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Vladimir Putin Says James Comey Is Welcome To Seek Asylum In Russia

As President Donald Trump and his administration continue to deny links to coercive elements within the Russian Government, Russian President Vladimir Putin has added fuel to the fire after offering James Comey political asylum in Russia if he is prosecuted by the Trump Administration.

Mr. Comey, the former director of the FBI, remains a key figure in the ongoing probe into Russian election interference and Russian ties with the Trump Administration. In a highly politicized statement, President Putin wryly declared that “If this entails some kind of prosecution against him, we are ready to grant him asylum in Russia…He should be aware of that.”

President Trump’s controversial decision to fire Director Comey has triggered intense political, legal and social debate, with the president defending his decision by citing Mr. Comey’s mishandling of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation. However, conflicting reports about Mr. Comey’s dismissal continue to surface from within the Trump Administration and Justice Department, emphasizing that Director Comey was fired for different reasons, including Mr. Comey’s ‘poor’ leadership of the FBI, his negative comments about President Trump during a Senate Judiciary Committee and his commitment to the ongoing FBI investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

There remains ongoing discussion within Congress about Mr. Comey’s firing, with some representatives suggesting that the timing of President Trump’s decision to fire Director Comey could be a sign of obstruction of justice. Congressmen and congresswomen have also expressed their concern after Mr. Comey testified that President Trump pressured him to end the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who was fired for lying about his ties with Russian officials.

President Putin’s startling offer to Mr. Comey was made during an annual Q&A program in Russia, and his comments were dissected and reported by journalists from Russia Today, a state-owned news network. The Russian President, who has tense relations with President Trump, discussed Mr. Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee and, in particular, the revelation that Mr. Comey had leaked an unclassified and contemporaneous account of his meetings with President Trump.

The Trump Administration jumped upon Mr. Comey’s decision to give his personal memos to Daniel Richman, a friend and professor of law at Colombia University, emphasizing that it was evidence that Mr. Comey lacked the credibility and integrity to be the director of the FBI. During the Q&A program, President Putin spoke about Mr. Comey’s controversial memos, comparing him with the infamous NSA whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, saying: “This is strange. How then is the director of the FBI any different from Snowden? He is not a head of the special services, but a human rights activist.”

President Trump has continued to attack the former director, accusing him of being a “leaker” and the president’s personal lawyer has declared that he would be filing a legal complaint against Mr. Comey. However, legal experts have warned that any argument against Mr. Comey would not end well for President Trump as Mr. Comey has disclosed non-classified material, saying that: “the release of his memos does not legally represent a ‘leak’.”

Despite offering Mr. Comey asylum in Russia, President Putin also spoke negatively about the former FBI Director, criticizing him for his previous accusations of Russian election tampering, saying: “The first thing that attracted my attention was that the ex-FBI director said that he believes that there was Russian meddling in the electoral process, but at the same time provided no proof of that.”

Source: The Hill
Photo: YouTube

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