A longtime friend of James Comey is teasing what could be a bombshell story about the former FBI director and his interactions with President Trump.
Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, posted an ominous message on Twitter on Friday: “TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK.”
The lawyer, who blogs at Lawfare, has posted similar messages in the past just before major stories in the ongoing Trump-Comey saga hit The New York Times.
Wittes wrote on Twitter that the upcoming story could be published later Friday or on Monday. The heads-up comes a day after Trump revealed that he was bluffing last month when he suggested that he had recorded his conversations with Comey.
To be clear, fuse length on this one is uncertain. Could be today. Could be Monday.
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) June 23, 2017
May 16 appears to be his first time Wittes previewed Comey stories.
Hours after Wittes posted the foreboding message that day, The Times published a shocking story: “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him To End Flynn Investigation.”
tick tick tick tick tick tick
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) May 16, 2017
The piece cited a memo that Comey filed just after a Feb. 14 meeting he had with Trump at the White House. In the meeting, Comey claimed that Trump asked him to back off of an investigation into Michael Flynn, the retired lieutenant general who Trump had fired as national security adviser the previous day.
Wittes was not the source of the memo. Columbia law school professor Daniel Richman, another friend of Comey’s, shared the document with The Times after being provided a copy by the former FBI chief.
Richman has since given the memos to the FBI.
Wittes tweeted a series of “ticks” two days later, on May 18. Wittes was an on-the-record source for that article, also written by Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt.
By the twitching of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
tick tick tick tick tick tick tick
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) May 18, 2017
In the piece, Wittes recalled that Comey had told him at a lunch meeting that he sought to distance himself from Trump. Comey felt that Trump was attempting to cozy up to Comey in hopes of quashing the ongoing Russia probe. Wittes has said that while he and Comey discussed how the White House handled the Russia investigation, they did not discuss the particulars of the investigation, which is looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the election. Leaks from Comey’s friends began after Trump fired him on May 9. Comey testified earlier this month that he was angered by Trump’s remarks criticizing his management of the FBI. On June 6, following another “tick” tweet from Wittes, Schmidt and a Times colleague, Matt Apuzzo, published an article entitled “Comey Told Sessions: Don’t Leave Me Alone With Trump.”
Now please don’t read anything into this, but
tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick pic.twitter.com/fc0By0CWqK
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) June 6, 2017
According to that report, a day after Comey’s discussion with Trump about Flynn, Comey asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to leave him alone with Trump in the future. Sessions had been in the room with Trump, Comey and others when Trump requested the one-on-one session with the then-FBI director.
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