The Slatest

Here’s What We Hope Interviewers Will Ask Jim Comey This Week

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 8, 2017.
Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 8, 2017. Saul Loeb/Getty Images

ABC News released a preview clip on Friday of George Stephanopoulos’ interview with James Comey in which the former FBI director said it was “possible” that Donald Trump was with prostitutes who peed on each other during a 2013 Moscow trip.

That interview, which reportedly lasted five hours, is set to air on Sunday on a special edition of 20/20.

If it’s true that Comey answered “every question” in that interview, as Axios reported earlier this week, then that might not be the only revelation to emerge.


Comey already revealed a great deal about the inner workings of the Trump administration and the circumstances of his firing during his congressional testimony last summer, but a lot of important questions about those topics and the Russia investigation that he might be able to shed some light on remain unanswered.


Here’s a brief rundown of some of the topics we’d want Comey to clarify during his upcoming publicity tour, starting with that 20/20 interview.

Does he have any better sense of what “that thing” between him and Trump might have been?

During his congressional testimony, Comey described Trump as having said to him: “I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” At the time, Comey didn’t know what “that thing” meant. Does he have a better guess now?


What were his conversations with FBI investigator Peter Strzok like?

Strzok, who was re-assigned from the Russia investigation last summer after Special Counsel Robert Mueller became aware of text messages that were critical of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, co-wrote Comey’s letter that reopened the Clinton investigation in October 2016. To what degree did Comey know about Strzok’s political opinions?


How many memos memorializing his conversations with Trump did he give to his friend Daniel Richman, were any of them marked classified, and did he include any classified information on them?

Fox News reported that four memos were given to Richman, which was the basis for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s allegation that at least one memo with classified information was leaked to the press by Comey via Richman.


What was his legal rationale for revealing the memos?

Comey has said that he felt the memos were “my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president” and that he had a duty “as a private citizen” to get the information out to the public. What was might have been his legal basis for believing those were personal rather than government documents?

What precisely did he say to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch when she instructed him to publicly call the Clinton email probe a “matter” and not an “investigation.” Also, did he have any evidence that this proved her bias in the case?

Comey says he asked Lynch “why would I do that” when she instructed him to call the probe a “matter.” Lynch says “concerns were not raised” about the issue when it was discussed. What precisely did he tell her? These conversations formed Comey’s public rationale for the controversial, potentially election-swinging decision to handle the Clinton investigation the way that he did.


As a former top prosecutor, what is his current opinion on whether or not the president committed the federal crime of obstruction of justice?

During his congressional testimony, Comey said it’s “Bob Mueller’s job to sort that out.” Does he have an opinion now, though?

How does he think the White House has “defamed” him?

In Comey’s congressional testimony, he said “the administration … chose to defame me.” To what was he referring?

Does he still think it was the right decision to deal with the Clinton email probe as he did?

During his testimony, Comey said of his Clinton investigation decisions: “[G]iven what I knew at the time and even what I’ve learned since, I think it was the best way to try to protect the justice institution.” Does he still feel that way?


What specifically was wrong about the Feb. 14, 2017 New York Times report claiming that Trump officials were being investigated for discussions with Russians?

During his testimony, Comey said of the report “In the main, it was not true.” The Times stood by their reporting after issuing a single substantive correction. What, specifically, was not true?

Can he publicly confirm any Steele Dossier criminal allegations, what Michael Flynn’s role was in Comey’s collusion probe, whether he knew of information that he believed could be used to blackmail members of the administration, any additional factors that led him to view Lynch’s independence on the Clinton investigation as compromised, whether he thinks collusion occurred between the Trump campaign and Russia, how he knew Attorney General Jeff Sessions was going to recuse himself from that investigation, and what he knows about the Russian bank VEB?*

During the testimony, he refused to answer questions on this topics “in an open setting.” Has that stance changed?

Correction, April 15, 2018: This post originally misspelled the Steele dossier as the Steel dossier.