The long-standing inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is being conducted by Robert Mueller, who was appointed by the United States President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, the former FBI Director James Comey said that he thinks Mueller may be in the “fourth quarter” of Russia probe.
In an interview with St. Louis Public Radio, Comey pointed out to the plea deal of the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Friday, and said that there’s “an argument to be made that the conviction — the plea and cooperation by Paul Manafort — may represent that we’re in the fourth quarter.”
“The way you normally do investigations is you work from the bottom up, and so they’re getting pretty high,” he said.
“The reason I’m hesitant to even say that is [because] Bob Mueller’s conducted his investigation like a pro — you know nothing about it except through his public filings, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. And so I can’t say with certainty where he is, ”Comey added.
Comey had lead the investigations of FBI to find link between the Trump campaign of 2016 and the Kremlin for 10 months, when he was fired by the President in May 2017, and Mueller was appointed for Russia probe.
During an interview the President said of Comey, “I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries. I should have fired him right after the convention. Say, ‘I don’t want that guy.’ Or at least fired him the first day on the job.”
Besides, Trump has also relentlessly attacked the Special Counsel Investigations as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt”. He has even threatened to shut it down himself. He also criticized the overall Department of Justice, and called for an investigation into what he claims is bias against him. However, he has gone after Comey personally.
Reciprocating to the criticism from the president, Comey during his interview condemned the attacks of Trump on “the rule of law and the institutions of justice.”
He said, “I think we’re in two different places.We’re in a place where the president of the United States relentlessly attacks the rule of law and the institutions of justice, so that’s terrible.
But the second place that we’re in is that Americans have awakened to the importance of the rule of law and the danger of its erosion, and that’s a very, very important sort of antibody response. And it’s a source for optimism.”
Between all the criticisms and blame games, the US President seems to have lost track of the progress in the Russia probe. So far, no charges to substantiate the meddling. Yet, Comey remarked that he believes the inquiry had been ‘incredibly productive’.
He said, “In just over a year, it’s produced all kinds of charges and convictions.”
Was Comey trying to mock Mueller and the slow progress of Russia probe, despite being in the final phase of investigations, through his statement?