The 5 Comey Takeaways Feds are Talking About
Comey got his chance to tell his side of the story yesterday.
The former FBI Director testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning about his conversations with the President as they pertained to Russia. During this three-hour blockbuster event, Comey revealed many details about his conversations, and we’ve pulled together the key takeaways federal employees are talking about.
1. Comey is certain Russia interfered in the election.
Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the committee, began the day with a trio of questions about Russian meddling in the U.S. election. To which, Comey confidently responded he had no doubt Russia interfered.
BURR: Do you have any doubt that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections?
BURR: Do you have any doubt that the Russian government was behind the intrusions in the D triple C systems and the subsequent leaks of that information?
COMEY: No, no doubt.
BURR: Do you have any doubt the Russian government was behind the cyber intrusion in the state voter files?
2. But only fairly certain Trump interfered as well.
In Comey’s mind, during his conversations with the president, Trump asked him for three things:
1. Comey’s loyalty while appearing to threaten his job security
2. To “lift the cloud” of any perception the president was under investigation
3. To drop the FBI's investigation into Trump's fired national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“The ask was to get it out that I, the president, am not personally under investigation,” Comey said. But, Comey stated, Trump did not ask him to drop the FBI's broader investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump's campaign helped. Comey also declined to give a legal judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice or whether he colluded with Russia, saying that's up for the FBI and special counsel to investigate, reports the Washington Post.
3. Comey thinks President Trump does not deal in truth.
In Comey’s words, the first time he met Trump, his antenna went up and he knew he had to carefully document all their interactions. Not only to protect himself, but also the FBI at large.
“I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting,” Comey said, as to why he left Trump Tower, got in an FBI car, opened a laptop and started writing down every detail he could recall about his first meeting with the president. “It led me to believe that I gotta write it down, and I gotta write it down in a detailed way. … I knew that there might come a day where I might need a record of what happened, not just to defend myself and FBI and the integrity of our situation, and the independence of our function.”
Furthermore, in his opening statement, Comey said the President not only lied about why he fired him but also defamed Comey at the same time:
“Although the law required no reason at all to fire an FBI director, the administration then chose to defame me — and, more importantly, the FBI — by saying the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader,” Comey said. “Those were lies, plain and simple.”
4. Comey does not trust Jeff Sessions
The former FBI Director’s distrust for Attorney General Jeff Sessions became apparent in today’s hearing when Comey said he decided not to tell the attorney general about an alarming conversation he had with President Trump. The conversation, in which the President asked Comey to drop the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn, was kept to secret from Sessions because Comey claimed it might be of “investigative interest” and he did not want the White House to know about it.
Yet, the implication was clear: Comey believed if Sessions knew about the conversation, he may have turned around and warned the president that Comey had concerns about what had just transpired.
Comey also hinted that other reasons exist–reasons that cannot be publicly disclosed–for why Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation.
“Our judgment, as I recall, was that he was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons. We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic.”
5. Mueller is likely investigating if Trump colluded with Russia
GOP Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK), asked one of the most important questions of the day:
COTTON: Let's turn our attention to the underlying activity at issue here. Russia's hacking of those e-mails and the allegation of collusion. Do you think Donald Trump colluded with Russia?
COMEY: That's a question I don't think I should answer in an opening setting. As I said, when I left, we did not have an investigation focused on president trump. But that's a question that will be answered by the investigation, I think.
While Comey said the FBI did not have an open investigation into Trump when he left the agency, this answer potentially signals that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible collusion between Trump and Russia.
By Brionne Griffin, FEDagent
Posted in General News