Comey 'often wondered' why Trump refused to issue strong criticism of Russia

Comey 'often wondered' why Trump refused to issue strong criticism of Russia
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Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump says public can see Mueller report Anderson Cooper blasts Trump over McCain attacks: 'He's punching a person who is dead' Clyburn: Trump and family 'greatest threats to democracy' in lifetime MORE writes in his new book that he often questioned why President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE didn't appear eager or willing to issue criticism of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

In excerpts from "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership" published by Axios, Comey writes that he wondered if there was something more "complicated" to Trump's relationship with Putin and Russia.

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"I had often wondered why, when given numerous opportunities to condemn the Russian government’s invasions of its neighbors and repression — even murder — of its own citizens, Trump refused to just state the plain facts," Comey writes.

"Maybe it was a contrarian streak or maybe it was something more complicated that explained his constant equivocation and apologies for Vladimir Putin," he added.

Comey's firing last year led to the appointment of Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, the special counsel whose investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia has ensnared a number of former Trump associates with federal charges.

Democrats and other critics have pointed to Trump's statements and actions on Russia as proof of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

Last month, the president was heavily criticized by both parties after he congratulated Putin on winning reelection, despite numerous concerns over the fairness and openness of Russia's elections.

Trump has defended his soft rhetoric on Putin, calling it "a good thing" that America can work with Russia against threats such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him also). The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong! Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing," Trump tweeted in March.