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Notes made by former FBI Director Comey say Trump pressured him to end Flynn probe

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump (L-R), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. To match Exclusive EUROPE-TRUMP/ REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

President Donald Trump asked the FBI to drop its investigation into his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and urged the FBI director James Comey instead to pursue reporters in leak investigations, according to private notes taken by Comey, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to a set of notes written by Comey following a February meeting with the president, Trump brought up the counterintelligence investigation into Flynn and urged Comey to drop the probe in the wake of the national security adviser's resignation.

"I hope you can let this go,'' Trump said, according to the Comey notes, which were described by associates. Comey's written account of the meeting is two pages long and highly detailed, the associates said. The details of Comey's notes of the meeting were first reported by The New York Times.

Officials have previously said that Trump and his senior staff have been pressing the FBI to prioritize leak investigations over the bureau's ongoing probe into possible coordination between Russian officials and Trump associates. On Tuesday, people close to the matter said Comey kept detailed notes of his multiple conversations with Trump.

Details of Comey's notes were shared with a very small circle of people at the FBI and Justice Department, these people said.

Comey's description of the event make clear his understanding of the conversation was that the president was seeking to impede the investigation, according to people who have read the account or had it read to them, these people said. Comey felt the conversation was improper and decided to keep the details of the conversations away from the case agents working on the Russia probe.

An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

A White House statement denied the version of the conversation described by those who had seen Comey's notes, saying "the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end an investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn ... This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.''