Former FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that it is possible the Russians have leverage over President Donald Trump.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Comey at a town hall in Washington, “Do you think the Russians have leverage over President Trump?”
“I don’t know the answer to that,” Comey responded.
“Think it’s possible?” Cooper asked.
“Yes,” Comey responded, without hesitation.
Comey was speaking at a town hall two years after Trump had fired him, citing Comey’s handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The former FBI director’s comments come amid a looming constitutional battle between Trump and congressional Democrats over special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller’s report found that no member of the Trump campaign had criminally conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.
However, the special counsel did detail multiple contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians, and Mueller wrote that the campaign did expect to benefit from Russia’s actions surrounding the 2016 presidential election. But no campaign officials took criminal steps to help, Mueller wrote.
In an interview last year, Comey said there was one specific incident he had discussed with the President regarding a videotape of Trump in Russia that was part of a dossier of information circulated before the 2016 election.
“Honestly, I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current President of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” Comey said to ABC News. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
Mueller wrote in his report that he could not clear Trump of obstruction of justice. His report cites numerous cases where the President had asked his aides to take actions that would have obstructed his probe, but the aides refused Trump’s orders.
The FBI’s justification in opening the obstruction of justice case went beyond Trump’s firing of Comey, CNN previously reported, and included the President’s conversation with Comey in the Oval Office asking him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Comey has been a frequent critic of the President, and said at a previous CNN town hall, “I don’t believe (Trump) is morally fit to be President of the United States.”