Comey Opening Statement: Says Trump Isn’t Under Personal Investigation, Didn’t Pressure Comey To Kill Russian Campaign-Collusion Investigation

[Comey's opening statements just released | Photo: YURI GRIPAS / AFP/GETTY IMAGES]
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It has certainly been an exhausting time for President Trump—another seemingly pointless hurdle in his path to victory. The Senate Intelligence Committee just disclosed former-FBI Director James Comey’s recent, legal statement. Therein, a feeding frenzy of words Mainstream Media and Democrats are just waiting to twist just enough to spin into a narrative suggesting President Trump manipulated the judicial branch via terminating Comey—to quash the never-ending Trump-Russia Saga. However, the proof is in the testimonial pudding—Comey’s termination wasn’t spawned from a closeted skeleton rather Trump’s irritability of Comey’s unwillingness to work with the president and back him on facts. Multiple times, Comey reaffirmed to Trump he wasn’t under the FBI’s microscope. Again, President Trump did nothing to thwart the efforts to look into the campaign-collusion suspicion.

[Source: ProjectRepublicToday]
Comey recalled his initial conference with then-President Elect Trump—Trump Tower on the 6th of January. It was then when Comey explained to Trump of there being an intelligence-community examination regarding Russians meddling in the 2016 election. Comey attested the conversation was exclusively between the two of them—honoring Trump’s privacy. Nevertheless, that exchange entailed the dossier intel referencing that infamous, Russian “pee tape.” Anyway, Comey went on to elaborate about his concerns the conference might leave Trump convinced he was under close watch with the FBI via counterintelligence. But he specified it not being a personal examination:

“In that context, prior to the January 6th meeting, I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.”

The above solidifies Trump recollection—somewhat.

Based on Comey’s words, in a four-month period, he and Trump had private exchanges nine, different times—“three in person and six on the phone.” Also according to Comey, there was a January-27th dinner where Trump requested another affirmation from Comey in terms of him not under FBI examination—Comey reaffirmed this. There was also some sort of moment at dinner when Trump mentioned Comey asking about job security. Comey opined that Trump desired a loyalty pact amid the meal. Here’re Comey’s words on that instance:

[Right before the private dinner between Trump & Comey. | Al Drago/The New York Times]

“It turned out to be just the two of us seated at a small, oval table in the center of the Green Room. Two, Navy stewards waited on us—only entering the room to serve food and drinks. The president began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI Director, which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to. He said that lots of people wanted my job and, given the abuse I had taken during the previous year, he would understand if I wanted to walk away. My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly—given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch. I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my 10-year term as director. And then, because the set-up made me uneasy, I added that I was not ‘reliable’ in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth. I added that I was not on anybody’s side politically and could not be counted on in the traditional, political sense—a stance I said was in his best interest as the president. A few moments later, the president said, ‘I need loyalty; I expect loyalty.’ I didn’t move, speak or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner. At one point, I explained why it was so important that the FBI and the Department of Justice be independent of the White House. I said it was a paradox: Throughout history, some presidents have decided that because ‘problems’ come from Justice, they should try to hold the Department close. But blurring those boundaries ultimately makes the problems worse by undermining public trust in the institutions and their work. Near the end of our dinner, the president returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay, adding that he had heard great things about me from Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, and many others. He then said, ‘I need loyalty.’ I replied, ‘You will always get honesty from me.’ He paused and then said, ‘That’s what I want—honest loyalty.’ I paused and then said, ‘You will get that from me.’ As I wrote in the memo I created immediately after the dinner, it is possible we understood the phrase ‘honest loyalty’ differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further. The term (honest loyalty) had helped end a very awkward conversation, and my explanations had made clear what he should expect.”

Clearly, this instance wasn’t in President Trump’s favor—it alludes to him wanting a would-be I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine deal with Comey. Regardless, no deal was made. More, the dinner talk didn’t seemingly raise an alarm loud enough for Comey to put the proverbial two weeks.

Comey jumped to the next point of interest—a counterterrorism meeting on February 14th. Trump supposedly had everyone exit the room save Comey—here’s Comey’s account of the exchange:

“He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians but had misled the vice president. He then said, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go—to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.’ I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.’ (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would ‘let this go.’ The president returned briefly to the problem of leaks. I then got up and left out the door by the grandfather clock, making my way through the large group of people waiting there—including Mr. Priebus and the vice president. I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership. I had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the president to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. I could be wrong, but I took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn’s departure and the controversy around his account of his phone calls. Regardless, it was very concerning—given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency.”

[Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP]
While this account’s not great for President Trump, Mainstream Media wishes it were worse. To put things in perspective, Comey was seemingly paranoid of Trump meddling in the Flynn-phone-call investigation—nothing relevant to the 2016 election. Therefore…nothing proving Trump sweating the campaign-collusion hunt—even by Comey’s account. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wasn’t made aware of said phone call, as Comey figured Sessions would fall into the recusal zone. As opposed to full disclosure, Comey said, “After discussing the matter, we decided to keep it very closely held, resolving to figure out what to do with it down the road as our investigation progressed. The investigation moved ahead at full speed.”

Following this, by Comey’s account, he requested Sessions arrange for Comey and Trump to have boundaries. “I told the AG that what had just happened (him being asked to leave while the FBI Director, who reports to the AG, remained behind) was inappropriate and should never happen. He did not reply. For the reasons discussed above, I did not mention that the president broached the FBI’s potential investigation of General Flynn,” Comey said.

Comey then referenced a March-30th phone conversation—Comey’s account:

“On the morning of March 30, the president called me at the FBI. He described the Russia investigation as ‘a cloud’ that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia. He asked what we could do to ‘lift the cloud.’ I responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn’t find anything, to our having done the work well. He agreed but then re-emphasized the problems this was causing him.”

Trump then inquired to Comey about him not simply saying Trump wasn’t personally under the bureau’s microscope. Comey came back with playing it safe in the even Trump did end up on the investigatory, hot plate—something Comey was already educated on (re: the number he did on Hillary Clinton). More from Comey:

“The president went on to say that if there were some ‘satellite’ associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren’t investigating him. … He finished by stressing ‘the cloud’ that was interfering with his ability to make deals for the country and said he hoped I could find a way to get out that he wasn’t being investigated.”

[Photo: Thomson/Reuters]
It came to Comey referencing another phone conversation on April 11th. That call entailed Trump stressing to Comey to ensure the American people knew Trump was not being personally investigated. Comey’s account:

“He replied that ‘the cloud’ was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. He said that perhaps he would have his people reach out to the acting-deputy attorney general. I said that was the way his request should be handled. I said the White House Counsel should contact the leadership of DOJ to make the request, which was the traditional channel. He said he would do that and added, ‘Because I have been very loyal to you—very loyal; we had that thing you know.’ I did not reply or ask him what he meant by ‘that thing.’ I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the acting-deputy attorney general.”

The exchange with “that thing” might convey shadiness, but the clarification is Trump being under the impression Comey had his back. More, Trump felt it disloyal that Comey would not tell America Trump was out of the woods on a personal level.

The above coincides with Trump confident of his innocence—he knows it (re: Russian collusions). Therefore, President Trump is confused and beyond frustrated with Comey not having his back—hence the termination. The president didn’t break any laws—he neither meddled nor coerced. However, of course Mainstream Media will weave it appropriately into their vision of the world.

Comey brought up so many points to keep himself safe from politically conservative right. Chiefly, Comey saying he had coincidental interaction with Trump only—not Obama. “I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone)—once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016. In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions,” Comey stated. What’s really bizarre is why Comey didn’t practice the same behavior with Obama.

Join us in the 100-percen know (thus far) via checking out the full, recorded statements.


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