Former FBI Director James Comey told House lawmakers in a behind-closed-doors meeting on Friday that he is “not friends” with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, pushing back against President Donald Trump, Politico reports.
“Are you best friends with Robert Mueller?” New York Democrat Jerry Nader asked the former FBI Director, transcripts show, referencing remarks made by Donald Trump on multiple occasions. Most recently, not even 48 hours ago, Trump asserted in a Twitter message that Comey and Mueller are “best friends,” alleging conflict of interests.
“Robert Mueller and Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest,” the president wrote, but Comey pushed back against the claims, arguing that he is not friends with Robert Mueller “in any social sense,” let alone best friends, as Trump has asserted, adding that he “admires” the special counsel.
“I admire the heck out of the man, but I don’t know his phone number, I’ve never been to his house, I don’t know his children’s names.”
“I think I had a meal once alone with him in a restaurant,” James Comey continued, “We’re not friends in any social sense.”
This week’s Twitter post was not the first time for Donald Trump to assert that there exists a special bond between James Comey and Robert Mueller. In an interview with the Daily Caller, Trump called Comey Mueller’s “best friend,” claiming to have seen “a hundred pictures” showing the two men hugging and kissing. This, too, was referenced by lawmakers questioning James Comey over alleged conflict of interest. The former FBI Director joked that his wife is “relieved” that no one has managed to find photographs of him kissing and hugging Robert Mueller.
President Donald Trump’s allegations of conflict of interest and some sort of a deep, personal bond between James Comey and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are only two of the president’s unsubstantiated claims referenced by House lawmakers during the meeting. The president is known for taking to Twitter to accuse Mueller and his gang of “12 angry Democrats” of bias frequently, while referring to the special counsel’s Russia probe as “witch hunt.” Trump’s comments, Politico notes, are likely in reference to Robert Mueller’s team of federal prosecutors probing whether Trump colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election in his favor.
Comey: I'm 'not friends' with Mueller https://t.co/GjGIa6wZSH— POLITICO (@politico) December 9, 2018
Comey’s response to lawmakers’ question about Mueller’s gang of “12 angry Democrats” reads like another attempt at humor. Asked whether Mueller’s team is “angry,” Comey responded, “Not to my knowledge, but I’m sure they’re like all normal humans; sometimes they’re happy, sometimes they’re sad, sometimes they’re angry.”
Former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify before lawmakers again on December 17, regarding the bureau’s handling of investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s misuse of a private email server. But Comey will also testify about the organization’s probe into Russian election meddling, which perhaps explains why President Trump’s Twitter attacks directed at the former FBI director seem to be intensifying.