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Trump calls Comey 'showboat,' acting FBI chief contradicts president


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Trump calls Comey 'showboat,' acting FBI chief contradicts president

By Patricia Zengerle and Arshad Mohammed

REUTERS

 

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Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe arrives to testify before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Thursday called ousted FBI chief James Comey a "showboat" and "grandstander," but its acting leader contradicted the president and promised the agency's probe into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia would proceed with vigour.

 

Trump, facing Democratic accusations that he fired Comey on Tuesday to hinder the FBI investigation into alleged meddling by Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, said he would have taken the action even without a recommendation to do so by the two top Justice Department officials. That ran counter to previous administration explanations of Comey's dismissal.

 

The Republican president also gave further details of his account that Comey informed him three times that he was not under investigation.

 

Trump's personal attack on Comey seemed designed to underline that Comey's dismissal was about his performance at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and not a probe that has hung over Trump's presidency since he took office in January and threatens to overwhelm his policy priorities.

 

In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, testifying in place of Comey, promised to tell the panel of any White House meddling into the agency's probe. Democrats have called for a special prosecutor to look into the Russia matter.

 

"He's a showboat. He's a grandstander," Trump told NBC News in his first interview since firing Comey. "The FBI has been in turmoil. You know that, I know that, everybody knows that."

 

The White House and Vice President Mike Pence have said Trump fired Comey on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and No. 2 Justice Department official Rod Rosenstein.

 

On Thursday, Trump said: "I was going to fire Comey. My decision," Trump said. "I was going to fire regardless of recommendation."

 

Trump told NBC News he never pressured Comey into dropping the FBI probe, adding: "If Russia did anything, I want to know that." Trump said there was no "collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians," but added that "the Russians did not affect the vote."

 

McCabe's testimony contradicted Trump's appraisal of turmoil at the FBI under Comey.

 

"I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day," McCabe said.

 

"I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity," McCabe added. "And it has been the greatest privilege and honour of my professional life to work with him."

 

Trump will not visit FBI headquarters in Washington as expected after agency officials told the White House he would not be greeted warmly following his firing of Comey, MSNBC reported on Thursday.

 

'VIGOROUSLY AND COMPLETELY'

 

McCabe vowed no letup in the investigation.

 

"It is my opinion and belief that the FBI will continue to pursue this investigation vigorously and completely," McCabe told the senators. He said there was no "crisis of confidence within the leadership of the FBI."

 

Trump told NBC he had asked Comey once over dinner and twice by telephone whether he was under investigation in the Russia matter.

 

"I said: 'If it's possible, would you let me know, am I under investigation?'" Trump told NBC. "He said: 'You are not under investigation.'"

 

Trump said the dinner with Comey was at the White House and Comey wanted to discuss staying on as FBI chief. "We had a very nice dinner. And at that time, he told me: 'You are not under investigation.'"

 

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she believed it was not a conflict of interest for a president to ask the FBI chief such a question.

 

Comey has not publicly discussed any conversations he had with Trump.

 

McCabe testified it was not typical practise to tell people they were not a targets of an investigation.

 

The Republican chairman of the Senate panel, Richard Burr, asked McCabe whether he ever heard Comey tell Trump the president was not the subject of investigation. McCabe sidestepped the question, saying he could not comment on an ongoing probe.

 

In his letter firing Comey on Tuesday, Trump wrote: "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau."

 

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to disrupt the election that included hacking into Democratic Party emails and leaking them, with the aim of helping Trump.

 

Leaders of the U.S. intelligence agencies, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA chief Mike Pompeo, testified to the senators on Thursday that they agreed with that finding. Moscow has denied any such interference and the Trump administration denies allegations of collusion with Russia.

 

"For many people, including myself, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the president's decision to remove Director Comey was related to this investigation, and that is truly unacceptable," said the Senate Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, Mark Warner.

 

The Trump administration has said Comey's firing was unrelated to the Russia investigation. It said on Tuesday that Comey's firing arose from his handling of an election-year FBI probe into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.

 

"And while it's clear to me now more than ever that an independent special counsel must be appointed, make no mistake our committee will get to the bottom of what happened during the 2016 presidential election," Warner said.

 

Responding to Trump's latest comments about Comey, Burr and Warner praised the ousted FBI chief's integrity. Warner said he was offended at Trump's remarks.

 

Former Republican Representative Mike Rogers is being considered as a candidate to replace Comey, a senior White House official said. The nominee must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

 

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, David Alexander and Susan Cornwell; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Grant McCool and Peter Cooney)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2017-05-12
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There goes the future of McCabe. "McCabe is a show pony, a stooge to all my enemies" Trump is reported to have said before he fired him. Oh please give me some of the action when the movie is made about this period in US politics. It is so funny in a totally pathetic way.

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McCabe should be updating his resume as I write. Maybe Comey can find him a position (with Comey - when he finds one).

 

darksidedog: What is the truth in this mess? Do you think hope will save us? How much of this article misrepresentation and spin we can only wonder. McCabe should be discussing an ongoing investigation, assuming there is one. Anyway, an investigation does not make Trump a suspect of anything.

Edited by MaxYakov
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There have been so many contradictory statements from the White House that the only conclusion I have been able to draw is that they are lying about something in Comeys sacking. Something smells really bad about what has happened here, and I hope that one day we will finally find out the truth of this and the Russian matter.

Edited by darksidedog
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1 hour ago, MaxYakov said:

McCabe should be updating his resume as I write. Maybe Comey can find him a position (with Comey - when he finds one).

 

darksidedog: What is the truth in this mess? Do you think hope will save us? How much of this article misrepresentation and spin we can only wonder. McCabe should be discussing an ongoing investigation, assuming there is one. Anyway, an investigation does not make Trump a suspect of anything.

Will you take the word of this guy that such an investigation exists?

Trump said he never tried to pressure Comey into dropping the FBI probe of the Trump campaign and insisted, "I want to find out if there was a problem in the election having to do with Russia."

"As far as I'm concerned, I want that thing to be absolutely done properly," Trump said. "Maybe I'll expand that, you know, lengthen the time (of the Russia probe) because it should be over with, in my opinion, should have been over with a long time ago."

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-reveals-he-asked-comey-whether-he-was-under-investigation-n757821

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17 minutes ago, mamypoko said:

Trump accusing someone of showboating and grandstanding - that's rich! 

... you just beat me to it sir, my sentiments exactly.

What a ridiculous joker, it's - almost - unbelievable ... 

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3 hours ago, MaxYakov said:

McCabe should be updating his resume as I write. Maybe Comey can find him a position (with Comey - when he finds one).

 

darksidedog: What is the truth in this mess? Do you think hope will save us? How much of this article misrepresentation and spin we can only wonder. McCabe should be discussing an ongoing investigation, assuming there is one. Anyway, an investigation does not make Trump a suspect of anything.

I love the doublethink you show. On the one hand you question that existence of the investigation, and then you throw shade on McCabe for affirming one exists. As long as he doesn't disclose details, which he didn't, he did nothing wrong here.

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6 hours ago, webfact said:

Trump will not visit FBI headquarters in Washington as expected after agency officials told the White House he would not be greeted warmly following his firing of Comey, MSNBC reported on Thursday.

 

Wow! The President cannot make a visit to his top law enforcement agency because he will not be warmly received!

 

Trump has miscalculated. It is CLEAR from McCabe's testimony that Comey was held in very high regard within the FBI. The way in which Trump got rid of Comey is universally condemned within the FBI and was considered very disrespectful. Now more disrespect calling Comey a 'showboater and Grand Stander". I believe the FBI will go all out now to bring down Trump in a ball of flames, I am sure some individual agents will try and ensure that Trumps political demise is as painful and humiliating as possible. 

 

 

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No, Mr. President, you are not under investigation.  That was probably a true statement.  The second half may have been, "but your election staff, and present/former WH Staff, are. 

 

Anyway, it's a clown car show at the moment.  Very embarrassing for America but we've gotten used to that over the past 20 odd years with Messrs Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now Mr. Trump.   Still have faith the process will go forward, even if it drags on like Act II of the Hillary Clinton-Benghazi investigation.  Still a damn sight better than having a Prayuth, Article 44, and kicking down doors of those who might "Like" the wrong post on Facebook.  We aren't quite "there" yet, and the Americans will do the right thing - after exhausting all other alternatives.

 

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1 hour ago, Andaman Al said:

Wow! The President cannot make a visit to his top law enforcement agency because he will not be warmly received!

 

Trump has miscalculated. It is CLEAR from McCabe's testimony that Comey was held in very high regard within the FBI. The way in which Trump got rid of Comey is universally condemned within the FBI and was considered very disrespectful. Now more disrespect calling Comey a 'showboater and Grand Stander". I believe the FBI will go all out now to bring down Trump in a ball of flames, I am sure some individual agents will try and ensure that Trumps political demise is as painful and humiliating as possible. 

 

 

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I believe the average FBI employee is more professional than that, though. 

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Just now, Bill Miller said:

I believe the average FBI employee is more professional than that, though. 

I don't think there is anything unprofessional about focusing your attention in a particular direction. Lets just say that their internal motivation for delivering a successful conclusion to the investigation will have been given an extra boost.

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Just now, Andaman Al said:

I don't think there is anything unprofessional about focusing your attention in a particular direction. Lets just say that their internal motivation for delivering a successful conclusion to the investigation will have been given an extra boost.

I agree, Al. Mostly responding to "I believe the FBI will go all out now to bring down Trump in a ball of flames,"
I think they will be careful to not let that appear to be the motivation, however much I might personally approve.
:smile:

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Trump has likely made a serious miscalculation in firing Comey. The FBI prides itself on being one of the most independent agencies in the U. S. government, and they are a very tight-knit group. Something like this is being seen from the inside as an attack on them. Trump has already cancelled a planned visit to FBI headquarters after being informed that he would not receive a warm welcome. As the linked article explains, they have a tremendous ability to make life hell for the President, especially someone like Trump whose past is a patchwork of highly questionable associations and business practices. Trump has known connections to Mafia personalities, may well have committed tax fraud, has ties to the Russian mob, has a long history of using fraudulent promises to cheat people out of their investments and/or contractual obligations, none of which, for some reason, have ever been seriously investigated. By firing Comey, Trump may well have given the FBI reason to start looking much more closely at him. It wouldn't surprise me if they have a rather thick dossier on him that contains some rather unflattering information. Given his complete inability to accept any news that doesn't massage his ego, leaks that shined a spotlight on derogatory information about him would drive him nuts. Watching this unfold should be hugely entertaining.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/why-the-fbi-might-wage-“war”-on-trump-—-and-how-they-would-actually-do-it/ar-BBB1Wgo

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Keep contradicting yourself and your spokespeople Donald.  You just can't tell the truth about anything, can you?  Trump continues to show he is totally unfit to be President.  It is the news in the UK every day and everyone can clearly see just what a complete moron Trump is.  Way past embarrassing now!

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6 hours ago, jollyhangmon said:

... you just beat me to it sir, my sentiments exactly.

What a ridiculous joker, it's - almost - unbelievable ... 

the term youre looking for is "projecting" GOP and Trumpie do it non stop:wai:

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Keep contradicting yourself and your spokespeople Donald.  You just can't tell the truth about anything, can you?  Trump continues to show he is totally unfit to be President.  It is the news in the UK every day and everyone can clearly see just what a complete moron Trump is.  Way past embarrassing now!

Yes. He must be removed. Change or improvement is impossible. He is what he is and what he is a totally corrupt hot mess with the nuclear codes. It's a shameful time to be American.
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1 hour ago, dunroaming said:

Keep contradicting yourself and your spokespeople Donald.  You just can't tell the truth about anything, can you?  Trump continues to show he is totally unfit to be President.  It is the news in the UK every day and everyone can clearly see just what a complete moron Trump is.  Way past embarrassing now!

The problem is that so far not enough people care.

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1 hour ago, Jingthing said:


Yes. He must be removed. Change or improvement is impossible. He is what he is and what he is a totally corrupt hot mess with the nuclear codes. It's a shameful time to be American.

 

I would re-phrase that slightly as in, "It's a shameful time for anyone who actually voted to put that loon into office."

 

There are a lot of good Americans who wanted nothing to do with the snake oil that Trump was/is selling.

 

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yes, the ACTING FBI director promised that the Russia-election-FOT (friends of Trump) probe will continue...

 

Right up until the President appoints his own stooge FBI director and they endeavor to make the entire investigation quietly fade away, or even better, soon thereafter announce they've concluded their investigation and that no one who's ever even remotely known Trump has ever had anything to do with any Russian anywhere in the world... :ph34r:

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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19 minutes ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

yes, the ACTING FBI director promised that the Russia-election-FOT (friends of Trump) probe will continue...

 

Right up until the President appoints his own stooge FBI director and they endeavor to make the entire investigation quietly fade away, or even better, soon thereafter announce they've concluded their investigation and that no one who's ever even remotely known Trump has ever had anything to do with any Russian anywhere in the world... :ph34r:

Trey Gowdy has already been touted as the next FBI director.

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8 minutes ago, pitrevie said:

Trey Gowdy has already been touted as the next FBI director.

That would seem unlikely for the following reasons...

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trey_Gowdy#Presidential_politics

 

Quote

 

Presidential politics

In July 2015, Republican nominee Donald Trump named Gowdy as a possible nominee for Attorney General in a Trump cabinet.[36] In late December 2015, Gowdy endorsed Senator Marco Rubio for president, praising him as a rarity among elected officials for having kept his campaign promises.[37] Gowdy's endorsement strained his relations with Donald Trump's campaign; Trump said that Gowdy had "failed miserably on Benghazi".[38][39] Rubio withdrew from the race in March, after losing his home state of Florida to Trump. Two months later, on May 20, Gowdy endorsed Trump for president, admitting that while he was a "Rubio guy", he would support the presumptive Republican nominee.[40]

 

 

One of the article I read earlier today mentioned Congressman Mike Rogers... who has a sterling far right record.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Rogers_(Alabama_politician)

 

Quote

 

In June 2016 he called for the United States withdrawal from the United Nations in the wake of the Brexit vote by the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.[6] Except on spending, where he earned the dubious title of "April 2012 Porker of the Month"[7] and only a 23% rating from Citizens Against Government Waste[8] Rogers has a conservative voting record.[according to whom?] He dissented with the Morocco free trade agreement due to potential job losses in the Alabama textile industry.[citation needed] On social issues Rogers has voted in opposition to abortion, gay marriage and immigration.[citation needed] However, he has acted to protect the Armed Services industry in his area.[citation needed] On the Armed Services Committee, he opposed a new series of military base closures and won passage of a bill that would assure that universities would provide access to their facilities for military recruitment purposes and ROTC.[citation needed] Despite this, in 2008, he received a rating of 50% from the American Conservative Union, one of the most moderate voting records of a Southern Republican for that year.[9]

Rogers was a recipient of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's ARMPAC campaign contributions.[10] DeLay was prosecuted and convicted on charges of felony money laundering of campaign finances and conspiracy to launder money. As of August 2016, Rogers has not offered to return any of the $30,000 he received.[11] Rogers said that DeLay is innocent until proven guilty, and that he would not return the money "while the judicial process runs its course."[12]

 

 

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