Reports last month that Donald Trump attempted to interfere with the FBI’s investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had Congress Members scrambling to uncover what other conversations the president may have had with the FBI’s ousted director, James Comey.
The Senate Intelligence Committee initiated a series of hearings to assess the FBI’s Russia probes, including one that will be held Thursday morning, to allow Comey to testify publicly on the matter for the first time since Trump fired him in May.
The Senate committee released Comey’s written testimony — which essentially paraphrases several conversations Comey had with Trump since January 6 — a day before the hearing.
That Comey even felt the need to memorialize these conversations is surprising, given he never documented his conversations with President Barack Obama, for whom he served as FBI Director for four years.
From the testimony:
I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past. 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. I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months – three in person and six on the phone.
As a source familiar with the matter disclosed to CNN last month, “There is no need to document the conversations with people who are truthful or situations that are routine. It’s when you have situations that are not routine and people who are not truthful, you would write a memo to file.”
Here are 5 other shocking revelations from Comey’s testimony:
Trump doesn’t respect the separation of powers.
In the four years Comey worked under Obama’s administration, they only communicated directly twice. Trump, however, initiated nine private interactions with James Comey in the span of just four months. This raises questions about how Trump perceives the idea of checks and balances in the federal government. Which, essentially, he completely disregards.
Trump REALLY doesn’t respect the separation of powers.
When it comes to the chain of command, the FBI Director reports to the Attorney General. The Attorney General and, it follows, those he or she supervises, must be loyal to the laws of the Constitution. They are not bound to be loyal to the President. Trump seems to have other ideas.
In an unusual private dinner on January 27 at Trump’s request, the President repeatedly asked that Comey pledge his loyalty to him. Comey reiterated that he would merely be “honest” in his role as FBI director. What makes the conversation equally damning are the circumstances around it. By entertaining Comey privately as a dinner guest, Comey felt that Trump was attempting to create an intimate environment and establish a “patronage” relationship by which his job security was dependent on pledging this loyalty.
Trump appears willing to flirt with the obstruction of justice, an illegal act
Comey confirmed, as a source revealed in May, that Trump asked him to “let go” of the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn. The FBI launched the investigation after Flynn allegedly misled the Vice President about Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials. Trump appeared to have believed his January 27 dinner with Comey created a mutual agreement between the two parties. Clearly, Trump was mistaken.
While White House Officials are spinning the written testimony as favorable to Trump, it doesn’t actually disprove Trump’s possible personal involvement with Russia
Comey confirmed in his statement that he began memorializing every conversation with Donald Trump since January 6, just days before news broke about the infamous, though unverified, Russian dossier implicating the then President-elect in alleged salacious behavior.
In that January meeting, Comey wanted to assure the incoming President that the FBI was not involved in a counter-intelligence investigation against him. However, Comey refused to state this publicly, despite Trump’s urging. Just because the FBI was not yet investigating him did not mean the federal enforcement agency did not have plans to do so. And if they found evidence that would warrant them initiating an investigation, it would force Comey to publicly declare that he was wrong.
Jared Kushner has no business being here
Trump can’t seem to function without close associates with him at all times. Why his daughter’s husband — a neglectful real estate developer — has security clearance to sit in sensitive meetings with heads of federal law enforcement and security agencies is anyone’s guess, but it is on-brand with Trump’s generally bizarre leadership decisions.