Former FBI director James Comey on Monday accused President Donald Trump of trying “to burn down the entire FBI” and charged that congressional Republicanswere willing accomplices for failing to challenge him.
“The FBI’s reputation has taken a big hit because the president with his acolytes has lied about it constantly,” Comey told reporters, following his second closed-door interview this month with House lawmakers running a politically divisive investigation into how federal law enforcement officials handled probes of the Trump campaign’s alleged Russia ties and Hillary Clinton‘s emails.
But Comey directed his vitriol not just at the GOP members of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, but at all Republicans – including retiring GOP lawmakers, such as Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who have openly criticized Trump but aren’t seeking re-election.
“At some point someone as to stand up and face the fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement but stand up and speak the truth,” Comey said, without naming names.
Comey testified for nearly six hours Monday, in addition to the six-hour closed-door discussion he had with panel members earlier this month.
During that session, he defended his decisions as FBI director – such as superseding then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to declare the Clinton probe closed and then informing congressional leaders days before the 2016 election that it had been reopened.
Comey reiterated that defense even more strongly Monday, flatly refusing to take any personal responsibility for the reputation of the FBI having suffered under his stewardship. He instead blamed Trump for “lying about the FBI, attacking the FBI and attacking the rule of law in this country,” and the “silence from people in this building” – meaning Capitol Hill – for allowing him to do it.
“Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matter and the truth matters,” he said. “Where are those Republicans today?”
Republicans on the panel have been in open conflict with Comey about whether he was appropriately forthcoming with his answers, and whether his testimony contradicted former statements he has made.
According to a transcript of the first round of proceedings, Comey declined to answer several questions pertaining to the FBI’s probe of Trump, arguing that the details he was being asked to provide were too closely tied to special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation of the Trump campaign’s suspected ties to Russia.
Comey also declined to say whether Trump, in firing him last year, had attempted to obstruct justice, although an FBI lawyer present at the interview appeared to confirm that the special counsel was looking into such matters.
Republicans emerged from the first meeting frustrated by Comey’s inability or refusal to answer certain questions, and on Monday, intimated that Comey was steering clear of topics in similar fashion.
“He’s been a consistent witness in the way that he answers questions,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said outside the meeting room.
Meadows said Monday there were inconsistencies between Comey’s testimony behind closed doors and his previous public statements. Democrats emerging from the session, and Comey himself, disputed this assessment. A transcript of the first session suggested that Comey’s first closed-door testimony mirrored much of what he has said in public settings.
In between the two interviews with House panels,Comey said at an event in New York that if Trump were not president, he would be “in serious jeopardy of being charged” by New York prosecutors in a case concerning payments made to silence women who alleged affairs with him years ago.
Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for those and other matters that U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III called a “veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct.”
Comey is one of the last people the joint House panel is expected to question in the probe, which is expected to end – or drastically change in character – once Democrats take over the House majority next year. Democrats have accused the GOP of using the investigation to try to discredit the FBI and Justice Department, as a means of undermining Mueller’s probe.
“They seem to be wanting to play defense counsel for the president,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who is currently ranking member of the Oversight committee and is expected to serve as its chairman next year.
On Monday, Oversight committee member Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., D-Mo., said the interview was “the last gasp of the Republican majority in this House, to paint this narrative to protect the Trump administration and the Trump campaign.”
“And they really don’t have a leg to stand on,” Clay added.
The joint panel is also expected to interview Lynch behind closed doors on Wednesday. No other interviews have been announced.
Finally, someone stands up for the truth and tells it like it is. I just don’t even know what to say anymore about Trump but I gotta say something. If for any reason, because I’m a leader and people follow my opinions. What kind of human being goes against their own intelligence, their own environmental scientists, the only person who could do such a thing is someone who has a financial interest in the opposite outcome of the truth.
Trump will sit in support of a murderer all because he has business interests with certain Saudi royal family members who are stupid enough to invest with Trump and if they did, it’s only a matter of time before they get the fucking of a lifetime. Almost all his investors get screwed. It’s literally watching a comedic shit show, but I gotta talk about it. I never thought I’d live to see the day where a president of the United States of America is running a criminal enterprise right from the White House. Just wait until all the investigations are over, your jaws will drop. Not mine, yours.
I’ve known about this clown for the last 10 years. He’s a danger to our community, children, and mankind, to be honest with you. He wants to reverse climate change protections because he doesn’t agree with the scientists. That’s not the reason. He has financial interests in burning coal. Otherwise, he wouldn’t do it. This White House looks like a monarchy in a third world country. Staffed with family members who have no experience and no clue of what the fuck they’re even doing or what the fuck they’re even talking about. Although, the truth is, they’re smarter than us. And they know it. Therefore, our only choice, is to band together. Pretty soon, you may have to walk outside with a gas mask in 5 to 10 years or paddle a canoe to work if you live in Florida. Global warming is a true, scientifically proven phenomenon.
And no one person should be able to dispute a collective data from the worlds scientific community. If so, we need to shut down all the colleges right away and get back all the money we gave to them because I assume they’re all frauds just like the scientists are made out to be. I could go on and on about Trump. You’ll read the rest of my rant in the next up and coming story. But for now, this guys got to go- straight to fucking jail. And now you have my take on it.
About The Author
- Robert Louis Annenberg Is a 40 year seasoned property owner, manager, investor, builder/developer and business man who is also an author of five published books to date (Amazon.com) and the chief editor of LifeQuestJournal.com. He can be reached at: Info@RobertAnnenberg.com and (201) 289-2500.
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