- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 5, 2018

Fired FBI Director James Comey has repeatedly denied during his book tour that he ever testified that FBI agents concluded that retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn didn’t intentionally mislead them.

That adamant assertion came into question Friday night when the Republican majority on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released portions of Mr. Comey’s closed-door testimony. The section had been classified when the panel’s Russia report was first released last month.

In the now-declassified pages, Mr. Comey is quoted verbatim as saying agents, in fact, assessed Mr. Flynn as not being deceptive. Agents questioned him about his phone calls during the presidential transition with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Mr. Comey testified, “The agents …. discerned no physical indications of deception. They didn’t see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them.”

Former FBI Director Andrew McCabe also told the House committee that agents “didn’t detect deception in the statements that he made in the interview …. the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn’t think he was lying.”

Mr. Comey’s closed-door House sworn testimony stands in contrast to his interview answers as he promotes his best-selling memoir, “A Higher Loyalty.”

Here is what he told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos:

Stephanopoulos: There’s been some reporting that at one point you told the Congress that the agents who interviewed Mike Flynn didn’t believe that he had lied.

Comey: Yeah, I saw that. And that — I don’t know where that’s coming from. That — unless I’m, I, I said something that people misunderstood, I don’t remember even intending to say that. So my recollection is I never said that to anybody.

Mr. Comey gave the same denial to Fox News’ Bret Baier:

Baier: Did you tell lawmakers that FBI agents didn’t believe former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was lying intentionally to investigators.

Comey: No.

Baier: You did not—

Comey: And I saw that in the media. I don’t know what — someone misunderstood something I said. I didn’t believe that and didn’t say that.”

Mr. Comey’s truthfulness has taken on growing importance in Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation which includes whether President Trump obstructed justice.

Mr. Comey wrote what he says were contemporaneous memos of his meetings with Mr. Trump. He wrote that the president asked him of the Flynn investigation to “let it go.”

If Mr. Trump agrees to an interview with the special counsel he will assuredly be asked about that alleged request. Mr. Trump has denied saying it, thus making it a case of his word against Mr. Comey, with Mr. Mueller, a Comey friend, as the referee.

Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s new lead defense attorney, hit the cable-news circuit calling Mr. Comey a “disgraceful liar” who should be indicted.

Appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Mr. Giuliani compared the FBI to “stormtroopers” for its raid on the home and office of Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

Mr. Comey tweeted, “I know the New York FBI. There are no ‘stormtroopers’ there; just a group of people devoted to the rule of law and the truth. Our country would be better off if our leaders tried to be like them, rather than comparing them to Nazis.”

The ex-director has dismissed the House Intelligence report as a “political document.”

Led by Chairman Devin Nunes, California Republican, the panel has uncovered what it considers to be a number of FBI abuses under Mr. Comey’s watch, including its embrace of the Democrat Party-financed Christopher Steele dossier.

Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey in May 2017.

Mr. Comey has acknowledged he leaked portions of his memo contents to the New York Times, via a middleman law professor, friend and FBI employee, with the goal of convincing the Justice Department to name a special prosecutor.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein complied and named Mr. Mueller that same month.

In the Flynn case, the FBI interviewed him at the White House in his first days as national security adviser.

He was caught in a wire tap of Mr. Kislyak in December 2016 phone calls discussing the issues of anti-Russian sanctions and an upcoming United Nationals Security Council vote on Israel.

Armed with the top-secret transcript, two FBI agents questioned him about the call. He said he did not remember urging Moscow to hold off a response to Obama-ordered sanctions over Russian election interference. In telling the agents about the U.N. discussion, he left out critical parts.

At the time, the FBI was looking at Mr. Flynn as part of its counter-intelligence investigation into Russia election meddling.

Candidate Trump talked of his desire for better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Flynn ultimately pleaded guilty last December to one count of making false statements and is awaiting sentencing, now twice delayed, as he cooperates with Mr. Mueller.

Mr. Flynn made a campaign appearance in March in California for a Republican candidate for Congress. He praised Mr. Trump and lashed out at liberal dogma.

There has been no public allegation that Mr. Flynn coordinated with Russian officials in any way. The special counsel plea agreement does not mention any conspiracy.

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