Paul Ryan: Not Appropriate for Trump to Ask for Comey's Loyalty

Cheryl Sanders
June 8, 2017

Trump fired Mr. Comey last month, Mr. Comey had disclosed the meeting to a few of his closest advisers but nobody at the Justice Department, according to the officials, who did not want to be identified discussing Mr. Comey's interactions with Mr. Trump and Mr. Sessions.

"Comey says that the president said Flynn was "a good guy" and asked Comey to drop the investigation", said John F. Wood, a former U.S. Attorney and former chief of staff for the Department of Homeland Security.

The President allegedly said: "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go".

Both Comey and Trump talk about what a good guy Flynn is.

The exchange took place after a meeting between Trump and senior intelligence and homeland security officials, after which the President asked to speak to the FBI Director alone.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, says nothing he read in Comey's statement persuades him that Trump violated the law by interfering with a federal investigation.

"It was very concerning, given the FBI's role as an independent investigative agency".


Trump was then president-elect.

CORRECTION AND UPDATE: This article was published before Comey released his prepared opening statement.

Trump has also called investigations into whether his campaign colluded with Russians a "witch hunt". And, in those conversations Trump is repeatedly cast as attempting to secure Comey's loyalty - and, at times, suggesting his job depends on it. (FBI directors are appointed for 10 year terms but, as we know, can be fired at any time by a president.) That he asks for Comey to end the probe into Flynn is, at minimum a massive breach of protocol.

"We will fix it", said Trump, standing along the Ohio River.

Comey did not say whether he thought the president's actions amounted to obstructing the investigation - an issue lawmakers are expected to highlight Thursday in their questions.

The director's encounters with Trump were so unusual and often uncomfortable, that Comey started memorializing the communications in memos, starting with his first January 6 meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan where the director briefed the president-elect on the contents of an unsubstantiated and sexually-charged dossier purporting to link Trump to the Kremlin. What matters in considering possible obstruction of justice, this source added, is the President's intent, not how Comey felt about it. "He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda", said Kasowitz, the White House outside counsel.

The Republican Party also singled out the same helpful passages of Comey's testimony.


"I feel the weight and responsibility of getting it right and conveying the details", she said.

Comey said he did not pledge to do so.

The Republican National Committee seized on that element of Comey's testimony in a statement Wednesday, a potential sign of the rapid response the party is planning for Thursday's hearing.

The Trump administration was caught by surprise Wednesday when Comey's seven-page prepared testimony was released to the public showing that he will testify to senators that Trump sought his "loyalty" and asked Comey to "lift the cloud" that was impairing the president's ability to act on behalf of the country.

Two days before the election, Comey followed up with a letter saying the emails had not changed the previous conclusion of no charges.

At their January 27 dinner, Trump floated directing Comey to announce he was investigating Trump personally - so he could then prove nothing happened with Trump and Russian officials. Comey said he told Trump "you will always get honesty from me". By comparison, he said he spoke twice with President Barack Obama, and never on the telephone.

Comey said that he considered Trump's request on Flynn "very concerning, given the FBI's role as an independent investigative agency" but made a decision to keep it "very closely held". He added that he wrote a memo about the meeting and shared it with the senior leadership of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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