Deputy AG Says He Talked About Comey Firing Before Trump Took Office

by Garry Watts May 23, 2017, 14:47

DONALD TRUMP TOLD Russian diplomats that firing the "nut job" FBI Director James Comey relieved "great pressure" on him. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week, according to the Times, citing notes taken at the meeting and read to the paper by a U.S. official.

Remember, when Trump fired the then-FBI director, the official White House line was that the president's decision was unrelated to the investigation into the Russian Federation scandal, which Comey was overseeing. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump told them, according to the Times.

"I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media", Burr said in a joint statement announcing Comey had agreed to testify.

A US official read notes taken of the conversation to The Times' reporters. Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, did not dispute the account.

Trump's terse denial followed reports by Reuters and other media about a memo written by Comey alleging that Trump made the request to close down the investigation into Michael Flynn and Russian Federation in February.

Spicer went on to say that "b$3 y grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation". Robert Mueller, a former FBI Director, has been appointed to be special counsel to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Shortly after the New York Times reported was published, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, asked the head of the committee, Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, to request the document mentioned in the story. Instead, it defined Trump's comments to mean that removing Comey would take pressure off of Trump's relationship with Russian Federation. "That's taken off. I'm not under investigation".

This journalistic triumph, made possible by nameless government officials who risked their jobs and their freedom to get the truth out, is all the more satisfying because it came as a corrective after one of the sorriest episodes in modern journalism: the uncritical, unfiltered and unending coverage of Trump - particularly by cable news - that propelled him to the Republican nomination and onward to the presidency. Comey will certainly be asked about encounters that precipitated his firing, including a January dinner in which, Comey has told associates, Trump asked for his loyalty. "They do not know what I am about to say".

Former VP Biden to speak at Omaha cancer center dedication
For her part, Clinton has blamed former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, among others, for her defeat. Speaking in the SALT conference on Thursday, Biden said that he would donate his $200,000 speaking fee to charity.

Both made the point that the slightest whiff of obstruction of justice, which grew more pungent with Comey's firing and in remarks thereafter, is more serious than talk of previous Trump controversies related to collusion and conflicts of interest.

White House aides initially said that Trump fired him on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, but the President later contradicted his aides and said he had already planned to fire Comey. "It explicitly usurped the role of the attorney general. and the entire Department of Justice".

The bad news for Trump is that he appears to be emotionally unwilling to let matters play out while he pursues his legislative and administrative agenda.

Combative and complaining, Trump fell short Thursday in trying to resolve investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

Later Thursday, he told NBC News that a special counsel "hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country".

People familiar with the investigation said the intensifying effort does not mean criminal charges are near, or that any such charges will result. But he added, "I wrote it".

Rosenstein confirmed to lawmakers in briefings this week that the President already planned to remove Comey when he wrote his memo detailing the Federal Bureau of Investigation director's alleged transgressions.

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