James Comey

Emails Show Very Different Reaction to Comey Firing

After President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey he described the former director a “a showboat” and “a grandstander” and claimed that the FBI “has been in turmoil.” However, Lawfare got more than 100 pages of leadership communications to staff dealing with the firing which tell a very different story.

“This material tells a dramatic story about the FBI’s reaction to the Comey firing—but it is neither a story of gratitude to the president nor a story of an organization in turmoil relieved by a much-needed leadership transition… the amount of warmth in the emails, both about Comey and for their people, is atypical of all-staff communications. These leaders operate at the highest level of the FBI; in a chain-of-command organization, they aren’t particularly accessible figures. But these emails, which were sent to entire divisions or field offices, are personal and intimate. Without overstating the matter or getting maudlin about it, it’s safe to say that these messages show leaders who are shaken and concerned. There is emotion in their voices and a deep concern for their people.”

Quote of the Day

“All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would. But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up. Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy.”

— Former FBI Director James Comey, on Twitter.

Quote of the Day

“Special Agent Andrew McCabe stood tall over the last 8 months, when small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on. He served with distinction for two decades. I wish Andy well. I also wish continued strength for the rest of the FBI. America needs you.”

— Former FBI Director James Comey, on Twitter, reacting to the ouster of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Original Comey Memo Was Tougher on Clinton

“An early draft of former FBI Director James Comey’s statement closing out the Hillary Clinton email case accused the former Secretary of State of having been ‘grossly negligent’ in handling classified information, new memos to Congress show,” The Hill reports.

“The tough language was changed to the much softer accusation that Clinton had been ‘extremely careless’ in her handling of classified information when Comey announced in July 2016 there would be no charges against her.”

Kushner Turns Over Documents to Special Counsel

Jared Kushner “has turned over documents in recent weeks to special counsel Robert Mueller as investigators have begun asking in witness interviews about Kushner’s role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey,” CNN reports.

“Their questions about Kushner signal that Mueller’s investigators are reaching the President’s inner circle and have extended beyond the 2016 campaign to actions taken at the White House by high-level officials. It is not clear how Kushner’s advice to the President might relate to the overall Russia investigation or potential obstruction of justice.”

Kushner Was ‘Freaked Out’ About Comey

Vanity Fair: “According to sources familiar with the matter, the person in Trump’s orbit who may have the most to be worried about in Priebus’s testimony is Jared Kushner. Priebus has knowledge of Kushner’s proximity to the controversial decision to fire Comey during a weekend at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in early May, which, hypothetically, is the lynchpin of an obstruction case against the president and his advisers. Trump was accompanied for the weekend by Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Stephen Miller. At the club, Miller drafted an angry letter to Comey justifying his removal… The following Monday, after returning to Washington, Trump told other advisers, including Priebus, of the decision to oust Comey during an Oval Office meeting.”

“Kushner’s closeness to the discussion of firing Comey continues to be much discussed by current and former Trump administration officials, who see it as one of the main drivers of the administration’s present legal travails. Two sources familiar with the matter told me that prior to Comey’s dismissal, Kushner expressed concern to West Wing officials about the investigation. ‘He’s all over us,’ Kushner told one official in February, according to two sources briefed on the conversation. ‘He was freaked out about Comey from day one,’ one Trump adviser said.”

Clinton Says Comey Was Deciding Factor In Election

Hillary Clinton told the Today Show that she was “dumbfounded” when former FBI Director James Comey reopened the investigation into her email server right before Election Day.

Said Clinton: “The determining factor was the intervention of Comey… it stopped my momentum, it drove voters from me.”

She added: “I feel very strongly that he went way beyond his role in doing what he did.”

Original Letter Gave Different Reasons for Firing Comey

Special counsel Robert Mueller “has obtained a letter that President Trump and a top political aide drafted in the days before Mr. Trump fired FBI director James Comey which explains the president’s rationale for why he planned to dismiss the director,” the New York Times reports.

“The May letter had been met with opposition from Donald McGahn, the White House counsel, who believed that some of its contents were problematic… Mr. McGahn successfully blocked the president from sending Mr. Comey the letter, which Mr. Trump had composed with Stephen Miller, one of the president’s top political advisers.”

“A different letter, written by the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, and focused on Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, was ultimately sent to the FBI director on the day he was fired.”

Comey Has a Book Deal

Former FBI Director James Comey signed a book deal, the AP reports.

“Comey will write about everything from allegations of ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server… Comey will draw upon his career in government as he writes about ‘good, ethical leadership’ and how it influences sound decisions.”

The book is currently untitled and scheduled for publication next spring.

Kelly Considered Resigning After Comey Firing

“New White House chief of staff John Kelly was so upset with how President Donald Trump handled the firing of FBI Director James Comey that Kelly called Comey afterward and said he was considering resigning,” CNN reports.

“Comey, who took Kelly’s call while traveling back from Los Angeles to Washington, responded to Kelly by telling him not to resign… The sources said Comey and Kelly are not close friends but that they had a professional relationship and a deep mutual respect for each other.”

Comey Is Writing a Book

James Comey, the former FBI director who was fired in May by President Trump, is writing a book, the New York Times reports.

“The book will not be a conventional tell-all memoir, but an exploration of the principles that have guided Mr. Comey through some of the most challenging moments of his legal career. Among those are his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server during a contentious election, and his recent entanglement with the president over the F.B.I.’s inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.”

Trump Will Postpone Filing Complaint Against Comey

“Donald Trump’s lawyers will postpone filing a complaint against former FBI Director James Comey with the Justice Department, according to a person familiar with the decision — a bid to stop antagonizing the special counsel who’s investigating ties between the president’s campaign and Russian officials,” Bloomberg reports.

“The president’s lawyers still intend to file a complaint at some point, the person familiar with the matter said…. The delay is a professional courtesy to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and a signal that the White House understands he needs space to do his job.”

Trump Says Mueller-Comey Friendship Is ‘Bothersome’

President Trump told Fox News it is “very bothersome” that the man investigating possible ties between his presidential campaign and Russia is good friends with fired FBI director James Comey.

Said Trump: “Well, he’s very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome. But he’s also — we’re going to have to see. I mean we’re going to have to see in terms — look, there has been no obstruction. There has been no collusion. There has been leaking by Comey.”

He added: “But that’s been no collusion, no obstruction and virtually everybody agrees to that. So we’ll have to see. I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters. Some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous, if you want to know the truth, from that standpoint. But Robert Mueller is an honorable man and hopefully he’ll come up with an honorable solution.”

The Comey What If

Byron York: “A key lesson emerged from the testimony of Attorney General Jeff Sessions before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week: Without the president’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, the Trump-Russia investigation would be on a downward trajectory. The collusion charge, originally the heart of the investigation, would be fading for lack of evidence. Investigators would be going down side roads involving Flynn and Manafort in which the public would have little interest.”

“But not after Comey. At the Sessions hearing, Democrats had nothing new on collusion. They barely seemed interested. Instead, they focused to a great extent on trying to get Sessions to reveal what the president did or did not say in private discussions — about Comey. On the Democratic side of the hearing — and much of the Republican side, as well — the issue was Comey, Comey, Comey. In the end, it could be that the president’s impatience to get rid of Comey in order to shorten an investigation that he believed to be going nowhere resulted in a new investigation that could last the rest of Trump’s time in office.”