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Six days later, on a flight back to Washington from Mar-a-Lago, he said he might have forgotten some things when he spoke with Pence but did not think he had lied. We'll take care of you. That was the problem. I fired Flynn. It's over. Christie said, based on his experience as a prosecutor, there was no way to make an investigation shorter, but there were plenty of ways to lengthen one. He advised Trump to simply stop talking about it — the president had begun railing frequently about it on Twitter. Christie predicted that Flynn would be "like gum on the bottom of your shoe. Denial hadn't worked.
Neither had firing Flynn. Now what could Trump do to make this scandal go away? Trump asked whether Christie knew James Comey, the director of the FBI, whose agents would lead the investigation into Flynn's premature diplomacy. Christie knew him.
Were they friendly? They were. The president asked him to call Comey and tell him how much the president "really likes him," and that he was "part of the team. On January 26, Trump dined with several senior advisers.
He asked them what they thought of Comey. There were mixed opinions. Trump could choose whether to extend Comey's tenure, and Coats encouraged him to meet with him before deciding whether to keep him in the job. There were bound to be mixed opinions about James Brien Comey Jr. He had a knack for drawing attention to himself, and not always on purpose. As a boy in New Jersey, he and his younger brother were held captive at gunpoint by a notorious local criminal — the "Ramsey Rapist" — before escaping through a bathroom window.
He had served as deputy attorney general during the administration of George W. Bush, drawing some attention for first advocating harsh interrogation methods and then urging their restraint. As FBI director, Comey rocked the campaign first by publicly announcing that there would be no criminal charges over the candidate Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state, not with the usual perfunctory "case closed" but with a press conference at which he accused her of having been "extremely careless.
Comey was known as a stickler for propriety and for being punctiliously nonpartisan — a lifelong Republican, he had recently reregistered as an Independent — so it was a stretch to discern or assign a political motive to these acts.
A Mueller Report graphic novel will be released by San Diego publisher
Rather, his actions suggested a tin ear for consequences. They had met on two previous occasions. In a briefing on January 6, during which Trump was briefed on Russian meddling in the presidential campaign, Comey presented Trump with what became known as the Steele Dossier, a piece of opposition research compiled by the former head of the Russia desk for Britain's intelligence agency MI6. The report included an unverified allegation that in Trump had hired prostitutes to urinate on the bed of a hotel room in Moscow because the Obamas had once slept there.
After Trump denied the Steele Dossier's allegations, Comey assured him: "You are not under investigation, sir. Their second meeting took place at a White House reception for law-enforcement officials two days after the president took his oath. Comey was doing the best a man standing 6 feet, 8 inches could to appear inconspicuous, when the president called, "Jim!
The Wall by John Lanchester review – dystopian fable for our time | Books | The Guardian
They shook hands; Comey recalled a slight tussle as he avoided a hug. With the cameras rolling, Trump leaned in and whispered, "I'm really looking forward to working with you. Now it was January 27, and Comey was coming to dinner at the White House. It had been a last-minute invitation, which Comey felt improper. But according to the account in his book, "A Higher Loyalty," he knew spurning the invitation would have been discourteous. He also assumed he would be part of a group, so he could try to blend in to the background.
Trump's advisers were worried, too. They had warned him not to discuss Russia or any pending legal matters. Bannon had suggested that either he or Priebus sit in.
Trump said no. He wanted Comey to himself. Comey was alarmed when he found a dinner table set for two. The president appeared at , the appointed hour, in his usual blue suit and very long tie, which reached down his broad belly to below the belt. I like people who are on time.
I think a leader should always be on time. As they ate, Trump began questioning Comey about his future. It was soon clear to Comey that he had been invited to discuss keeping his job. Trump told him that while many others wanted the position, he liked Comey. Trump said that although he was free to "make a change," he wanted this talk first. Comey took this to mean that if he were going to remain as FBI director, it would be only at Trump's favor, for which the president might well want something in return. He said that he liked the job and wanted to stay but that he should not be considered part of the president's team.
That was not his understanding of the position. That didn't seem to be what Trump wanted to hear.
Comey found the situation "surreal" — like a mob induction. Clearly, this president neither understood nor cared about the bureau's independence. Trump did most of the talking after that, criticizing Comey's failure to recommend Clinton's indictment. Trump defended himself from the long list of barbs and accusations hurled at him during the campaign — that he had mocked a disabled reporter, mistreated women, had sex with a porn actress and then bought her silence, among other things.
They would part with a different understanding of what that meant. The FBI director regarded the encounter as so peculiar he wrote his memo of the evening immediately afterward. He made two copies, one for his senior leadership team and the other for his own files. He thought he might need it someday. At what seemed like the end of a meeting, the president had shooed everyone out of his office — except Comey. The knees of the FBI director's long legs bumped up against the ornately carved front of the Resolute Desk. He lobbied Comey for leniency. The president told the head of the FBI that Flynn had done nothing wrong.
Trump said what actually upset him was that word of the conversation had leaked.