Trump Unleashes on Media, Comey for ‘Fabricated’ Controversy

President blasts 'witch hunt,' rips reports questioning account of dinner with FBI director

by Margaret Menge | Updated 12 May 2017 at 12:57 PM

CNN just can’t get used to having a president who is, in the words of acclaimed social critic Camille Paglia, “a blunt, no-crap mensch.”

“Trump threatens Comey in new tweet” blared a headline Friday morning on the news organization’s website.

“When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?”

Trump had tweeted early Friday morning: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

The tweet came soon after a report on NBC quoted an unnamed FBI official saying FBI Director James Comey would not have told the president he was not under investigation. “[Comey] tried to stay away from it,” the official is quoted as saying. “He would say, ‘look, sir, I really can’t get into it, and you don’t want me to.'”

In his letter firing Comey, Trump had thanked the FBI director for informing him on three occasions that he was not under investigation.

CNN called Trump's Friday morning tweet "an extraordinary development in the ongoing feud between Trump and the agencies investigating alleged ties between his campaign and Russia."

But there is only one agency that is known to be actively investigating alleged ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia — the FBI.

Other agencies, principally the NSA, conducted a separate investigation into Russian hacking during the 2016 election. Testimony in Congress from former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper has indicated that investigation was completed and a report issued.

The FBI's separate investigation began in July 2016, Comey told the House Intelligence Committee in April.

The investigation has involved surveillance of Carter Page, a former investment banker in Moscow for Merrill Lynch, who was included on a list of Trump campaign foreign policy advisers. Page has said, however, that he never met Trump and never briefed him, and that he never told Russians anything that you don't see on CNN.

Trump has called the allegations of ties between his campaign and Russia "a total hoax."

"Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election," Trump tweeted Friday morning.

He followed that up by tweeting "The Fake Media is working overtime today!" and another in which he toyed with the idea of stopping all White House press briefings.

"Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future 'press briefings' and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy??" Trump tweeted.

No evidence has yet been presented that ties Trump to Russia. The president has said repeatedly that he has no deals with Russia and owns no property there.

Clapper, the former DNI under President Obama, said he had seen no evidence of collusion between Trump associates and the Russians in regards to the hacking, during testimony before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee

"When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?" Trump asked in a tweet Friday morning.

Sen. Charles Grassley, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, appeared to say, in an executive business meeting of the committee on May 11, that the president is not under investigation, and urged the FBI to clarify this:

On Tuesday, the President's letter said that Director Comey told him he was not under investigation. Senator Feinstein and I heard nothing that contradicted the President's statement. Now Mr. Comey is no longer the FBI director. But the FBI should still follow my advice. It should confirm to the public whether it is or is not investigating the President. Because it has failed to make this clear, speculation has run rampant.

The intelligence community said that one of the Russians' goals is to undermine the American public's faith in our democratic institutions. Wild speculation that the FBI is targeting the President in a criminal or intelligence inquiry is not just irresponsible and unfounded. It provides aid and comfort to the Russians and their goal of undermining faith in our democracy.

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  2. trump
  3. briefings
  4. comey
  5. fbi
  6. investigation
  7. margaret-menge
  8. meeting
  9. tapes
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