Senate Intel committee ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) told MSNBC Friday that former FBI Director James Comey will not be appearing before the committee next Tuesday, despite an invitation to speak with the committee behind closed doors.
That’s after a day of intrigue following President Trump taunting Comey over the prospect of “tapes” from their conversations before the firing.
“He can’t look eager to shiv his old boss, can he?” tweeted my pal Karl, speculating about Comey’s motives. That’s probably right. With Trump immolating himself over this in interviews and on Twitter, replete with threats and insults, Comey’s better off getting out of Trump’s way and letting him continue to make trouble for himself. The narrative that’s being set up here for him by Trump’s critics is that he’s a flawed but well-meaning lawman who did his duty with the Russia probe and was punished for it by a lawless, vindictive president. If Comey goes up to the Hill and tears Trump up in front of the Intelligence Committee, he loses some of that perception that he’s above the fray, concerned only with duty. And if he cares as much about the FBI’s reputation as his allies claim, he must realize that ripping the president to a bunch of congressmen a week after he was fired won’t reflect well on a Bureau that’s already taken heavy flak for politicization.
Or maybe the guy’s just tired of media heat and wants to let it cool down before he says something else in public:
Source w/firsthand knowledge tells me Comey turned down Senate invite to testify b/c "wants to lay low for a while & take some time off"
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) May 12, 2017
Worst-case scenario: The Committee subpoenas him and he goes to the Hill as the reluctant truthteller, forced to speak out against President Trump even though he was willing to stay home and not say a word. And if they don’t subpoena him, no worries. Comey himself is probably the source in at least half the stories this week citing a “source close to Comey” for his thinking. He has ways of getting his opinions out.
Speaking of which, a … source close to Comey told Jake Tapper that Trump did ask him to pledge his loyalty at a dinner in January and that Comey was “taken aback” by it. Jeanine Pirro asked Trump if that’s true in an interview set to Saturday. Nope, said Trump — although he thought it wouldn’t be a bad question to ask and wouldn’t be inappropriate:
Trump, after appearing to threaten the FBI director he just fired with a possible secret WH recording, now says he won't talk about it pic.twitter.com/qJnVJSqFdw
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 12, 2017
Here’s Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith aghast at the idea that Trump not only might have recorded his chat with Comey but would want to advertise that fact. If he’s lost Fox News…