Doubts emerge about the impartiality of DOJ special prosecutor unleashed on Trump
With President Donald Trump standing behind him, former FBI Director James Comey described the early stages of the Mueller probe as “deeply alarming” and said Trump would “do anything” to avoid it.
In a lengthy and detailed interview, Comey, who is a vocal Trump critic, said he told Trump about his concerns and then relayed his concerns to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Trump himself through a “tremendous number of people.”
Comey has become a prominent face of the investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible obstruction of justice by the president.
As he told the News & Advance on Wednesday, the “first indication” he had of the probe was when he realized the “president was tweeting a lot about it.”
In a news conference with Sessions at the Justice Department in October 2016, Comey said he told the deputy attorney general, “‘I hope that’s not an indication of an open investigation into Michael Flynn,’” Trump’s former national security adviser.
Trump then fired Comey, who said he “never would have fired him had I not been ordered to do so.” The timing of Comey’s firing was widely reported.
Rosenstein has remained in charge of the investigation as it continues, and Sessions and Comey have also remained in close contact with each other after Comey’s dismissal.
Comey also discussed the “deeply concerning” emails he saw days before his firing. He described the messages, which he initially told the FBI were personal in nature, as a set of messages “potentially indicating that we were talking to the Russians about the campaign and what we were doing.” But in his conversations with Trump and others afterwards, Comey believed the messages were actually “about the investigation and what we were doing.”
In his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” Comey said he wanted Sessions to remove the FBI director “because he was a bad guy who had to be removed from office to preserve his presidency.”
Comey did not think the president had obstructed or interfered with the investigation and did not believe Trump had committed a crime