Neil A. Carousso produces and co-hosts WCBS Newsradio 880’s Small Business Spotlight series with Joe Connolly. Click here to watch the weekly video segments featuring advice for business owners on survival, recovery and growth opportunities.
  • Comey Testifies: No Collusion, No Pressure to End Russia Investigation, No Votes Changed, Trump Not Under Investigation and Leaking Admission

    By Neil A. Carousso

    Former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and national television, on Thursday, providing insight into his side of the story as it relates to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s correspondence with President Donald J. Trump.

    Comey divulged he leaked the memos he wrote about his conversations with President Trump to the media. He said he decided to leak his memos to the press via a third-party friend, a “professor at Columbia Law School,” later identified as Daniel Richman, after waking up in the middle of the night worried that his side of the story would not get out in the public sphere. The disgraced ex-FBI Director felt it was his obligation, like other Washington, D.C. political actors who leak, to release this information which is being debated as official, sensitive U.S. Government information and personal notes. This is also raising credibility concerns that Comey could have been leaking classified information throughout his tenure to fit a personal agenda, like politicians do anonymously to hurt political opponents or push a political narrative.

    Comey said he hoped that by leaking his own memos a special counsel would be appointed. A special counsel, headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, was appointed by the Justice Department on May 17 to ensure independence over the investigation into Russia interference of the U.S. election. President Trump had fired Comey 8 days earlier.

    Despite Comey's testimony, the department sent a memo to Comey on March 2 noting that Sessions had recused himself because of his support for President Trump during the campaign. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Despite Comey’s testimony, the department sent a memo to Comey on March 2 noting that Sessions had recused himself because of his support for President Trump during the campaign. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

    During the hearing, Comey claimed that he never saw any memoranda regarding Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from all matters involving the investigation into Russian interference of the election and any possible relation with the Trump campaign. However, the Department of Justice released a statement Thursday evening accusing the ex-FBI head of providing false testimony. DOJ Spokesman Ian Prior wrote that Comey received an email on March 2, attached on the Justice Department site, “specifically informing Mr. Comey and other relevant Department officials of the recusal and its parameters, and advising that each of them instruct their staff ‘not to brief the Attorney General *** about, or otherwise involve the Attorney General *** in, any such matters described.'”

    Ironically, the only thing that wasn’t leaked to media, as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) pointed out in the hearing, that was discussed in Comey’s testimony was that there has never been an investigation of Mr. Trump. Comey confirmed he told President Trump that he was not under investigation on three separate occasions, as Trump wrote in his letter of termination. Comey also established many media reports chronicling the investigation into Russia interference in the last U.S. election have been false.

    As all intelligence chiefs have confirmed under oath, Comey reiterated that there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. The ex-FBI Director also said, like all other intelligence officers, he never felt pressure to end the investigation. To the contrary, Comey revealed President Trump encouraged him to pursue the facts of whether or not Trump’s campaign officials communicated inappropriately and/or illegally with Russian officials. Mr. Trump wanted the investigation to be conducted independently, accurately and swiftly.

    In 2004, Comey and Justice Department officials threatened to resign over a dispute about former President George W. Bush’s surveillance program. Comey said he never considered resigning from his post under the Trump Administration despite the “awkward” conversations and disagreements he had with the President – most of which has been publicized after Comey was fired.

    The ex-FBI leader said former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, an Obama appointee, directed him to call the criminal investigation into 2016 Democrat Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server a “matter.” The FBI director reports directly to the attorney general and both serve at the pleasure of the president.

    Comey made a public announcement on July 5, 2016 highlighting the crimes Mrs. Clinton committed but concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor” would take the case, relieving Attorney General Lynch of making a tough decision on prosecuting the Democratic nominee days after meeting with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on the Phoenix tarmac while his wife was under a criminal investigation.

    Despite his concerns about Obama Administration officials, Comey only took notes on Mr. Trump and did not pursue a special counsel appointment for the Clinton investigation.

    240 Character Commentary and Analysis:

    3.6 million Tweets were sent between 7 AM-1:30 PM ET, discussing former FBI Director Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Here, we compile a series of facts, intelligent comments, perceptive analyses and statements stemming from Thursday’s hearing in reverse chronological order, starting with President Trump’s reaction on Twitter on Friday morning.

    Flashback: Comey Says Trump Never Obstructed Justice

    Former FBI Director Comey says President Trump never obstructed justice.

    On Thursday, the ex-FBI director added there is no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia. Comey has also said, Trump and his team have not impeded the investigation.

    All intelligence officials and politicians from both parties have concluded there is no evidence of collusion or change of votes at the ballots on November 8, 2016.

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