At a dinner in early January, according to former FBI Director, James Comey, President Trump said to him, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” Perhaps President Trump doesn’t understand the role of the Justice Department and more specifically, who they are accountable to.
Presently, James Comey is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on their Russian investigation but he submitted a prepared statement yesterday. In this statement, former Director Comey outlined the conversation he had during a one-on-one dinner with the then President-elect. He states, “The President began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI Director, which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to.”
He went on to say, “[m]y instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship.” Comey continued in his statement that this “concerned” him greatly because of the independent status of the FBI as it relates to the executive branch.
The memo continued as Comey discussed other meetings with the President including an impromptu discussion between just him and the President where Trump seemed to be asking Comey to drop the investigation into then recently fired National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn. Apparently, Trump held Comey back after a meeting of the intelligence heads in the Oval. Comey wrote that the President believed Flynn didn’t do anything wrong, referring to Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador, and that Trump wanted Comey to see his “way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” repeating that Flynn was a “good guy” and that he had “been through a lot.”
The last part of the memo reported some telephone conversations between Comey and the President. According to Comey, President Trump called Comey to discuss the investigation and more specifically seemed to be pressuring him to publicly announce that the FBI was not investigating Trump personally. Trump kept mentioning that the investigation created “a cloud” that was making it difficult for him to make deals for the country. Comey responded by saying that he would do his best to ensure a thorough and well executed investigation and that this would be a “great benefit.”
Again, and again, Trump, according to Comey, seemed to badger him about making some official statement that the FBI was not investigating him. Finally, on the final call which was on April 11th, Trump, taking a cue right out of GoodFellas, Trump goes full wise guy stating, “[b]ecause I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” You couldn’t make this stuff up, really.
So, what was “that thing?” Apparently, Comey didn’t ask, but oh how we wish he would have or perhaps he did and doesn’t want to say. But there was that word again, loyalty, though this time it was Trump’s apparent loyalty towards Comey and it appeared that he had hoped this might trigger something within Comey. It obviously didn’t have the desired effect.
This memo sheds some light into the mind of Trump and again, it is as though Trump doesn’t understand that the FBI and the Justice Department are accountable to the American people and not to his administration. I am not sure that Trump has the ties to Russia as many Liberals are hoping but this memo does highlight President Trump’s ignorance and underscores the perception of his unsuitability for this high office. Perhaps the next memo that is presented to Congress will be how he tried greasing the palms of his other intel director as though he’s back in Jersey developing another failing casino. Something tells me this is only the beginning.
Featured image courtesy of AP