Path 2

Wednesday, May 10 2017

As Trump-Russia Investigation Gained Momentum, Trump Fired James Comey 

May 10, 2017

24 Hours Later: Chaos, Confusion and a Cover-Up 

The firing of FBI Director James Comey came just as investigations into the Trump campaign’s numerous ties to Russia were gaining momentum, a reality that looks more and more like the Trump White House was trying to obstruct justice. Just days before he was fired, Comey requested additional resources into his investigation and grand jury subpoenas had been issued to associates of Michael Flynn. Then Trump acted, firing Comey, and 24 hours later the White House is still struggling to explain his rationale.

The last 24 hours have been a mix of confusion, chaos and what looks like a White House cover up. But don’t take our word for it, just look at the coverage:

Tuesday, May 9: Trump Fires Comey, White House Spins Out Of Control  

FBI Director Comey Fired By President Trump. “President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.” [The New York Times, 5/9/17]

Sean Spicer Literally Hid In The Bushes To Avoid Reporters. “White House press secretary Sean Spicer wrapped up his brief interview with Fox Business from the White House grounds late Tuesday night and then disappeared into the shadows, huddling with his staff behind a tall hedge.” [The Washington Post, 5/9/17]  

Wednesday, May 10: Trump Meets With Russian Officials, Excludes American Press

Rex Tillerson Met With Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Who Openly Laughed Over the Firing of James Comey. “Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday laughed off questions about President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of former FBI Director James Comey, who was leading an investigation into possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.” [Talking Points Memo, 5/10/17]

Trump Met With Foreign Minister Lavrov And Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, White House Omitted Kislyak’s Presence From Its Statement On The Meeting. “The Russian Embassy tweeted a photo of Trump shaking the hand of Russia’s ambassador in what appears to be the Oval Office. Current and former US intelligence officials have accused Kislyak of being a top spy and recruiter of spies, a notion that Russian officials have dismissed. A White House statement after the meeting omitted any mention of Kislyak’s presence, instead focusing on Trump’s conversation with Lavrov, which the President described as ‘very, very good.’” [CNN, 5/10/17]

  • The Only News Agency Allowed Into The Oval Office Was Russian. “The White House declared the meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to be closed press, meaning that reporters couldn’t attend and cover independently. But one outlet did get in: TASS, a Russian state media organization.” [The Huffington Post, 5/10/17]

  • White House readout of Trump’s meeting with Lavrov failed to mention Kislyak’s attendance. “Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia. President Donald J. Trump met today with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia, following on the visit of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Moscow last month. President Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria, in particular, underscoring the need for Russia to rein in the Assad regime, Iran, and Iranian proxies. The President raised Ukraine, and expressed his Administration’s commitment to remain engaged in resolving the conflict and stressed Russia’s responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.  He also raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere. The President further emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia.” [The White House, 5/10/17]

Senator Feinstein Reveals Trump Said He Asked Rosenstein To Look Into Comey, Contradicting Pence And White House Officials

Senator Feinstein Said Trump Told Her He Asked Rosenstein To Look Into Comey. “When I talked to the president last night, he said, ‘The department’s a mess, I asked [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein and [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions to look into it, Rosenstein sent me a memo. I accepted the recommendation to fire him,'” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, recalled to reporters Wednesday at the Capitol.” [ABC News, 5/10/17]

  • Vice President Pence, Press Secretary Spicer, And Deputy Press Secretary Sanders All Claimed The Recommendation Originated With DOJ. ““That was a DOJ decision,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday evening about the review of Comey’s conduct, which was conducted by Rosenstein. When asked if Trump instructed Rosenstein to conduct the Comey review, Vice President Mike Pence said Rosenstein “came to work, sat down and made the recommendation.” “He brought that recommendation to the president,” Pence said on Capitol Hill Wednesday. […] Asked about the California Democrat’s comments, White House principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had been considering letting Comey go, but that “there was no request by him to have a review at the Department of Justice.” Sanders said Rosenstein “absolutely” decided to review Comey’s performance on his own, but was asked to put his recommendation into writing in a Monday meeting with Trump and Sessions.” [ABC News, 5/10/17]

Breaking News Illuminates The Real Context Behind Comey Firing

Trump Was Increasingly Frustrated By News Coverage Of Russia Scandal. “He had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.” [Politico, 5/10/17]

Trump Was Frustrated By Comey’s Senate Testimony Last Week Where Comey Affirmed The FBI Is Investigating The Trump Campaign’s Ties To Russia. “Trump had grown angry with the Russia investigation — particularly Comey admitting in front of the Senate that the FBI was investigating his campaign — and that the FBI director wouldn’t support his claims that President Barack Obama had tapped his phones in Trump Tower.” [Politico, 5/10/17]

Days Ago: Comey Requested More Resources For Russia Investigation. “Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in resources for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, according to four congressional officials, including Senator Richard J. Durbin. Mr. Comey made his appeal to Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who also wrote the Justice Department’s memo that was used to justify the firing of Mr. Comey this week, the officials said.” [The New York Times, 5/10/17]

First Grand Jury Subpoenas To Associates Of Michael Flynn Had Just Gone Out. According to CNN, “Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn seeking business records, as part of the ongoing probe of Russian meddling in last year’s election, according to people familiar with the matter. CNN learned of the subpoenas hours before President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey. The subpoenas represent the first sign of a significant escalation of activity in the FBI’s broader investigation begun last July into possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.” [CNN, 5/10/17]

Roger Stone, Who Is A Target Of The FBI Investigation,  Had Recent Conversations With Trump Urging Him To Fire Comey. According to Politico, “While shock dominated much of the FBI and the White House, the mood was more elated at Roger Stone’s house in Florida. Several Stone allies and friends said Stone, who has been frequently mentioned in the investigation, encouraged the president to fire Comey in conversations in recent weeks. On Twitter, Stone signaled praise for the move by posting an image of Trump from The Apprentice saying, ‘You’re fired.’ Stone declined to comment Tuesday night but said he was enjoying a fine cigar.” [Politico, 5/10/17]

Published: May 10, 2017

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