Comey: "Unlikely, But Possible" Trump Connected To Russians

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CNN's Jake Tapper confronts fired former FBI director James Comey on where he thinks the Mueller probe is headed and if he believes the Russians "have something" on President Trump or if there was any collusion in the 2016 election.

Comey stuck to his "honest answer" that it is possible but believe it is "unlikely."

"You found no evidence she had that email server, knowing that it was improper? But you’re not using the same construct of there is evidence or there isn’t evidence, you’re saying, it’s possible. That leaves the impression, for people, that there might be stuff out there – that there might be evidence that President Trump is under the thumb of the Kremlin," Tapper said to Comey.





"What you asked me about now is, why did I say what I said when people ask me whether I thought it was possible that the Russians had derogatory information on President Trump. I think it’s unlikely, but I think it’s possible," Comey answered.

"Here’s why an honest answer has to be it’s possible," Comey said. "Now, I’m not saying it’s likely, in fact, I’ve said all along and I’m repeating it to you here, today. It’s unlikely, in my view, but it’s possible."

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Something you said to me in one of your interviews stood out. Quote, “If you’ve been investigating something for almost a year and you don’t have a general sense of where it’s likely to end up, you should be fired because you’re incompetent.” You write something similar to that in the book and it’s you explaining why you wrote the letter basically exonerating Hillary Clinton from criminal behavior before you had even interviewed her.

But let’s apply that same standard to the Mueller investigation. You oversaw the Russia investigation for almost 10 months. Did you – do you have a general sense of how that investigation is going to end up?

JAMES COMEY, FMR. FBI DIRECTOR: In some respects, I did at the time but not completely. I suspect that the team that’s investigating it now has a general sense. I have no idea what that is. But again, it’s a general feeling that on the current course and speed, we’re likely to end up in this direction or that direction.

TAPPER: And where did you think it was going to end up? Did you think it was going to end up with people around President Trump being found guilty of conspiring, aiding and abetting with Russians?

COMEY: I can’t say. I’ve left that out of the book for reasons that are – should be obvious. I can’t talk about classified information or sensitive investigative details. So, I’m not going to say.

TAPPER: But your – your sense of where the investigation was headed is not classified, it’s just your impression. And, obviously, the investigation has continued since then. Why won’t you say? I mean, people want to know.

You have left the impression that there’s something there. In your interviews, you have said, when asked, do the Russians have something on President Trump? You’ve said, it’s possible – it’s possible, which is not a very FBI Director answer. Don’t you think?

COMEY: No, I think it’s an honest and calibrated answer.

TAPPER: Well the.

COMEY: So, I hope that’s an FBI – I’m not the FBI director, but I hope that’s an FBI Director type of answer.

TAPPER: Well, when you gave the press conference about Hillary Clinton in 2016, in the summer, you said, you didn’t say she didn’t lie or you didn’t say it’s possible she lied. You said, there’s no – you found no evidence that she had lied.

COMEY: Yes.

TAPPER: You found no evidence she had that email server, knowing that it was improper? But you’re not using the same construct of there is evidence or there isn’t evidence, you’re saying, it’s possible. That leaves the impression, for people, that there might be stuff out there – that there might be evidence that President Trump is under the thumb of the Kremlin.

COMEY: Yes, but I see the Jake, you’re asking me about two different things. I’m not going to talk about the investigation of possible cooperation between Americans and the Russian effort to influence our election.

What you asked me about now is, why did I say what I said when people ask me whether I thought it was possible that the Russians had derogatory information on President Trump. I think it’s unlikely, but I think it’s possible.

TAPPER: But isn’t that construct unfair to President Trump in a way? Because the question was, if President Trump was compromised by the Russians, you say it’s possible. I don’t think it’s likely, but it’s possible.

I mean, it’s possible there’s life on other planets, we don’t know. For you – somebody like you with your reputation, saying it’s possible. Isn’t – I mean, it’s also possible that it’s not true. Isn’t that another way you could look at the same question?

COMEY: Sure, but I’m not looking to the stars saying, there might be green men out there. There’s a reason I say it’s possible. Two things struck me. One, the President’s constantly bringing it up with me to deny it. And in my experience as an investigator, it’s not an ironclad rule, but it’s a striking thing when someone constantly brings up something to deny that you didn’t ask about it.

And then, second, I’ve always been struck in my encounters with him that he wouldn’t criticize Vladimir Putin, even in private, which struck me as odd. Now, those aren’t definitive, those aren’t conclusive facts, but I’m not – the reason I’m saying it’s possible is, there are things that lead my common sense to believe that it’s possible.

TAPPER: But isn’t that, kind of, cute. I mean, you don’t – you’re not saying that you have evidence of it. You’re just saying it’s possible. I mean, do you have evidence that there’s – that President Trump has been compromised by the Russians? Have you seen evidence of it?

COMEY: No, and I think I’ve said that throughout. I’m trying to be transparent as…

TAPPER: Yes.

COMEY: … Here’s my reasoning. Here’s why an honest answer has to be it’s possible. Now, I’m not saying it’s likely, in fact, I’ve said all along and I’m repeating it to you here, today. It’s unlikely, in my view, but it’s possible.


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