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James
@JamesMiller
Personal account of James Miller, Managing Editor of The Interpreter, a publication on Russia, Ukraine, and Syria. A contributor at Reuters, The Daily Beast, RFE/RL, elsewhere.
James Miller
James Comey Testifies To The Senate

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James
@JamesMiller
Personal account of James Miller, Managing Editor of The Interpreter, a publication on Russia, Ukraine, and Syria. A contributor at Reuters, The Daily Beast, RFE/RL, elsewhere.
JamesMiller
Comey Will Not Answer About Whether He Feels Trump Colluded With Russia

A telling statement: "When I left there was no investigation into Donald Trump. But I believe this is one of the things that will come out of the Russia investigation." Comey went on to say that he did not want to infer "something nefarious" against Trump, but that it was an active investigation and he did not want to comment. Interestingly, however, this also goes to motive about why Trump would potentially want to stop the investigation -- because as of when Comey left, Trump was not under investigation, but that this is one of the questions that is being probed during the investigation.

-- James Miller

James
@JamesMiller
Personal account of James Miller, Managing Editor of The Interpreter, a publication on Russia, Ukraine, and Syria. A contributor at Reuters, The Daily Beast, RFE/RL, elsewhere.
JamesMiller
"Russia Tried To Shape The Way We Think, The Way We Feel, The Way We Act"
Comey was forthright on the threat that Russia poses to the United States:

But furthermore, Comey said that Trump only asked Comey about this threat only once, and mainly to find out what Comey's sources were, not necessarily to assess the threat. 

Comey suggested that it was odd and disturbing to him that Trump was more interested in dropping the investigation with Flynn than he was at stopping the Russian threat,

-- James Miller

James
@JamesMiller
Personal account of James Miller, Managing Editor of The Interpreter, a publication on Russia, Ukraine, and Syria. A contributor at Reuters, The Daily Beast, RFE/RL, elsewhere.
JamesMiller
Comey: Investigations Into Flynn And Russian Election Interference "Touching Each Other But Separate"

The facts clearly establish that the FBI's investigation into Russia's interference are separate from an investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and the Trump administration or campaign. In other words, Russia's aggressive interference against American democracy was a large, robust, and comprehensive effort, a part of an ongoing adversarial relationship, and if there was collusion between the Trump administration and/or campaign and the Russian government, it is only a small part of those efforts.

Comey was asked directly as to whether or not the investigation into Michael Flynn was central into the investigation into Russian interference. Specifically, Flynn was asked whether closing the Flynn investigation would hamper the larger Russian investigation. Flynn said no, though he then added that sometimes when people are investigated they "flip" and provide even more information.

This crisis has also been characterized by some Republicans as a purely political controversy. The reality is that the intelligence community and the FBI are worried about a very complex and extensive Russian campaign against the United States. These political figures are just part of that. 

It is also interesting that immunity has been denied, by the Congress and/or the FBI, to several figures, including Michael Flynn.  In other words, Congress and the FBI have plenty of evidence against Russia, and potentially against Michael Flynn and maybe other Trump affiliates. They don't need the cooperation of Flynn or anyone else. This is not politics.

-- James Miller

James
@JamesMiller
Personal account of James Miller, Managing Editor of The Interpreter, a publication on Russia, Ukraine, and Syria. A contributor at Reuters, The Daily Beast, RFE/RL, elsewhere.
JamesMiller
James
@JamesMiller
Personal account of James Miller, Managing Editor of The Interpreter, a publication on Russia, Ukraine, and Syria. A contributor at Reuters, The Daily Beast, RFE/RL, elsewhere.
JamesMiller
"Why Did He Kick Everybody Out Of The Oval Office?"
James Comey was asked why people should believe his word over Donald Trump's. Comey pointed out that when Donald Trump spoke to Comey about the Flynn investigation, he asked everyone else to leave the room.

Here is the full-story, as told by the official statement that Comey entered into Congressional record

On February 14, I went to the Oval Office for a scheduled counter-terrorism briefing of the President. He sat behind the desk and a group of us sat in a semi-circle of about six chairs facing him on the other side of the desk. The Vice President, Deputy Director of the CIA, Director of the National CounterTerrorism Center, Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and I were in the semi-circle of chairs. I was directly facing the President, sitting between the Deputy CIA Director and the Director of NCTC. There were quite a few others in the room, sitting behind us on couches and chairs.


The President signaled the end of the briefing by thanking the group and telling them all that he wanted to speak to me alone. I stayed in my chair. As the participants started to leave the Oval Office, the Attorney General lingered by my chair, but the President thanked him and said he wanted to speak only with me. The last person to leave was Jared Kushner, who also stood by my chair and exchanged pleasantries with me. The President then excused him, saying he wanted to speak with me.


When the door by the grandfather clock closed, and we were alone, the President began by saying, “I want to talk about Mike Flynn.” Flynn had resigned the previous day. The President began by saying Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but he had to let him go because he had misled the Vice President. He added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify.


The President then made a long series of comments about the problem with leaks of classified information – a concern I shared and still share. After he had spoken for a few minutes about leaks, Reince Priebus leaned in through the door by the grandfather clock and I could see a group of people waiting behind him. The President waved at him to close the door, saying he would be done shortly. The door closed.


The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, “He is a good guy and has been through a lot.” He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” I replied only that “he is a good guy.” (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would “let this go.”


The President returned briefly to the problem of leaks. I then got up and left out the door by the grandfather clock, making my way through the large group of people waiting there, including Mr. Priebus and the Vice President.


I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership. I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. I could be wrong, but I took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn’s departure and the controversy around his account of his phone calls. Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency.

Read the entire statement here

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Comey Opening Statement For Senate Intelligence Hearing, Annotated

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. Before Comey was fired on May 9, he led the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential ties between Trump associates and Russia. That probe is now led by a special prosecutor.

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Jun 08, 2017 19:36 (GMT)
-- James Miller
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