Tags: Donald Trump | Michael Flynn | Trump Administration | FBI | director | memo | James Comey

Pundits Ask: Why Didn't Comey Come Forward Sooner on Trump Memo?

Fox News "Special Report"

By    |   Tuesday, 16 May 2017 10:44 PM

Disclosures on Tuesday that FBI Director James Comey wrote a memo in February saying President Donald Trump asked him to end the probe of Michael Flynn raised questions about why Comey did not come forward sooner.

"If James Comey was so fastidious about updating the Congress every time there was a major break in the investigations that he had confirmed the FBI was involved with, it seems curious why this memo would only be surfacing now after he's been fired," Fox News correspondent James Rosen told Bret Baier.

"Why wasn't he apprising anyone of this, what he had his supporters obviously see as an apparent obstruction of justice by the president.

"Why wasn't he apprising any one of it in a more timely way?"

Rosen referenced Comey's efforts last year in disclosing results of the FBI's investigation into the Hillary Clinton email probe – only to reopen it in October, days before the November election, based upon findings of new evidence.

"You can use hopeful language," A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at Real Clear Politics, told Baier regarding Comey's language in the document. "It is still intimidation, but why didn't he tell the ranking member of that committee, Mark Warner?"

She was referring to the Virginia Democrat, who is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The panel is headed by Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina.

The questions challenged the former FBI director's solid reputation on Capitol Hill and within the intelligence community.

"Comey's telling the truth here, no doubt about that," Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told Anderson Cooper on CNN. "His memos are true."

They also come in light of Comey's history of taking strong stands over principles.

In 2004, he was acting attorney general when he squared off with the George W. Bush White House – threatening to resign in a showdown over changes to the NSA's warrantless surveillance program.

Comey refused for a time to reauthorize the wiretapping program – and his threat, along with then-FBI Director Robert Mueller – led Bush to revise the surveillance program.

He was serving for Attorney General John Ashcroft, who had been hospitalized a day after he ruled the NSA's program was illegal.

The following year, Comey was deputy attorney general when he battled again with the Bush administration, trying unsuccessfully to limit tough interrogation tactics against suspected terrorists.

Comey told then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales some of the practices were wrong and would damage the Justice Department's reputation.

Political strategist Karl Rove alluded to Comey's ethics in slamming him for not coming forward earlier.

"It would seem that if the president said that, and Comey thought it was incorrect or improper, he should have said to the president, 'With all due respect, I don't think that is a kind of question you should be asking,'" he told Fox's Martha MacCallum.

"If he thought it was getting into the gray area, then, the best thing for him and for the president is for him to say: 'Better that you never asked me those kinds of questions. Better that you never raise the issues in that way.'

"So, if it was in the gray area, he had an obligation to say something to the president," Rove said.

However, former CIA deputy director Philip Mudd explained Comey most likely did not inform Congress then because doing so would have jeopardized the agency's Russia probe.

"Let's remember, the FBI director is unique in Washington," he told Cooper. "That's a 10-year term.

"He goes in there thinking he's got three years left on his term.

"So, for anybody who says he should have discussed this with Congress when he was still the FBI director, as soon as he makes that comment, his conversation with the president is over.

"The likelihood that the investigation continues under his leadership is over – and I think he cements disaster.

"He could not imagine three weeks ago that he would be out as FBI director," added Mudd, who also served at the agency. "He was just trying to protect the integrity of the FBI's ability to run the investigation."

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Disclosures on Tuesday that FBI Director James Comey wrote a memo in February saying President Donald Trump asked him to end the probe of Michael Flynn raised questions about why Comey did not come forward sooner.
FBI, director, memo, James Comey
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 10:44 PM
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