Donald Trump Pressured James Comey To Publicly Say He Wasn’t Under Investigation
New report details how Trump pressured Comey to publically say he was not under investigation.
Former FBI Director James Comey felt intense pressure from Donald Trump and the White House regarding the FBI’s investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
According to a new report, Donald Trump pressured James Comey To make a public announcement that he wasn’t under investigation.
Additionally, a friend of Comey says the FBI Director was “unsettled” by his interactions with Trump and the White House.
The New York Times describes regular interference from the Trump White House including violations of long-established guidelines about how the White House interacts with independent investigators in the FBI. Comey’s friend said Mr. Comey would have to repeatedly “throw some brushback pitches to the administration” in an attempt to establish proper boundaries with the White House.
According to the New York Times, “Mr. Wittes said he never intended to publicly discuss his conversations with Mr. Comey. But after The New York Times reported earlier this month that shortly after his inauguration Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey for a loyalty pledge, Mr. Wittes said he saw Mr. Trump’s behavior in a “more menacing light” and decided to speak out.”
Here is the key section of the bombshell New York Times report:
President Trump called the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, weeks after he took office and asked him when federal authorities were going to put out word that Mr. Trump was not personally under investigation, according to two people briefed on the call.
Mr. Comey told the president that if he wanted to know details about the bureau’s investigations, he should not contact him directly but instead follow the proper procedures and have the White House counsel send any inquiries to the Justice Department, according to those people.
After explaining to Mr. Trump how communications with the F.B.I. should work, Mr. Comey believed he had effectively drawn the line after a series of encounters he had with the president and other White House officials that he felt jeopardized the F.B.I.’s independence. At the time, Mr. Comey was overseeing the investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.
Another scene in the story recounts James Comey trying to blend into the curtains at an event at the White House attempting to avoid a public embrace with Donald Trump which he felt would send the wrong message. “Comey said that as he was walking across the room he was determined that there wasn’t going to be a hug,” Wittes said. “It was bad enough there was going to be a handshake. And Comey has long arms so Comey said he pre-emptively reached out for a handshake and grabbed the president’s hand. But Trump pulled him into an embrace and Comey didn’t reciprocate. If you look at the video, it’s one person shaking hands and another hugging.”