“I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible”. From his own public statements and tweets about his conversations with Comey, Trump has nearly certainly waived any potential privilege claim, since he has acknowledged both the existence and substance of the discussions.
The Republican had turned to social media to hit Comey after the ex-FBI chief testified before the Senate Intelligence committee Thursday and admitted he had leaked some conversations between himself and Trump to the press, via a third party.
Senator Jack Reed said “there’s a real question of the propriety” of Mr Sessions’s involvement in Mr Comey’s dismissal, because Mr Sessions had stepped aside from the federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.
Spending the weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump followed the Comey tweet with a second aimed at Democrats: “The Democrats have no message, not on economics, not on taxes, not on jobs, not on failing #Obamacare”. It was at this dinner that Trump demanded loyalty, although the president continues to deny it. Comey’s testimony on the issue was painfully detailed and credible, however, and it disturbed him enough that he immediately wrote down the exact words used. The statement went on to say that Mr. Trump “feels completely and totally vindicated”, and that “he is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda”.
There will be much for special counsel Robert Mueller to unpack after last week’s momentous testimony of James Comey: Did President Trump’s actions amount to obstruction of justice?
According to James Comey, President Donald Trump was pressuring him to stop the inquiry into friend and former national security advisor General Michael Flynn, by saying he “hoped” the FBI would drop the investigation. The firing was reminiscent of Richard Nixon ordering the dismissal of a special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal, which led to Nixon’s resignation. Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, who appeared later on the show, argued that Comey’s decision was “unprecedented” and that Comey did not give the Trump administration an opportunity to determine if they would invoke executive privilege on the memos.
So don’t be misled by the suggestion that there is little new in Comey’s prepared testimony relative to the previously existing leaks. “I hope you can let this go”.
Comey “leaking his own memos to manipulate the system is exactly why people dislike the swamp”, said Trump ally Newt Gingrich. The president has a, shall we say, tumultuous relationship with the truth. There have also been reports, in the Times and elsewhere, that Trump is furious with Sessions for recusing himself and thus leaving the investigation in more independent hands, and that Sessions offered to resign. Mueller will likely seek to determine whether anyone on the White House staff discussed what Trump was going to say to, or do with, Comey. Comey said he hoped there were tapes. During his campaign, Trump often said it was time to “drain the swamp” in Washington of corrupt and self-dealing insiders.
What do you do if you’ve just been fired as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the administration has chosen to “defame” you with “lies plain and simple”, and you believe the president of the United States may be trying to obstruct justice?
Sessions is a singularly compromised choice to fill the role of protector of investigative independence, though, and not just because he was one of Trump’s earliest and most avid supporters and the first senator to endorse him.