It is “inevitable” and “inescapable” that former FBI Director James Comey will testify before Congress regarding his interactions with President Donald Trump and allegations that the president asked the bureau head to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Citing contemporaneously written memos by Comey, the New York Times reported Tuesday evening that Trump told the FBI director during a one-on-one meeting last February that “I hope you can let this go,” in reference to the bureau’s probe into Flynn’s ties to the Russian government.
The White House quickly responded with a statement that such a conversation never occurred, but Rubio (R-Fla.) said the Times report will only fuel calls for Comey to testify before Congress that began last week when he was abruptly fired by Trump, who later said he had done so with the FBI’s Russia investigation weighing on his mind.
“Look, it’s inevitable now and inescapable. I thought he was going to have to do this anyway,” Rubio told Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning. “But given what we read yesterday in the newspaper, Director Comey, or former Director Comey, will have to testify before congress, I imagine before the Judiciary Committee, and he’s going to have to turn over these notes and anything else that he kept, and we’ll go from there.”
Rubio was quick to caution though, that aside from the two men involved in the conversation, “no one knows entirely what happened.” He noted that even the Times reporting, which was quickly matched Tuesday by other media outlets, was sourced to Comey or even directly to his memo, but instead to individuals with knowledge of the memo’s contents.
Rubio said his intention was not to denigrate the media’s reporting on the issue or even to call into question its veracity, only to insist that the unfiltered facts make their way into the public.
More broadly, Rubio said Trump, whose campaign for president was built around his unconventional experience as a businessman and his separation from the “swamp” of Washington politics, would benefit from some increased measure of controls inside his White House.
“Well, look, ultimately I think systems are important and so working out systems internally within the white house, there is a reason why — I mean, you don’t have to be purely conventional but there is a value to convention,” he said. “There’s reasons for these systems and I think if the white house became more systematic in its approach to messaging and scheduling and the like, they would avoid some of the friction that you’re now seeing.”