Clapper: US govt 'under assault' by Trump after Comey firing

23 May 2017, 11:19 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Clapper: US govt 'under assault' by Trump after Comey firing

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President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey this week was one thing. The veiled threat added to the storm over Trump's abrupt firing of Comey on Tuesday.

The next director will immediately be confronted with oversight of an FBI investigation into possible coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, an inquiry the bureau's acting head, Andrew McCabe, has called "highly significant".

January 22, 2017: Two days after taking office, Trump appears to single out Comey at a White House reception to thank law enforcement officers and others that helped during the inauguration.

Often lauded for his independence, Comey had come under intense scrutiny in past months for his role in the agency's investigation into the email practices of Trump's opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, including a pair of letters he sent to Congress on the matter in the final days of the campaign.

A Gallup poll taken from May 10 to 11 found slightly higher approval of Trump's decision to fire Comey with fewer people undecided, with 39 percent approving, 46 percent disapproving and 15 percent having no opinion. When Trump then pressed for "honest loyalty", Comey told him, "You will have that", recounted the Comey associate. "Nearly all of them are very well known", Mr. Trump said.

As the Times concluded, "it is certain to fuel bipartisan criticism that President Trump appeared to be meddling in an investigation that had the potential to damage his presidency".

The development comes as the Trump administration faces questions over why and how the president fired Comey last week as the FBI was investigating whether Trump's presidential campaign was connected to Russian meddling in the election.

"I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally - and that's the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system", said James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence.

Saturday morning San Diego Congressman Scott Peters tweeted that while at the grocery store he received one "hello" from a constituent followed by two "are you going to appoint a special prosecutor?" questions.

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A felony obstruction of justice criminalizes a wide range of activities.

Schumer said Thursday that Rosenstein would be invited to the Capitol for a briefing before senators on Comey's firing, a statement McConnnell later confirmed. Others blow away long-established norms of presidential behavior, and experts say they approach limits of legally permissible conduct. Comey declined to make that promise but told the president he could count on his honesty, the paper said. Comey instead told Trump he could count on his honesty, the Times said.

February 14, 2017: Comey speaks with Trump in the Oval Office a day after Flynn is ousted.

The White House denied the account. Comey had previously refused to acknowledge the parallel Trump investigation, and his disclosure enrages Democrats who already blamed Comey for costing Clinton the presidency. "I would find that very inconsistent with what I know of Jim Comey", Clapper told MSNBC, adding it would have been "out of character for him to ask to stay on".

Trump wrote to Comey that the dismissal was necessary to restore public trust and confidence.

The person also will have to win the support of rank-and-file agents angered by the ouster of Comey, who was broadly supported within the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with flawless accuracy!"

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein interviewed eight candidates Saturday, including some who were not among the names distributed a day earlier by the White House. In the NBC interview on Thursday, Trump said he would have fired Comey regardless of any such recommendations.



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