James Comey

Most Think Trump Fired Comey to Protect Himself

A new ABC News-Washington Post poll finds 61% of Americans think President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in order to protect himself rather than for the good of the country, and 56% think Trump is trying to interfere with official investigations of possible Russian influence in the 2016 election.

“A broad seven in 10 also doubt Trump’s word on the Russia issue.”

Mueller Has Been Briefed on Comey’s Testimony

“Former FBI Director Jim Comey’s testimony Thursday is one of the most highly anticipated hearings in recent memory — but his words are unlikely to surprise special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team has been in contact with Comey,” Politico reports.

“Friends of Comey say they expect the testimony to largely stick to his conversations with President Trump and is unlikely to break ground on the investigation into potential collusion with Russia and any of Trump’s associates. That is not surprising, legal experts say, because of the ongoing investigation that Mueller took over last month.”

Pro-Trump Group Slams Comey In New Ad

A nonprofit issues group is labeling James Comey a political “showboat” in a television ad set to air Thursday, the day the former FBI director testifies on Capitol Hill, the AP reports.

Comey “put politics over protecting America,” a narrator says in the 30-second spot, titled “Showboat,” which was shared with The Associated Press. It accuses him of being “consumed with election meddling” even as “terror attacks were on the rise.”

Comey Will Not Accuse Trump of Obstructing Justice

“There will be much in former FBI Director James Comey’s upcoming congressional testimony that will make the White House uncomfortable, but he will stop short of saying the president interfered with the agency’s probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn,” a source familiar with Comey’s thinking told ABC News.

“Although Comey has told associates he will not accuse the President of obstructing justice, he will dispute the president’s contention that Comey told him three times he is not under investigation.”

Trump May Live Tweet Comey’s Testimony

Roberta Costa of the Washington Post told MSNBC that President Donald Trump might take to Twitter on Thursday in reaction to the planned congressional testimony of former FBI Director James Comey.

Said Costa: “The President is expected to be tweeting on Thursday in response to Comey — not to stay quiet during the testimony — because he himself wants to be the one driving the process.”

For members: Comey’s Testimony Will Be a National Event

White House Braces for Comey Testimony

Mike Allen: “White House officials convey a sense of gloomy doom when they talk about fired FBI Director Jim Comey’s public testimony on Thursday. They know his aw-shucks rectitude, combined with real-time written recollections, guarantee riveting testimony. Their hope is that it’ll be more atmospherics than substance — how he felt, as opposed to any new facts about what President Trump said or did.”

“Here’s the problem with that hope: Even if Comey didn’t have a single new thing to say (unlikely, given his habit of writing memos about his conversations with the president and perhaps his aides), the rat-tat-tat of already-reported, tough-to-explain facts is astounding.”

Comey Hearing Consumes Washington

“Washington is consumed by anticipation this week ahead of an expected Capitol Hill appearance by James Comey, with speculation across town focused on whether the ousted FBI director’s remarks could further damage President Trump,” Politico reports.

“Comey hasn’t spoken publicly since Trump abruptly fired him on May 9, nor has he commented on a series of subsequent reports about his interactions with the president. In addition to the allegations about Flynn — who Trump fired in February amid questions about his relationship with Russian officials — news reports also said the president solicited a loyalty pledge from the then-FBI director. Comey, who reportedly did not make the pledge, is said to have kept detailed memos on the encounters.”

Comey Has Paralyzed the White House

Mike Allen: “Next week, Comey comes out of the shadows, with Senate Intelligence Committee testimony scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday that promises to be the most gripping television to come off of Capitol Hill since the Clinton impeachment hearings or Watergate.”

“Leaks about Comey’s conclusion that Trump was pressuring him, and his real-time documentation in potentially devastating memos, has the White House and its allies worried that this could be their worst week since taking office.”

“The Comey chaos is making staff changes extremely difficult, even though Trump continues to ruminate to friends about his lineup.”

Trump Unlikely to Stop Comey Testimony

President Trump “does not plan to invoke executive privilege to try to prevent James Comey, the former FBI director, from providing potentially damaging testimony to Congress on statements the president made about an investigation into his former national security adviser,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump could still move to block the testimony next week, given his history of changing his mind at the last minute about major decisions. But legal experts have said that Mr. Trump has a weak case to invoke executive privilege because he has publicly addressed his conversations with Mr. Comey, and any such move could carry serious political risks.”

Will Trump Try to Block Comey’s Testimony?

New York Times: “Putting the highly anticipated hearing on the calendar would force Mr. Trump to decide whether to invoke executive privilege and try to prevent Mr. Comey from testifying. Mr. Comey is expected to be asked about several conversations he had with the president, including one in which he says Mr. Trump encouraged him to stop investigating his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.”

“Courts have recognized a president’s constitutional right to keep his discussions a secret in most instances. A White House spokeswoman had no comment on whether Mr. Trump planned to try to block Mr. Comey’s testimony. It is a delicate decision with political and legal consequences.”

Comey Will Testify on Trump Interactions

“Fired FBI director James Comey plans to testify publicly in the Senate as early as next week to confirm bombshell accusations that President Trump pressured him to end his investigation into a top Trump aide’s ties to Russia,” CNN reports.

“When he testifies, Comey is unlikely to be willing to discuss in any detail the FBI’s investigation into the charges of possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign — the centerpiece of the probe… But he appears eager to discuss his tense interactions with Trump before his firing, which have now spurred allegations that the president may have tried to obstruct the investigation.”

Should Kushner Be Worried About the Comey Memos?

Ryan Lizza: “One of the overlooked aspects of yesterday’s news that the F.B.I. is interested in Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, is that Kushner played a role in the firing of James Comey, the former F.B.I. director. Kushner is not formally a target of the F.B.I.’s sprawling investigation, but I was reminded of his role in Comey’s removal while discussing Kushner with a person close to Comey. The former F.B.I. director is known to have drafted a series of memos about his interactions with Trump, and—importantly—with other White House and Administration officials. Whether Kushner is mentioned in the Comey memos is not known.”

“Some of the commentary about these Comey memos has suggested that they were simply personal notes that weren’t shared widely at the F.B.I. That is not the case.”

Said a source close to Comey: “The Bureau has them all. They’ve always had them all. That’s another thing that people sort of missed the point of. These memos weren’t just some personal little effort on the part of Jim. He was the tip of the operation, and knew it, and really felt accountable to the rest of the people around him to tell them what is going on and help them be a part of the decision-making on what he should say and do.”

Fake Document May Have Spurred Comey

“In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received a purported Russian intelligence document describing a tacit understanding between the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server,” the Washington Post reports.

“Current and former officials have said that document played a significant role in the July decision by then-FBI Director James Comey to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement… set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election.”

“But according to the FBI’s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence… possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau.”