by Kenneth Fine
He set that tone from the beginning, opening with a goodbye to his former employees, to whom he was unable to personally bid farewell. And he said Mr. Trump had lied — a word that is often soft-pedaled in Washington — when he justified the firing by saying Mr. Comey had lost the confidence of an F.B.I. in disarray. “Those were lies, plain and simple,” Mr. Comey said."I took [the request to let go of the Flynn investigation] as a direction."
He said the president had defamed him, an apparent reference to Mr. Trump’s calling him a “nut job” in a private meeting with Russian diplomats.
But he said he had no doubt about Mr. Trump’s intentions. “I took it as a direction,” he said. If the president had his way, Mr. Comey said, “we would have dropped an open criminal investigation.”The president's tweet about "tapes" resulted in Comey leaking memos, through a friend, to the NYT. Speaking of tapes, Comey said, "Lordy, I hope there are tapes."
That tweet inspired Mr. Comey to allow a friend to read portions of his memo to The Times. A day after The Times revealed the contents of that memo, which described the conversation about Mr. Flynn, the Justice Department appointed Mr. Mueller to take over the investigation.Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Comey said, shouldn’t have left his subordinate alone with the president.
Mr. Comey also described his disappointment when the president asked that they be left alone after a meeting in the Oval Office with national security officials. Mr. Sessions stayed behind at first, but then left. “My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn’t be leaving, which is why he was lingering,” Mr. Comey said. He testified that he later told Mr. Sessions to never again leave him alone with Mr. Trump.Comey leaked contents of memos to the NYT to ensure a special counsel was appointed.
Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, is investigating Mr. Flynn along with the broad question of whether the Trump campaign helped Russian operatives meddle in the presidential election. Next week, as part of a separate investigation, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s staff will interview Jared Kushner, the president’s adviser and son-in-law, Senator Angus King, independent of Maine, said Thursday night.2) Trump's lawyer disputes Comey's testimony and Paul Ryan says the president should have a learning curve.
Mr. Comey placed the origins of the special counsel investigation squarely on Mr. Trump’s Twitter account, a frequent source of conflict for the president.
Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, flatly denied any obstruction. “The president never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone,” he said.What say you, Paul Ryan? From Politico:
Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday defended President Donald Trump’s communications with ex-FBI director James Comey, saying Trump wasn’t “steeped in the long-running protocols” of how to interact with law enforcement and is “new at this.”
The Wisconsin Republican also expressed sympathy for Trump's frustration with the Russia investigation, noting that Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday morning that Trump was not the subject of the probe — at least not while he was at the FBI.
"When the FBI director tells him on three different occasions he is not under investigation, yet the speculation swirls around the political system that he is, that’s frustrating,” Ryan said. “I think the American people now know why he was frustrated" ...
“The president’s new at this. He’s new at government," Ryan said. "He’s not steeped in the long running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses."
Today, the GOP-controlled legislature balked. The House voted 71-44 (mostly along party lines) to cancel the special session, calling Cooper's move a "political stunt" that was "unconstitutional."Looks like it's going to be left to the courts.
After GoTriangle accused the Streets at Southpoint of threatening to tow its riders' cars, Durham's planning director says doing so would be a violation of the city's unified development ordinance.That's it for today. Have a great weekend.
The transit agency said Wednesday that fliers had been placed on GoTriangle riders' cars saying they would be towed if parked at the mall outside the hours of six a.m. to six p.m. Monday through Friday. In a 2008 agreement between the city and the mall, Southpoint agreed to set aside 147 of its parking spots for people to park their cars and board GoTriangle buses. The mall had offered to accommodate park-and-ride vehicles when it asked the city to rezone the property in 1999.
Planning staff visited the mall today, director Patrick Young said, and found that signs designating park-and-ride spots at Southpoint do not specify any hours.
"As such, any attempt to enforce time limitations on these spaces will be a violation of Section 10.2.2.B.2 of the UDO, which will be enforced by the Planning Department. The Mall is permitted to install revised signage with time limitations permitted by Section 10.2.2.B.2 of the UDO and enforce such limitations after such signage is installed," Young wrote in a memo to city officials.