What to do with this week long Comey-fest? Everyday beings new TV appearances by the former FBI Director, to help sell his book, and new criticism of the President. In return, the President shoots back on twitter and then we get up the next day and repeat. There isn’t a lot of new information in Comey’s book, which is mostly rehashing of all his prior criticism, barring perhaps his most harsh claim of Trump being “unfit to serve” in the office of President, but he’s getting a lot of media attention. There does, however, seem to be lingering questions, even in the minds of some Democrats, whether it’s appropriate to have a former FBI Director, a position which is supposed to be apolitical and objective in nature, appearing on national TV with the cadence of a political pundit attacking a sitting President.
Well, the week was going fine for Comey, lapping up one TV interview after another. Then we learned on Thursday that the Justice Department Inspector General, an Obama appointee, has referred fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for a criminal prosecution:
The Justice Department’s inspector general referred its findings on former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to the US attorney’s office in Washington for possible criminal charges associated with lying to internal investigators, according to a source familiar with the matter.
When exactly the referral was made to the US attorney’s office was not immediately clear, and prosecutors there may decline to prosecute.
Last week, the IG issued a report finding that McCabe “lacked candor” on four occasions with internal investigators when discussing a Wall Street Journal article about the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, according to a copy of the report obtained by CNN.
In addition, the inspector general determined that McCabe was not authorized to disclose the existence of the investigation because it was not within the department’s “public interest” exception for disclosing ongoing investigations.
The disclosure to the Journal was made “in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of department leadership,” the report said.
It’s at the discretion of the US Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia as to whether or not McCabe will actually be criminally prosecuted. This development may directly involve Comey, who admitted during an interview yesterday that he might be compelled to testify against McCabe if called as a witness:
Former FBI Director James Comey said he could “potentially” testify against his former deputy in a criminal trial.
“Sure, given that the [inspector general’s] report reflects interactions that Andy McCabe had with me and other FBI senior executives, I could well be a witness,” Comey told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a Thursday afternoon interview following reports the Justice Department’s inspector general sent a referral to the U.S. Attorneys Office in Washington to criminally charge former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Comey also said he feels “conflicted” about the McCabe debacle since he likes him, but added it is “not acceptable” for someone in the FBI to lie.
Meanwhile, on the sidelines, President Trump has been tossing gasoline on this fire via twitter, taking direct aim at James Comey almost every single day this week. Here is a sample of the twitter tirade being served up:
James Comey just threw Andrew McCabe “under the bus.” Inspector General’s Report on McCabe is a disaster for both of them! Getting a little (lot) of their own medicine?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2018
Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
So General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed while Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written). Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don’t think so!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
The latest revelation in this dramatic week involves the Justice Department’s release of memos written by Comey which detailed his interactions with Trump after the election and before his firing. The Associated Press summarizes the memos:
In a series of startlingly candid conversations, President Donald Trump told former FBI Director James Comey that he had serious concerns about the judgment of a top adviser, asked about the possibility of jailing journalists and described a boast from Vladimir Putin about Russian prostitutes, according to Comey’s notes of the talks obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday night.
The 15 pages of documents contain new details about a series of interactions with Trump that Comey found so unnerving that he chose to document them in writing. Those seven encounters in the weeks and months before Comey’s May 2017 firing include a Trump Tower discussion about allegations involving Trump and prostitutes in Moscow; a White House dinner at which Comey says Trump asked him for his loyalty; and a private Oval Office discussion where the ex-FBI head says the president asked him to end an investigation into Michael Flynn, the former White House national security adviser.
The documents had been eagerly anticipated since their existence was first revealed last year, especially since Comey’s interactions with Trump are a critical part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the president sought to obstruct justice.
You can read the memos in their original form available here. Some of the information is redacted since it is still classified.
So, here we are on Friday. What bombshell will drop this afternoon around 5pm as everyone is leaving town and getting ready for the weekend? Nowadays we can’t seem to get away from it. The Comey/Trump saga continues.