WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - A friend of James Comey has suggested the former FBI Director was disturbed by President Donald Trump's repeated efforts to undermine his independence.
Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of the Lawfare blog and a Brookings Institution senior fellow, claims Comey was particularly upset by a hug from Trump at a White House event after the inauguration.
Wittes alleged in a post on Lawfare on Thursday that Comey was 'disgusted' by the hug, which he regarded as an attempt to show closeness and warmth in order to compromise him before Democrats.
'Comey took the long walk across the room determined, he told me, that there was not going to be a hug,' Wittes wrote. 'Bad enough that he was there; bad enough that there would be a handshake; he emphatically did not want any show of warmth.'
'Again, look at the video, and you'll see Comey preemptively reaching out to shake hands. Trump grabs his hand and attempts an embrace,' he added. 'The embrace, however, is entirely one sided.'
Wittes suggests the hug was part of a series of actions by Trump intended absorb Comey into the president's world.
'Trump kept Comey on board only as long as it took him to figure out that there was no way to make Comey part of the team,' Wittes wrote. 'Once he realized that he couldn't do that-and that the Russia matter was thus not going away-he pulled the trigger.'
Trump has recently come under fire for his decision to fire Comey despite an ongoing investigation of possible collusion between the president's campaign and Russia.
Reports also claim Trump asked Comey to drop a federal investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, although the president flatly denied the accusation during a press conference on Thursday.
'While I am not in the habit of discussing with reporters my confidential communications with friends, I decided that the things Comey had told me needed to be made public,' Wittes wrote.
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