Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions are the big losers in James Comey’s testimony — here’s why
"James Comey characterized President Donald Trump as untrustworthy and intent on slowing the investigation into his campaign ties to Russia — but Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions also emerged as potential targets. The former FBI director declined to say Thursday in his highly anticipated congressional testimony whether Trump himself was under investigation in the widening probe, but lawmakers’ questions suggested both Pence and Sessions could be. Comey told lawmakers that disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn was in “legal jeopardy” when Trump asked him to back off the FBI investigation of his trusted campaign adviser’s possible ties to Russia. He testified that Trump’s expression of hope that he would halt the investigation seemed to be, in his opinion, a directive — which could provide evidence of intent to obstruct justice. “I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work toward to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that’s an offense,” Comey testified. But other lawmakers questioned him about Pence and, especially, Sessions — who recused himself from overseeing the FBI investigation after his undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador were reported. Pence has repeatedly claimed he was unaware of concerns about Flynn until shortly before he resigned over secret communications with the Russian ambassador — but Comey disputed those assertions. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked whether Pence, who oversaw the presidential transition process, was aware of those concerns before Flynn became national security adviser. “My understanding is that he was,” Comey said. “I’m trying to remember where I get that understanding from. I think from acting attorney general (Sally) Yates.” Yates notified the White House counsel Jan. 27 that the Department of Justice was concerned Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail."