FBI Director James Comey wanted to write a New York Times op-ed revealing Russia’s campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election back in the summer of 2016 — but then-President Obama stopped it, according to Newsweek.
Citing two sources with knowledge of the matter, Newsweek reported: “Comey pitched the idea of writing an op-ed about the Russian campaign during a meeting in the White House Situation Room in June or July.”
One source told Newsweek: “He had a draft of it or an outline. He held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward.'”
The report continues: “Many in the room didn’t like the idea, and White House officials thought the announcement should be a coordinated message backed by multiple agencies.”
A source told the news organization, “An op-ed doesn’t have the same stature. It comes from one person.”
A second source with knowledge of the request told Newsweek, “The op-ed would not have mentioned whether the FBI was investigating Donald Trump’s campaign workers or others close to him for links to the Russians’ interference in the election… it would have included much of the same information as the bombshell declassified intelligence report released January 6, which said Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to influence the presidential election.”
The U.S. House and Senate have launched individual intelligence committees to explore possible ties between Russian officials and members of President Trump’s campaign team.
On Thursday, Putin condemned allegations of Russia interfering with the U.S. election as “fictional, illusory, provocations and lies.” He made the comments on Thursday, when speaking at a panel session in the Russian city of Archangel, according to CNN.
When asked directly if Russia helped get Donald Trump elected as president, Putin responded: “Read my lips. No.”