Comey Wants To Testify. Publicly.
According to The New York Times, former FBI Director James B. Comey, who was summarily fired by President Trump last week, then declined to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday in closed-door testimony, is actually willing to testify, but wants it to be in public.
Comey’s reported willingness to testify in public would be a direct challenge to Trump, who warned Comey against leaking anything negative about him on Friday, tweeting;
-“James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
Trump’s tweet, which may have been prompted by an article in the Times that reported he had asked Comey to pledge loyalty during a dinner at the White House, stirred up controversy in Washington D.C. as it hinted Trump may have taped the conversation he had with Comey, although Trump later refused to say confirm whether he tapes people who have visited him. Asked by Fox News whether he had taped conversations. Trump answered, “That I can’t talk about. I won’t talk about it. All I want is for Comey to be honest.”
The timeline of events leading up to the report that Comey wants to testify publicly looks like this:
1. Trump fires Comey last Tuesday, indicating that that the firing was triggered by letters from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, and was driven by Comey’s refusal last summer to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her email misconduct. Trump writes of Rosenstein and Sessions that he “accepted their recommendation.” This version of events is corroborated by Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, on Tuesday night and Vice-President Mike Pence on Wednesday. As FBI director, Comey reported to Rosenstein.
2. Reports surface on Thursday that Rosenstein threatens to quit because Trump cited his letter as the reason for firing Comey.