Former FBI Director’s Friend Says Trump Made Comey Feel Uncomfortable

Fired FBI director James Comey was uneasy with President Donald Trump’s interactions with him and wanted a professional boundary maintained between the agency and White House, according to a friend of the former law enforcement official in a story published Thursday.

The New York Times cites Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution and frequent Trump critic, as saying Comey felt the contacts by Trump were inappropriate and that the now-former agency chief didn’t want to be friendly with the president.

According to Wittes, Comey felt the need to “throw some brushback pitches to the administration,” an apparent reference to a baseball tactic where a pitcher throws inside on a batter who is standing too close to home plate.

The contacts include a dinner in which Trump allegedly asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to the president, and a meeting with Comey in the Oval Office where Trump allegedly said he hoped the investigation into the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, could be dropped.

Two anonymous sources told The Times the president called Comey shortly after being inaugurated and asked if the FBI was ever going to specify that Trump was not personally under investigation.

According to those people, Comey said Trump should not contact him directly, but instead have a White House lawyer handle any inquiries to the Justice Department.

Reports say Comey wrote memos after each encounter with Trump detailing the contents of their conversations. Trump has denied making the Flynn request and the paper concedes that its reporter never actually saw any memos about the conversations.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement to the paper that “the sworn testimony” of both Comey and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe “make clear that there was never any attempt to interfere in this investigation.”

Congressional investigators have requested copies of all the Comey memos.

Comey, at the time of the Trump contacts, was overseeing an investigation into any possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian agents. Trump fired Comey as FBI director earlier this month.


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