On Friday, President Donald Trump addressed reporters on the South lawn.
The president once again reiterated his claim that the Russia probe is a “rigged witch hunt.” He also levied a series of charges against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who he claimed was “conflicted.”
“James Comey is like his best friend,” Trump said, citing Mueller’s alleged relationship with the former FBI director to undercut the validity of the Russia investigation.
The claim appears to have originated in a June 2017 article on Breitbart.com, citing James Kallstrom, a former FBI director who’s an outspoken Trump supporter and has called the Clinton foundation a “cesspool.” Kallstrom has also told Fox News that there’s a “cabal” to take down President Trump.
Breitbart also cited a 2013 story published in Politico, in which reporter Garrett Graff detailed the parallels between the two men and said both had been “mentored and guided by Eric Holder in the 1990s during Holder’s time in the Justice Department under the Clinton administration.”
A lawyer for James Comey described their relationship to Snopes. “Jim and Bob are friends in the sense that co-workers are friends. They don’t really have a personal relationship. Jim has never been to Bob’s house and Bob has never been to Jim’s house. … ” he said.
“They’ve had lunch together once, dinner together twice, once with their spouses and once after Jim became FBI director so Bob could give him a run-down on what to look out for. [Bob] is not a mentor. He’s friendly, as colleagues are.”
They also spoke to Public Citizen, an ethics organization, which noted that even if the men shared a friendship there’d be no conflict of interest unless they were profiting from the relationship.
“Conflict of interest means there’s some financial or pecuniary benefit that could come one’s way [as a result of an investigation],” they said.
“For example, If I had worked at a business and business has something at stake, that’s a conflict. But just people being friends and knowing each other, that’s not a conflict.”