Tensions are rising between former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired earlier this year by President Trump, and some Capitol Hill Republicans. House Republicans allege Comey has been lying about what he said in a March 2017 meeting and Comey insists he never said what Republics think he did.
This is where things get interesting. The Republicans say a transcript exists of the meeting that includes not just Comey's testimony but also testimony from fired top FBI deputy Andrew McCabe. That transcript will apparently vindicate Republicans and prove Comey has been lying.
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The conflict between them concerns Michael Flynn, the national security adviser who was fired then lied to the FBI during the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The FBI interviewed Flynn on January 24, 2017, and in the following weeks, there was much debate over whether Flynn and the alleged Trump/Russia collusion even matter. Comey went to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers on the situation and it was in that meeting with some members of the House that Comey told lawmakers that the two FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he had lied to them.
Lawmakers say they left the meeting with the impression that Flynn would not be charged but at the end of November 2017, he pleaded guilty. Comey told Congress earlier this year that the FBI agents involved did not think Flynn had lied. Now, Comey is on a publicity tour to promote his new book and has been asked at least three times about the report but each time h answered that he simply did not say what Republican sources say he said.
A recent example took place Sunday morning on NBC. "In the Washington Examiner, they report that, according to sources familiar with meetings that you had, that you told lawmakers when you were still director of the FBI that FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional," Chuck Todd said to Comey. "If that's the case, what did he plead guilty to?"
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Comey responded, "Yes, an example of how you can't believe everything you read in the media." Todd continued to probe the issue asking, "This is not true?" Comey replied, "Not true. And I don't know what people heard me say if they're reporting it accurately, what they heard me say, they misunderstood. But that's not accurate."
Just a few days prior, Comey gave almost the same answer during an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier. "Did you tell lawmakers that FBI agents didn't believe former national security adviser Michael Flynn was lying intentionally to investigators?" Baier asked. "No," Comey said. "And I saw that in the media. I don't know what — maybe someone misunderstood something I said. I didn't believe that and didn't say that."
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Trey Gowdy: James Comey's definition of a leak "is what the rest of us call a felony" <a href="https://t.co/Ka9kR6l7dm">https://t.co/Ka9kR6l7dm</a> <a href="https://t.co/semznnUQWv">pic.twitter.com/semznnUQWv</a></p>— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) <a href="https://twitter.com/dcexaminer/status/990700017563336705?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 29, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy says that Comey's version of events simply isn't true. "Director Comey's recollection is flawed. If he does not remember telling Congress that his agents told him they didn't think Flynn was lying, then he needs to get his lawyers to go back and look at the transcript. We did not miss here. Maybe he misspoke, but that's in the transcript." Sources say the Comey quotes in question are included in the newly-released Hose Intelligence Committee Republicans' final report on the Trump/Russia investigation but were heavily redacted. House Committee chairman Devin Nunes said he would fight to remove some of those redactions.
"We object to the excessive and unjustified number of redactions, many of which do not relate to classified information," Nunes said. "The committee will convey our objections to the appropriate agencies and looks forward to publishing a less redacted version in the near future."
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