Former FBI Director, James Comey, had initially rejected an invitation to speak before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week to discuss being fired by President Donald Trump. However, James Comey is willing to speak to Congress in public following his dismissal. According to the The New York Times, "a close associate of Mr. Comey, [said], he is willing to testify, but wants it to be in public."
Mark Warner, the Committee's Vice Chairman, told MSNBC on Friday afternoon that Comey would not be appearing. Warner did say they hoped to have him soon. The former FBI Director's invitation had been extended to Tuesday -- just one week when news hit that that Comey was fired.
James Comey was the face of the FBI during its investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election and alleged coordination with President Trump's campaign. If Comey testifies, he will likely have to face questions from the committee about Russia in addition to the timing of his removal from the FBI.
On Wednesday, when asked why he fired Comey, Trump said, "Very simply, he was not doing a good job." Many wondered if — or when — Comey would offer his version of events. In a letter to his colleagues, Comey said he's not going to dwell on his departure and they should not either.
The letter from former FBI Director, James Comey, was first reported by CNN on Wednesday and later confirmed to NBC News by three separate law enforcement officials.
"I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all... I'm not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won't either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply."Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, released a statement saying President Trump acted based on "clear recommendations" from Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions.
When speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Vice President Mike Pence said the firing was "the President's decision to accept the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General and the Attorney General."There have been some media leaks that are allegedly from associates of Comey which has contradicted the White House's version of events between Trump and Comey. According to the New York Times, allies of Comey alleged that Trump had summoned him to the White House for dinner and demanded that he vow his "political loyalty" — but was rebuffed.
It was alleged that Trump said it was the other way around -- that Comey was the one who asked for the meeting. In addition to this, during the dinner, Comey told Trump that he was not the subject of an investigation.
According to The Hill, both claims had been met with incredulity amongst former Justice Department officials.
On Friday morning, many became suspicious of tapes of Comey's and Trump's conversation over dinner when Trump tweeted, "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"President Trump may have been to be referring to an article written in The New York Times that said he allegedly asked James Comey to pledge loyalty dinner at the White House shortly after the inauguration.
During Sean Spicer's daily briefing on Friday, a reporter asked if there is audio recording in existence of the dinner between James Comey and Trump.
"Does anybody in this White House have an audio recording of what unfolded during the January 27 dinner between the former FBI director and the President of the United States?"White House spokesman Sean Spicer did not dive deeper into President Trump's tweets to Comey, "I'm not aware of that," he said.
"The president has nothing further to add on that... He simply stated a fact. The tweet speaks for itself. I'm moving on."Many are now wondering if there are recorded conversations in existence. In addition to this, there have been multiple alleged anonymous sources who told the New York Times and NBC News that Trump had summoned Comey to the dinner and that Trump had asked Comey for his loyalty.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders Press Conference On James Comey FiringSarah Huckabee Sanders, 34, a top White House spokeswoman who filled in for Press Secretary Sean Spicer and was grilled by reporters during last Thursday's White House press briefing. During the tense press conference, reporters fired questions at Sarah in regards to the motives of the firing of former FBI Director, James Comey. Storylines flew regarding the White House being played out in various media outlets that were disproven during the conference.
"We don't believe this to be an accurate account... The integrity of our law enforcement agencies and their leadership is of the utmost importance to President Trump. He would never even suggest the expectation of personal loyalty, only loyalty to our country and its great people."Sanders, 34, is the daughter of Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and two-time Republican presidential candidate. During Sarah's days in college, she was the field coordinator for Mike's 2002 reelection campaign. Sarah became a senior adviser to Trump in 2016.
Since being fired, the public has only seen James Comey through paparazzi shots that were taken through his back fence in McLean, Virginia.Last Wednesday, during a White House news briefing -- it was asked whether "loyalty" was a factor in picking a new F.B.I. Director, Sarah Sanders, said President Trump wanted someone who is "loyal to the justice system."
Trump in his interview with Lester Holt expanded on the conversations he had with Comey after the termination letter he sent to him was made public.
"I greatly appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation."Trump said those discussions occurred once during dinner and twice over the phone. He gave no indication that those discussions or others were taped. Trump simply said, "I'm not under investigation."
Holt inquired, "Did you ask him to drop the investigation?" Trump adamantly said, "No. Never."
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