about US sanctions on Moscow.
In his resignation letter, Mr Flynn said he held numerous calls with the Russian ambassador during the transition and gave "incomplete information" about those discussions to Vice-President Mike Pence.
The New York Times said Mr Trump told Mr Comey of the Flynn investigation: "I hope you can let this go."
Mr Trump abruptly fired Mr Comey last week, saying he did so based on his very public handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe.
Politicians have alleged that the sudden ousting was an attempt to stifle the bureau's investigation into Mr Trump's associates' ties to Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
According to the New York Times, Mr Comey wrote in the memo that Mr Trump told him Mr Flynn had done nothing wrong.
But Mr Comey did not say anything to Mr Trump about limiting the investigation.
Legal experts took a dim view of Mr Trump's comments, as quoted in the memo.
"For the President to tell the FBI to end a potential criminal investigation, that's obstruction of justice," said Erwin Chereminsky, a constitutional law professor and dean of the University of California's Irvine School of Law.
"This is what caused President Nixon to resign from office."
"I'm not going to take a memo, I want the guy to come in," Senator Graham said.
"If he felt confident enough to write it down, he should come in and tell us about it."
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he would ask Mr Comey for additional material as part of the panel's investigation.
"Memos, transcripts, tapes, the list keeps getting longer," he said.