FBI

In ordinary times, New York-based Vornado Realty Trust would be a natural candidate to take on a major construction project such as the long-awaited rebuilding of FBI headquarters.

As with so much about the Trump era, however, the ordinary rules don't apply.

A commercial real estate firm, Vornado is widely reported to be a finalist to build a new campus for the FBI somewhere in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. But its financial ties to President Trump are raising concerns about conflicts of interest.

Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET on June 15

President Trump dismissed a potential obstruction of justice investigation into his conduct, calling allegations of collusion between him, his campaign or people associated with him and Russia a "phony story."

Of course, it's possible to obstruct justice without colluding.

President Trump has broken the silence he maintained during former FBI Director James Comey's testimony Thursday, saying on Twitter that he was vindicated in the hearing that explored Russian meddling in the U.S. election, its ties to Trump's security adviser, and Trump's dealings with Comey.

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" the president tweeted early Friday morning.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

Former FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he believed he was fired by President Trump over the growing Russia investigation and that other arguments by the White House were "lies, plain and simple."

YURI GRIPAS / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

 

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

Updated at 12:14 p.m. ET

President Trump says he has chosen Christopher Wray, a former Justice Department official during President George W. Bush's administration, to head the FBI. Wray now works on white collar crime at an international law firm.

The president named his pick via Twitter, writing Wednesday morning, "I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow."

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein knew President Trump planned to fire FBI Director Jim Comey before he sat down to write a memo criticizing Comey's conduct.

That's according to several United States senators who met with Rosenstein Thursday afternoon in a secure room in the Capitol basement.

"He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to writing his memo," Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill told reporters after the briefing.

Updated at 7:45 p.m. ET

Undermining the prior rationale laid out by the White House, President Trump said he decided to fire James Comey as FBI director without regard to the Justice Department's recommendation.

"It was set up a while ago," Trump admitted to NBC's Lester Holt in his widest-ranging remarks about his firing of Comey. "And frankly, I could have waited, but what difference does it make?"

He added, "Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey."

Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET

The absence of former FBI Director James Comey loomed large over the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing with top U.S. intelligence leaders, but his temporary replacement, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, assured lawmakers he would not bend to pressure from the White House.

"You cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution," McCabe said.

Updated at 11:00 p.m. ET

For months, Democrats in Congress have criticized and questioned FBI Director James Comey about his handling of last year's investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

Still, they've met President Trump's surprising Tuesday evening decision to fire Comey with near-universal outrage.

Updated at 9:22 p.m. ET

The president has fired FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and possible ties to the Trump campaign and top aides.

The White House is admitting that it discussed with the FBI media reports that Trump campaign officials were in contact with Russian intelligence agents and that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI to publicly knock down the story.

FBI Director James Comey refused.

Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET

Following up on his letter that set off a firestorm of speculation just two weeks before U.S. voters head to the polls to choose a new president, FBI Director James Comey says the investigative team that analyzed a new trove of emails that were either to or from Hillary Clinton has finished its work — and that the review doesn't change the findings he put forth in July, when he said no charges will be pursued against Clinton.

A week ago, Hillary Clinton was looking to run up the score against Donald Trump. Her campaign was running ads in Texas and planning a trip to the traditionally red state of Arizona.

Today, she heads out on that trip, but in a presidential election that has now seen a tightened race from where it was a week and a half ago.

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