FBI Director James Comey ‘Incredulous’ Over Trump’s Tweets, Asks Bureau to Reject Trump’s Wiretapping Allegations


The tumultuous relationship between FBI Director James Comey and Donald Trump continues this week. This time, the two offered differing views on the possibility that Trump Tower was wiretapped during the Republican president's general election campaign.

The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones, senior American officials said on Sunday. Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement.
Mr. Comey, who made the request on Saturday after Mr. Trump leveled his allegation on Twitter, has been working to get the Justice Department to knock down the claim because it falsely insinuates that the F.B.I. broke the law, the officials said.
A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment. Sarah Isgur Flores, the spokeswoman for the Justice Department, also declined to comment.

Mr. Comey’s request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness. The confrontation between the two is the most serious consequence of Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst, and it underscores the dangers of what the president and his aides have unleashed by accusing the former president of a conspiracy to undermine Mr. Trump’s young administration.

The White House showed no indication that it would back down from Mr. Trump’s claims. On Sunday, the president demanded a congressional inquiry into whether Mr. Obama had abused the power of federal law enforcement agencies before the 2016 presidential election. In a statement from his spokesman, Mr. Trump called “reports” about the wiretapping “very troubling” and said Congress should examine them as part of its investigations into Russia’s meddling in the election.
In addition to being concerned about potential attacks on the bureau’s credibility, senior F.B.I. officials are said to be worried that the notion of a court-approved wiretap will raise the public’s expectations that the federal authorities have significant evidence implicating the Trump campaign in colluding with Russia’s efforts to disrupt the presidential election.

Mr. Comey has not been dealing directly with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the matter, as Mr. Sessions announced on Thursday that he would recuse himself from any investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence the election. It had been revealed on Wednesday that Mr. Sessions had misled Congress about his meetings with the Russian ambassador during the campaign.

Mr. Comey’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering is certain to invite contrasts to his actions last year, when he spoke publicly about the Hillary Clinton email case and disregarded Justice Department entreaties not to.

This isn't the first time Trump and Comey have disagreed in public. Last year, Trump criticized the FBI director for refusing to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton. Later in the year, he was praised for his transparency regarding the ongoing nature of that very investigation. With this most recent development, the relationship between the two may be back on thin ice.

FBI Director James Comey was “incredulous” over the weekend after President Donald Trump's allegation via Twitter that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of his phones during the campaign, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.

The source said Comey was concerned that the allegation would make the FBI look bad, and that concern was part of what prompted the FBI director to have his staff reach out to staff at the Justice Department asking them to knock down the allegation.
The source said Comey felt “institutionally he has to push back on this” because the magnitude of the allegations that Comey knows not to be true.

It is now reported that Comey is asking the DOJ to refute the allegations:

FBI Director James Comey has reportedly asked the Justice Department to publicly deny there is any truth to President Donald Trump’s claims that former President Barack Obama ordered his phones be tapped, the New York Times reports. According to the paper’s sources, Comey has called on the Justice Department to contradict the commander in chief, because his explosive accusation makes it look like the FBI broke the law. Needless to say, the Justice Department has not issued any kind of statement on the allegations.

 

Source: The New York Times, CNN

 



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