CUPERTINO — Former FBI director James Comey — whose firing helped immediate particular counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian affect within the 2016 U.S. election — is asking for the conclusions of Mueller’s report back to be made public.
“If there ever was a case for a authentic must know, I can’t think about a extra compelling case than this one,” Comey advised a sold-out crowd at De Anza School on Friday evening, simply hours after Mueller submitted his long-awaited report back to the Division of Justice.
He cautioned that he hadn’t learn the report and “I do know nothing greater than you recognize.” However he stated that if Mueller got here to a conclusion in regards to the culpability of Trump or different figures in his administration a method or one other, “you may have excessive confidence it’s the appropriate conclusion.”
“He doesn’t give a rip for one aspect or the opposite,” Comey stated of Mueller, his former colleague.
The long-planned occasion was a part of Comey’s nationwide tour of paid speeches and e book talks, which has helped convert him into an unlikely icon for critics of President Donald Trump.
A central determine within the ongoing saga of Trump administration investigations, Comey was dismissed by the president in Could 2017, sparking criticism from Democrats that Trump was attempting to scuttle investigations into Russian collusion. The next week, Mueller was appointed as particular counsel to research attainable coordination between Trump’s presidential marketing campaign and the Russian authorities.
One yr, 10 months and 5 days later, Mueller’s report is completed and is being evaluated by Justice Division officers. It’s anticipated to be shared with congressional leaders as quickly as this weekend, and leaders from throughout the political spectrum have known as for at the very least its top-level conclusions to be made public — together with Trump himself. “We ought to carry him to that,” Comey stated.
In dialogue with South Bay Assemblyman Evan Low, Comey regaled the group of greater than 2,000 folks with tales starting from his “nightmare choice” about whether or not to publicize the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails earlier than the 2016 election to the dramatic day he was fired — a improvement he discovered about by seeing the information on tv.
“I actually was caught unexpectedly, and felt like I used to be pushed off a bullet practice and the practice was gone,” Comey stated.
The previous FBI director argued that Democrats ought to nominate a extra centrist candidate to tackle Trump within the 2020 election as an alternative of being pulled too far to the left. He additionally stated he hoped Trump was defeated on the poll field as an alternative of being impeached by Congress, which he prompt can be divisive for the nation.
Comey reserved a few of his harshest phrases for Republican elected officers defending the president, who he described as extra fascinated with maintaining their jobs than defending their nation.
“These of us ready to talk should communicate now as a result of silence is complicity,” he stated. “There’s a hazard that all of us have turn into numb to one thing that’s terribly harmful to us.”
Whereas Comey fielded loads of viewers questions on his fateful choice to ship congressional leaders a letter revealing the FBI had reopened its investigation of Clinton’s emails only a week earlier than the 2016 election, the group was largely pleasant. Attendees stated his discuss had solely whetted their urge for food to learn the Mueller report — or no matter a part of it will get publicly launched.
“I can’t wait!” exclaimed Betty Menor, a retiree from Mountain View. She stated she believed Comey had made a “horrible mistake” throughout the 2016 election, however concluded that he had redeemed himself by talking out in opposition to Trump.
“I’m glad he didn’t keep silent,” she stated. “I’m glad he advised his aspect of the story.”
Not the entire dialogue was in regards to the weighty matters of federal investigations and high-stakes reviews. Comey mentioned intimately the awkward assembly between him after which President-elect Trump the place he knowledgeable the true property magnate about an unverified file claiming Trump had been caught on video cavorting with prostitutes at a Moscow resort.
“I’ve seen numerous darkish and peculiar stuff, however that is up close to the highest of the record when it comes to odd assignments,” Comey stated. “It felt dream-like, that I used to be wanting down at myself — like, what are you doing, how did you find yourself right here?”
And Low, noting Comey was educated to make astute observations as a federal agent, requested him whether or not he thought Trump’s signature mane of hair was actual.
“I feel so,” Comey responded to hoots of laughter. “It’s fairly spectacular in its structure.”