Republican Sen. Susan Collins thinks there is a simple explanation for why President Trump sought a one-on-one meeting with former FBI Director James Comey.
He probably didn’t know better.
While the Maine senator thought some of the president’s actions involving Comey were “wrong,” she cut him some slack on his repeated attempts to meet with the fired FBI chief alone, citing the time in January when Comey pulled Trump aside to discuss a dossier of personal and salacious accusations against the new president.
“I wonder if perhaps that made the President think that whenever there is some conversation to be had with the FBI director that it should be one-on-one because he had two subsequent one-on-one meetings as well as other phone calls with the FBI director,” Collins said on CNN’s “New Day” Friday.
“That doesn’t make it right, but ironically perhaps the FBI’s actions in that first meeting sent a signal to the President that this is how their interactions should take place,” she added.
In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, Comey claimed Trump had privately asked him to drop the FBI investigation into former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, a claim the president has denied.
“This reflects the fact that this is the first President in our history who has had neither a military nor a political background, and I think he just does not fully understand or appreciate the boundaries and that it is totally wrong — I’ll go beyond inappropriate,” Collins told host Chris Cuomo.
“It is wrong for the President of the United States to tell or imply to an FBI director that an investigation should not go forward,” she said,
Fellow Republican Senator and House Speaker Paul Ryan seemed to hold the same theory as Collins on Trump’s actions.
“He’s new to government. So he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses,” Ryan said Thursday.
“I’m not saying it’s an acceptable excuse. It’s just my observation,” he responded to further questions from CNN. “He’s new at government, and so, therefore, I think that he — he is learning as he goes.”
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