Comey friend fires back at Trump

Victoria Sarno Jordan

Benjamin Wittes, a confidant of former FBI Director James Comey who edits the blog Lawfare, defended his friend Friday after new criticism from President Trump.

Trump seized on a letter from GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) that said Comey had drafted a statement clearing Hillary Clinton of any wrongdoing before conducting an interview with the former secretary of State or some of her closest aides.

The two senators said this showed Comey was exonerating Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, before concluding his investigation of her use of a private email server for State Department business. Trump echoed those claims in a Friday tweet.

Wittes, who is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said there was nothing unusual in what Comey did and that it did not suggest any wrongdoing.

“This may come as a shock to Grassley and Graham and Trump, but judges sometimes do a memo/draft about an opinion before oral argument,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Smart people think ahead and prepare. That appears to be an alien notion to our current President, but that’s likely what happened here.” 




The back-and-forth is important because the White House initially said Comey’s firing was because of his handling of the Clinton probe.

Many believe the firing was actually related more to Comey’s investigation into Russia’s role in last year’s presidential election. Trump himself said Russia was on his mind before he fired Comey, and in an NBC interview said he had decided to fire the FBI director before receiving a memo from the Department of Justice arguing for the firing based on the Clinton probe.

Comey has also testified that he believes he was fired over the Russia investigation, which was also seeking to determine whether members of Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow’s efforts to influence the election.

Tags Chuck Grassley Hillary Clinton Lindsey Graham

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