There are a lot of questions that need to be answered about how Rod Rosenstein came to appoint Mueller in those few days after the Comey leak, and whether Comey and Mueller, directly or indirectly, had any communications regarding Trump prior to Mueller’s appointment.
Regardless, we now have the prospect of the Special Counsel investigating and necessarily assigning credibility (or lack thereof) to witnesses, including Comey.
There is a problem here that goes beyond their long professional interactions. In 2013, The Washingtonian described the close professional history, Forged Under Fire—Bob Mueller and Jim Comey’s Unusual Friendship.
The Boston Globe reported on May 20, 2017, that the men considered themselves friends, Comey, Mueller have been allies, and now spotlight is on them:
The two men have had similar careers. Both have been top federal prosecutors. Both have been FBI directors. Several people who know both men say they respect each other.
“Clearly it’s a relationship based on professional colleagues, initially. But I think they would consider themselves friends,” said John Pistole, who worked for Mueller as deputy director of the FBI and also knows Comey. “Mueller is a mentor of sorts to Comey.”
Whether they were just close professional friends, or consider themselves personally friendly, the fact is that they are not at arms length. This relationship, at least as reported, appears to be much more than the routine interactions you might expect two law enforcement officers to have had in the regular course of business.
Something doesn’t seem right here. Comey manipulated the system into getting his friend appointed Special Counsel, and now that friend will be investigating matters in which Comey is a key witness. More than that, Comey’s own actions in leaking government property raise legal issues as to whether Comey himself violated the law.
Even assuming Mueller is able to separate his past with Comey from his present investigation, that relationship damages the whole purpose of having a Special Counsel who is completely independent in fact and appearance.
In a truly independent investigation, friends shouldn’t be investigating friends. Mueller should step aside to remove the taint on the Special Counsel investigation created by friend and witness James Comey.
“If the publishing world has anything to say about it, the nation’s ex-top cop, 56, will be a multimillionaire ten times over from the book deal major publishers are offering to pay up front for his memoir — a whopping $10 million,” the Daily Mail writes.
It’s a sum right up there with the kind of advances paid to the Clintons – although maybe not a high as the Obamas – and the kind of royalty money generated by Comey’s nemesis Donald Trump’s many books.
‘Jim Comey’s story has everything, from White House intrigue to possible corruption and law breaking. His explosive story makes ‘West Wing’ and ‘House of Cards’ on a par with Mister Rogers,’ an acquisition editor for a major New York publishing house told DailyMail.com
‘When his proposal hits my desk, I’ve already been authorized to offer $10 million.’
Not only that, but the publisher of another key player in the book world revealed that major Hollywood producers are already lining up to make the torn-from-the-headlines blockbuster movie about Comey’s life and his attempt to unseat the president.
A prominent movie-TV agent told DailyMail.com: ‘I know one top drawer producer who’s already talking to stars to cast the Comey role. He has to be tall, good-looking and a Jimmy Stewart-John Wayne-hero type. I was mesmerized when I spent the whole day watching Comey testify.
‘Comey could expect a movie deal tied into the book worth many millions of dollars more, tens of millions.’
The Washington Post called Comey’s testimony a ‘performance of a lifetime – Classic G-man and aggrieved victim.’ And a New York Times headline billed Comey as, ‘Hero, Villain and Shakespearean Character…’
Comey’s seven-page testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was released late Wednesday, just hours before his appearance. ‘When that document hit my desk I thought, ‘I want his book,’ said another top editor whose been involved in some of the biggest New York Times nonfiction bestsellers.
… Trump said that Comey lied about their Oval Office meeting, at which Comey says Trump implied he wanted him to drop the investigation into just-fired National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. Trump then added, when asked whether he would testify under oath to that effect, “100 percent…I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you.”
Trump’s lawyers must be smiting themselves in the foreheads over this one. No lawyer on earth would urge a client to sit down for a deposition under oath if there were any way to avoid it. That’s because even if Trump is telling the truth, there’s a decent shot he slips up somewhere and creates the predicate for a perjury charge.
As always, President Trump’s worst enemy is President Trump. He could easily absorb Comey’s charges and still be fine – I laid out precisely this strategy yesterday. Instead, Trump is putting his own credibility in opposition to Comey’s – a horrible tactic, given that 45 percent of voters, even according to Trump-friendly Rasmussen, trust Comey over Trump, with just 37 percent trusting Trump over Comey. And Comey has testified under oath now, whereas Trump has not.
This is just unwise. It keeps the scandal alive for another day. Comey himself couldn’t have asked for anything better than this from Trump.
I have to agree with the Daily Wire on this one. Trump needs to shut his mouth. Right now, we know he wasn’t under investigation. He’s pulling himself closer and closer to getting himself under investigation.
What he needs to do is let this run it’s course. Focus on running the country, let the investigation and the hearings go. If he’s called, go. Don’t volunteer. Stop with the tweet rants. Stop with the insults. Listen to the lawyers. But there is a lot of work to be done, focus on that and let the investigations and hearings go as they will. Comments from Trump, at just about any point, are not in his favor.
At some point, Trump needs to learn how to take this stuff in stride, and right now he just can’t. But he needs to figure out how soon.
Well, I don’t think it was the Earth shattering take down of Trump that the extreme left and the mainstream media were hoping for. There were things in there that were good for Trump, and things in there that damaged Trump, and there is reason to believe none of this is going to end anytime in the near future. Because why in the world would we want to stop wasting money and maybe try to get things done in this country? Long and short, I wouldn’t rest easy, but I wouldn’t freak out, either. There is still no evidence of any criminal activity, although an investigation into obstruction may be coming.
The bottom line is that we didn’t learn a whole lot today that was news. Really, if you go back over the testimony, a lot of it was already either known or suspected. So there wasn’t any Earth shattering revelations, either.
If you want to watch the Comey testimony, here you go:
Comey began by describing his first meeting with then-President-Elect Trump on January 6 at Trump Tower, at which he personally briefed Trump about an intelligence community assessment concerning Russian interference in the 2016 election. Comey says he alone briefed Trump on the details, out of respect for Trump’s privacy; this would have included the dossier material talking about Trump’s supposed Russian “pee-tape.” Comey explained that he was worried that the briefing might lead Trump to believe he was under investigation by the FBI on a counterintelligence level. He also explained that Trump was correct that he was not under personal investigation:
In that context, prior to the January 6 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.
This confirms Trump’s account, at least in part.
According to Comey, he spoke with Trump one-on-one nine separate times in four months, “three in person and six on the phone.” Comey mentioned the January 27 dinner at which Trump supposedly asked for Comey’s assurance once again that he was not under investigation, and received it, and at which Trump suggested that Comey asked to retain his job. Comey claimed that Trump asked him for a loyalty oath during the dinner. Here is Comey’s fuller account:
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 tenyear 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 4 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.
Full article and more of the opening statement: Democrat Narrative DESTROYED: Comey Opening Statement Says Trump Isn’t Under Personal Investigation, Didn’t Pressure Comey To Kill Russian Campaign Collusion Investigation | Daily Wire
“The president’s power to assert executive privilege is well established,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during the daily press briefing. “However, in order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey’s scheduled testimony.”
Good move. Apparently people are surprised by this move, but I’m not. It would have been a very bad move if he had. Honestly, Comey is going to say Trump pushed him to stop investigating Flynn, and maybe more. It is going to be a direct contradiction to what he already said under oath. That will be brought up. If it isn’t, someone is sleeping on the job. At this point, it looks like a temper tantrum by a guy who got fired; at least it looks that way to anyone who isn’t looking at the case with destruction of Trump in their line of sight.
While the story grew and grew from, “I hope you can …” into “I’ll kill your whole family if you don’t,” everyone forgot to check what Comey has actually said. While The Times went with two anonymous sources, let’s do the old-fashioned thing and just go right to the primary source — the former director himself.
Comey, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3, said — under oath — that he’s never been pressured to close an investigation for political purposes.
“Not in my experience. Because it would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something like that — without an appropriate purpose.”
“I mean where oftentimes they give us opinions that ‘We don’t see a case there and so you ought to stop investing resources in it.’ But I’m talking about a situation where we were told to stop something for a political reason.”
“That would be a very big deal. It’s not happened in my experience,” Comey told the senators.
The former FBI director has let Trump twist in the wind over the purported memo. But Comey is expected to testify again before Congress as early as next week, and a lawmaker there will almost certainly ask about this contradictory conundrum.
As has been stated before: either Comey thought Trump was obstructing justice before and failed to report it to anyone – which will put Comey in real hot water – or he really believes Trump didn’t do anything more than spark an awkward conversation. However, under oath, he said he had never been pressured to end an investigation. Sounds to me like this either a non-story or Comey is in trouble.