FBI Director James Comey was reportedly prepared to write an op-ed over the summer about information on Russia’s influence in the U.S. presidential election, but Obama administration officials blocked him from writing the piece.
Newsweek, citing two unnamed sources, reported Wednesday that Comey pitched the idea in the White House’s situation room sometime between June and July.
The source told the magazine there was a draft of the proposed op-ed. Comey reportedly “held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward, what do people think of this?'” He made the pitch in front of Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the report said.
Comey would likely have pitched the op-ed to The New York Times.
The question of collusion between Russian interests and Trump’s campaign continues, despite repeated assertions by the president’s spokesman that no link exists and no evidence emerging to show complicity
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer dismissed inquiries about the matter Tuesday, saying “every single person who’s been briefed on this, as I’ve said ad nauseam from this podium … have been very clear that there is no connection between the president or the staff here and anyone doing anything with Russia.”
Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee announced Wednesday they are expanding their investigation of Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential campaign and beyond, vowing to remain independent and “get to the bottom of this” – amid mounting controversy over a similar probe on the House side.
The senators announced they are now scheduling interviews and reviewing thousands of sensitive documents, and are prepared to issue subpoenas if necessary.
Michael Flynn was fired as national security adviser after it emerged he lied about pre-inauguration contacts with a Russian official. As for “staff here” being in the clear, as Spicer put it, they have neither been identified as targets of the investigations nor ruled out.
A close adviser to Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, has agreed to talk to lawmakers about the Russia allegations. Other Trump associates have volunteered to be interviewed by the House and Senate intelligence committees as well.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.