11:44 GMT14 May 2021
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    Former European Union consultant Paolo von Schirach claims that Vladimir Putin’s offer of political asylum to ex-FBI Director James Comey revealed how complicated Comey’s testimony about President Donald Trump had become.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — President Vladimir Putin’s offer of political asylum to ex-Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey revealed how complicated Comey’s testimony about President Donald Trump had become, former European Union consultant Paolo von Schirach told Sputnik.

    "The story acquired a new flavor when President Putin pointed out that it was strange when the head of an intelligence service [Comey] makes a record of his conversation with the commander-in-chief and then leaks this conversation to the media via a friend," Schirach said on Thursday.

    Putin made the comments in his nationally televised press conference earlier on Thursday, saying he would be ready to offer Comey asylum in Russia just as he has done with whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    "This complex Comey-Trump story is high drama — or comedy — depending on your perspective," Schirach, president of the Global Policy Institute and Professor of Economics and International Affairs at BAU International University, stated.

    Trump fired Comey as FBI director on May 9 and who testified about his private conversations with the US president last week before the US Senate Intelligence Committee.

    However, "The Comey’s testimony does not add critical new facts to the Trump, Flynn, Russia hyper-publicized story," Schirach also said. "We already knew that Trump had tried to exercise some pressure on then FBI Director Comey so that he would go easy on former National Security Adviser Flynn."

    On the face of it, Trump's behavior looked bad but probably was not criminal, Schirach acknowledged.

    "In order to have a credible ‘obstruction of justice’ criminal charge, prosecutors would have to prove ‘corrupt intent’ on the part of the president. And this is difficult, lacking additional evidence," he explained.

    The Comey matter appeared scandalous mostly to Washington insiders who have a personal grasp on how government should work, Schirach advised.

    "However, unless more comes out later, none of this looks like ‘criminal behavior,’" he said.

    The Comey story was being used by the mostly US liberal media as additional evidence that Trump was a bad president, Schirach noted.

    "But it is not going to make matters much worse for President Trump, since Comey did not come up with any new sensational revelations," he stated.

    Trump still appeared to enjoy the strong support of the political base that elected him in November 2016 and Comey’s testimony had not shaken it, Schirach pointed out.

    "Here is the bottom line: Almost all Republicans are still with Trump. All Democrats are against him… The Comey testimony does not sink Trump nor does it help him," he said.

    Trump still needed to be able to put the Comey affair behind him, but he also faced an independent probe led by another former FBI director, Robert Mueller that may go on for months, possibly even years, Schirach concluded.


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    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Donald Trump, James Comey, Russia, US
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