Ex-FBI head accuses Trump of pressure on Russian Federation probe

Cheryl Sanders
June 8, 2017

As Former FBI Director James Comey prepares to testify before the Senate Thursday, Republican lawmakers have a message for President Donald Trump: Turn off the TV and hide your phone.

In a March phone conversation, the seven-page statement submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee continued, Trump asked Comey to "lift the cloud" of an FBI investigation into Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 election. "I didn't move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed", Comey wrote.

A spokesman says the interview was canceled because Pence was running late.

"No. No. Next question", Trump said.

During a White House photo opportunity with congressional leaders on Tuesday, Mr Trump was asked by a reporter if he had any message for Mr Comey before his testimony.

Turley says in an email that "the comments are grossly inappropriate", but that "we do not indict people for being boorish or clueless".

WMNF will be live broadcasting the Comey testimony in front of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSIC), starting at 10am, courtesy of NPR.

Thursday's public hearing begins at 10 a.m. ET. With titles like, "On My Honor, Or Yours?", "Serving At The President's Pleasure", "Passion Under Oath", "Highly Sensitive Material", or "Oval Office Confidential".

"On the morning of April 11, the President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I "get out" that he is not personally under investigation". He then said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go". Flynn had resigned a day earlier.

Fired FBI Director James Comey's gripping written account of his private encounters with Donald Trump since January reads like a movie script, giving Americans a rare fly-on-the-wall view as the president and the FBI director parry like two alpha males warily circling each other. "I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me", Comey said. According to Comey, Trump was keenly interested in having the FBI director publicize that he was not under investigation.

Then, Trump brought up and denied the infamous pee pee tape, out of nowhere, almost a month after Comey had initially briefed him on those allegations.

Trump was then president-elect. The impeachment of President Clinton for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinksy, for example, grew out of an unrelated investigation into the finances of a real estate deal. As he writes in his testimony, if Trump did emerge later on as a target, Comey would be compelled to correct the public record. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the statement was unsurprising in that it matches what has already been publicly reported.

Comey added, "I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December". And, more amazingly, Comey recalls that he had two one-on-one conversations with Obama in four years; he had nine (!) one-on-one conversations with Trump between January 6 and when he was sacked on May 9.

He says Trump asked him to stay behind in the Oval Office after a meeting with a larger group, and as they stood near a grandfather clock, Trump described Flynn as a good guy who'd been through a lot.

"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, " Comey said, quoting the president.

Comey said that he immediately prepared a memo documenting the February exchange.

And, of course, the investigation is continuing.

Unfortunately for Comey, Trump had no intention of playing that game and dancing that dance.

I'm no lawyer, but what more do you need?

Whether Comey believes his firing was linked to the FBI's Russian Federation probe will likely be a main focus when he testifies on Thursday. His prepared statement was released Wednesday afternoon. "Director Comey's statement reconfirmed what the president has been saying all along - he was never under investigation". Trump immediately asked if Comey wanted to remain in his job, and said many other people would want it - a request Comey found unusual, as Trump had already asked him to stay on as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, and Comey had already accepted. How is it remotely OK that Trump insinuated Comey should be grateful to him for loyalty?

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