Politics Could James Comey's Firing Sandbag the Russia Probe?

04:00  10 may  2017
04:00  10 may  2017 Source:   Newsweek

White House circulates negative stories about Comey after firing

  White House circulates negative stories about Comey after firing The White House circulated negative press clippings on FBI Director James Comey minutes after announcing his firing Tuesday evening.The one-page sheet circulated by the White House contained four stories, most of them about Democrats criticizing Comey's decision to disclose developments in the investigation into Hillary Clinton's useThe one-page sheet circulated by the White House contained four stories, most of them about Democrats criticizing Comey's decision to disclose developments in the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

James Comey didn’t want to say much yesterday on Capitol Hill, but for President Trump’s opponents, he said enough. And Clinton people are upset that the Trump/ Russia probe remained secret while Comey talked about reopening Based on Comey ’ s testimony, this thing could drag on for months.

The firing of FBI Director James B. Comey brought renewed calls from both House and Senate Democrats for a special prosecutor on Russian interference. Schumer said that the time has come for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor in the Russia probe , a

FBI Director James Comey testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on May 3. A president can fire an FBI director, though it rarely happens. © Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS FBI Director James Comey testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on May 3. A president can fire an FBI director, though it rarely happens.

President Donald Trump’s sudden firing of FBI director James Comey could jeopardize the FBI’s investigation into the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election, former FBI supervisors tell Newsweek.

While investigations typically continue after a FBI director steps down, a director who is sympathetic or friendly to Trump could easily drag out the FBI probe into Trump staffers and Russia, the ex-supervisors say.

Senate Intel committee invites Comey to testify next week

  Senate Intel committee invites Comey to testify next week Recently ousted FBI Director James Comey has been invited to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday.It will be a closed session, meaning the public is not invited, according to a spokesperson for Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, dramatically ousting the nation' s top law enforcement official in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump' s campaign had ties to Russia ' s election meddling.

Furious Democrats branded the firing of FBI Director James Comey as “Nixonian,” warning the probe into the Trump campaign’ s ties to Russia had been dangerously compromised. They warned of a possible constitutional crisis

“You don’t kill a case just by telling everyone to stop investigating it. That would be obstruction of justice,” says Myron Fuller, who was the special agent in charge of the Honolulu division. “But you could drag it out forever … The FBI could work it until the cows come home.”

Fuller also called for a bipartisan special prosecutor to look into Trump-Russia ties.

“Unless the Republicans join the Democrats and get an independent counsel, I would be concerned the case is jeopardized,” he says.

Another former FBI supervisor tells Newsweek that while all investigations continue regardless of a change at the top, the person who replaces Comey could steer the probe in a different direction.

“The person who replaces Comey will have influence on how the investigation goes,” says Joseph Lewis, a former assistant director of the organized crime branch of the FBI’s criminal division. He added that a FBI director sympathetic to Trump could, “Play devil’s advocate and sow seeds of doubt with the investigators.”

Senate Intel committee invites Comey to testify next week

  Senate Intel committee invites Comey to testify next week Recently ousted FBI Director James Comey has been invited to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday.It will be a closed session, meaning the public is not invited, according to a spokesperson for Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

FBI Director James Comey prepares to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation” on Capitol Hill in Later, Grassley grilled Comey on leaks from the intelligence community to the press about the FBI’ s probe into Trump’ s Russia ties.

Comey firing leaves Russia probes adrift; FBI findings key to Congress. The shock firing of FBI Director James Comey Tuesday casts a shadow over the future of congressional investigations into Russia ’ s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election on behalf of President Donald Trump.

However, Lewis also tells Newsweek that if agents feel they have a good case but are shut down by FBI leadership, they will explore alternatives.

“It’ll be leaked in some form or fashion if there’s any feeling that anybody is trying to stifle or quell the results of the investigation,” Lewis says.

An incoming director seen attempting to weaken the Russia probe would likely face serious resistance from within the bureau, another retired FBI supervisor says.

“The feeling among those agents will be, if that is why you fired him, our integrity is challenged,” says David Gomez, the former assistant special agent in charge of the Seattle office, where he oversaw national security issues. “This is an attack on their professionalism and they’ll ensure their i’s are dotted and their t’s are crossed and they’ll leave no stone unturned.”

Jeffrey Ringel, a former coordinating supervisory special agent in the FBI’s New York office, tells Newsweek that high-profile investigations can spark a lot of fighting between the top levels of the FBI and the Department of Justice over how to best pursue an investigation.

“When there’s difference between the two, you need a strong boss who can fight for you,” says Ringel, now a director at private intelligence firm the Soufan Group, adding that a new director could “redirect” the probe. “Without Comey there, we may have lost our biggest ally in the fight to further the investigation.”

Comey willing to testify, but only in public: report .
James Comey declined an invitation to speak to a Senate panel in a closed-door session next week.Comey declined an invitation to speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed door session next week.

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