This seems kind of obvious.
According to a new report from those close to James Comey, the former FBI director feels that President Trump was attempting to influence him, as it pertained to the Russia investigation.
It’s tricky territory, because it really is based on Comey’s perception. Intent is harder to prove.
Sources say Comey had reached no conclusion about the President’s intent before he was fired. But Comey did immediately recognize that the new President was not following normal protocols during their interactions.
The sources go on to say that Comey was hoping that over time, he’d be able to work with Trump and draw those necessary boundaries between politics and the law.
As The New York Times has reported, after numerous encounters with the administration, Comey felt he had to set the parameters of appropriate protocol very clearly. After the President asked Comey to let it be known publicly he was not under investigation, Comey told the President that if he wanted to know details about the bureau’s work he should ask the White House counsel to communicate with the Justice Department, according to the Times.
Then there was the report about Trump asking Comey to drop the investigation surrounding former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Trump denies that conversation ever took place.
That will also be hard to prove. Trump has hinted that he has “tapes,” but there’s no way to know for sure, unless he presents those tapes to the public.
Meanwhile, Comey is known for keeping meticulous records of communications, and the word is he has memos of those uncomfortable meetings with Trump.
Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of the Lawfare blog and a Comey friend, writes that Comey called his interactions with Trump “training” in order to “re-establish” appropriate boundaries. In his conversations, Wittes writes, “Comey never specifically said this was about the Russia matter” but he assumed that it was. Comey saw his job, Wittes writes, as an effort to “protect the rest of the bureau from improper contacts and interferences from a group of people he did not regard as honorable.”
Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee after Memorial Day.