House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday he disagrees with President Donald Trump’s stance that former FBI Director James Comey is a “nut job.”
Ryans remarks were in response to a New York Times report that Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office that firing “nut job” Comey relieved the “great pressure because of Russia” he was facing.
“Yeah, I don’t agree with that and he’s not (a nut job)” Ryan told Axios reporter Mike Allen at the Axios News Shapers event.
Ryan later added, “I like Jim Comey.”
Allen asked the house speaker if he was concerned that Comey was reportedly alone with the president when asked if he would drop his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Ryan refused to answer, saying he had no way to verify the accuracy of the reports.
“I don’t know the veracity of these things but that — that’s what we have an investigation. What I’m not going to do is comment on things that are under ongoing review,” Ryan said.
Ryan said he would not play “armchair quarterback” and prejudge an outcome when the federal government has three concurrent investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.
“You’ve got a House Intelligence Committee investigation, a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation and a special counsel run by Bob Mueller who I don’t think anybody has any problems with his credibility,” Ryan said.
“These are independent investigations. They will follow the facts wherever the facts go and we need to let that happen here,” Ryan added. “Let the investigation take its course. Don’t prejudge it and goes wherever it goes.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not refute the Times’ story that Trump views Comey as a “nut job.”
Spicer accused the ousted FBI director of “grandstanding and politicizing” the Russia investigation to such a degree the Trump administration was unable to properly engage with Moscow.
“The president has always emphasized the importance of making deals with Russia as it relates to Syria, Ukraine, defeating ISIS and other key issues for the benefit and safety of the American people,” Spicer told CNN. “By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia.”
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