Trump Asked Comey When Feds Would Say He Wasn’t Under Investigation
By Nick Visser
President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey in a phone call when federal authorities would publicly announce the president wasn’t under suspicion in the bureau’s investigation of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Two people briefed on the call told the newspaper it took place just weeks after Trump’s inauguration. Comey declined to answer the question.
Trump’s inquiry to the FBI director was one of several instances in which his administration directly asked about the FBI probe into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election.
In February, senior White House officials confirmed that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to publicly dispute reports of communications between Trump campaign officials and Russia.
This week, The New York Times reported that Comey wrote in a February memo that the president had asked him to drop the bureau’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired after he failed to disclose communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Benjamin Wittes, a friend of Comey and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, was quoted by the Times in Thursday’s article saying that Comey was deeply concerned by the administration’s requests.
“Comey spent a great deal of energy doing what he alternately described as ‘training’ the White House that officials had to go through the Justice Department and ‘reestablishing’ normal hands-off White House-Bureau relations,” Wittes wrote on the Lawfare blog, of which he is the editor-in-chief, after the Times article was published.
“Comey understood Trump’s people as having neither knowledge of nor […]