Former FBI Director James Comey said in an interview that aired Sunday that he predicts prosecutors are facing “intense pressure” to come up with a charging decision with regard to former President Donald Trump before he can possibly become the GOP nominee for president in 2024.
Comey, who was abruptly fired by Trump in 2017 while leading the FBI investigation into whether Trump and his allies colluded with Russian in the 2016 election, recently sat down with President Joe Biden’s former White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, for an interview that aired Sunday on Psaki’s MSNBC show.
Of the legal battles Trump is facing, which include an indictment from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and an ongoing probe by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Comey said the federal case involving the classified documents found during the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in August 2022 seems to be the strongest. Last week, it was reported that Special Counsel Jack Smith obtained a recording of Trump from July 2021 during a meeting at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in which Trump discussed the documents taken from the White House.
“Tapes are amazing for a prosecutor because you can’t cross-examine a tape, you can’t call a tape a liar, a deep-state operative,” Comey told Psaki. “A tape is you saying what you think, which is why they’re so valuable in an organized-crime case, and they’ll be so valuable and important to Jack Smith in this documents case. I don’t know where this case will end up, but it makes it immeasurably stronger to have the subject of the investigation saying in a way that can’t be impeached – no pun intended with Trump – can’t be criticized and undermined because it’s coming from his own mouth. That’s why I once said, ‘Lordy, I hope there are tapes.’ And Lordy, it’s a good thing there are tapes.”
Comey added that it would be “concerning to a prosecutor leading an investigation and to the FBI” that these probes are playing out so close to a presidential election.
“Despite history, we desperately don’t want to be involved in election-time investigations and near them, so they are feeling something else that won’t be talked about publicly. I just know the system; they’re feeling intense pressure to move, to move, to move, so they’re not in the position of making a charging decision next year when Donald Trump may be the nominee,” Comey said. “So, I think they are likely working very, very hard in trying to get ahead of even the normal pace of what an investigation might be.”
“I mean it’s this crazy world that Donald Trump has dragged this country into, but he could be wearing an ankle bracelet while accepting the nomination at the Republican Convention,” he continued. “And it seems even crazy to be coming out of my mouth, but that’s the situation we face. It looks like the Republicans will likely nominate someone who is under serious criminal investigation, he’s indicted, and who knows where that’s going to lead us.”
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