james comey

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The deputy attorney general strode onto the stage last week in a seventh-floor conference room at the Justice Department to announce criminal charges against two Chinese men who used the Internet to sell deadly synthetic drugs.

"These cases reflect a new and disturbing facet of the opioid crisis in America," Rod Rosenstein, the second-in-command at Justice, told reporters who gathered for what was billed as a major development in the fentanyl epidemic that's afflicting the nation.

Updated at 2:57 p.m. ET

The question remains "open" as to whether any Americans colluded with the Russian influencemongers who interfered with the 2016 presidential election, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday.

Chris Wray has been working as the new FBI director since he was confirmed by the Senate in August. Wray was picked by President Trump to succeed James Comey, whom Trump fired in May.

The decision to fire Comey led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to take over the bureau's investigation into Russian interference in last year's elections and possible collusion between top aides to the Trump campaign and Russia.

President Trump says if he had known ahead of time that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, he would have chosen someone else for the post, calling the move "very unfair."

In an interview with The New York Times, he also accused James Comey, the FBI director that he fired in May, of trying to save his job by leveraging a dossier of compromising material on Trump.

Updated at 3:56 p.m. ET

Christopher Wray, President Trump's nominee to lead the FBI, stressed his independence Wednesday, saying that his loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law and vowing he would "never allow the FBI's work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period."

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Christopher Wray, President Trump’s nominee for FBI Director, faces the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for his confirmation hearing. Wray would replace James Comey, whom Trump fired in May. 

If Senate Republicans get their way, former Justice Department lawyer Christopher Wray will soon become the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, recently told reporters he hopes the nomination will "not languish" and said it's his plan to get Wray confirmed before the August congressional recess.

But before any votes take place, Wray will have to face a series of questions about his background — and his backbone.

1. Will you be loyal to the justice system or to the president?

On yet another day when President Trump's tweets are dominating the news, the top Republican and Democrat leading the House Intelligence Committee's Russia probe said his tweets aren't quite enough for them.

Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET

President Trump issued an eyebrow-raising tweet Friday morning.

"I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt," he wrote.

Trump's tweet comes less than a day after a strange statement from a senior official in his administration.

"What's the difference between the FBI director and Mr. Snowden?" Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Thursday during his yearly live call-in show, saying that he would offer political asylum to fired FBI head James Comey in the same way Russia has sheltered former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET on June 15

President Trump dismissed a potential obstruction of justice investigation into his conduct, calling allegations of collusion between him, his campaign or people associated with him and Russia a "phony story."

Of course, it's possible to obstruct justice without colluding.

Jeff Sessions did exactly what he needed to do Tuesday — help himself in the eyes of his boss, President Trump, and, in turn, help Trump.

The attorney general, an early Trump supporter, revealed little in the congressional hearing about the ongoing Russia saga or Trump's role in possibly trying to quash the investigation looking into it.

Using vague legal justification, Sessions shut down potentially important lines of investigative questioning — and that may be exactly how the White House wants it.

The nation's top legal officer is set to go before Congress on Tuesday to try to defuse a bomb that the former FBI director dropped into his lap.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee less than one week after James Comey told the committee he could not discuss openly certain information about Sessions' recusal from the investigation into Russia's election meddling last year.

On this episode, we discussed how thousands of Georgians were dropped from food stamp benefits this year – roughly 62 percent of the state’s recipients. The state told them they had an April 1 deadline to find a job, or lose their benefits. Melissa Johnson, Senior Policy Analyst for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute; and Craig Schneider, reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, joined us for that conversation.

 

LAWRENCE JACKSON / AP Photo

President Trump announced in a tweet he has tapped Atlanta Attorney Chris Wray to be the new FBI Director. Wray was the assistant attorney general leading the Justice Department's criminal division, from 2003 to 2005. The news came just a day before former FBI Director James Comey was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Architect of the Capitol

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee at 2:30 p.m. ET today, as the investigation continues into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, it will be in a hearing that is open to the public. A Justice Department spokeswoman tells NPR that Sessions requested it be public.

The hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

All we want are the facts, ma'am.

During his congressional testimony Thursday, James Comey played his best Sgt. Joe Friday, the protagonist of the 1950s Dragnet TV series known for that signature line.

Asked whether he thought President Trump obstructed justice, Comey, the fired FBI director, declined to give his opinion.

"I don't know," Comey said. "That — that's Bob Mueller's job to sort that out."

John Bazemore / AP Photo

Today on “Political Rewind,” we have another busy lineup with the 6th District election looming and another debate to break down! Jon Ossoff is making news for the amount of fundraising he's done. Plus, we dive into the latest polling numbers.

President Trump said Friday he would be willing to testify under oath about his interactions with former FBI Director James Comey, whom he fired in May.

The president said Comey's testimony on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee mostly vindicated his previous claims about their interactions.

President Trump has broken the silence he maintained during former FBI Director James Comey's testimony Thursday, saying on Twitter that he was vindicated in the hearing that explored Russian meddling in the U.S. election, its ties to Trump's security adviser, and Trump's dealings with Comey.

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" the president tweeted early Friday morning.

Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET

Ordinary people often get into legal trouble in response to desperate circumstances. Politicians, however, seem to make the worst trouble for themselves when they are riding high and carrying all before them.

Thus the most famous political scandals of U.S. history have happened not when presidents or members of Congress had their backs to the wall but when their sails were filled with a favorable wind.

While former FBI director James Comey was testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, several hundred attendees from across the country listened to President Trump share the administration's religious agenda. The luncheon headlined by Trump was the kick-off event of the Faith and Freedom Coalition's 2017 Road to Majority gathering taking place in Washington, D.C., over three days.

Updated at 7:28 p.m. ET

Former FBI director James Comey may have done more damage to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday than even President Trump, whom Comey publicly accused of waving him off part of the Russia investigation.

Comey said he expected Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation weeks before he did because of reasons that are classified. That does not comport with Sessions rationale when he announced his recusal in early March.

Television viewers were confused and concerned when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took his turn to question former FBI Director James Comey Thursday — and McCain has now responded.

Updated at 3:35 p.m ET

President Trump's outside lawyer flatly denied that the president ever asked former FBI Director James Comey for a pledge of loyalty, and he accused Comey of disclosing privileged communications with the president to the news media, without authorization.

PBS NewsHour

President Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz holds a press conference following the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Pages