CNN: Comey NOW believes Trump was trying to influence him…

So this was still up in the air, but according to CNN it’s now nailed down.

Former FBI Director James Comey now believes that President Donald Trump was trying to influence his judgment about the Russia probe, a person familiar with his thinking says, but whether that influence amounts to obstruction of justice remains an open question.

“You have to have intent in order to obstruct justice in the criminal sense,” the source said, adding that “intent is hard to prove.”

Comey will testify publicly before the Senate intelligence committee after Memorial Day, the panel’s leaders announced Friday.

The central question at that blockbuster hearing will be whether Comey believed the President was trying to interfere with his investigation.

Notice the “now” and how big it is. This is key. According to his detractors, he had an obligation to report to the DOJ if he believed that anyone was interfering with an investigation. But if he didn’t think that then, and came upon the belief later, or now, then he’d escape that charge. Maybe that’s why they’re having this late night breaking news, huh?

That just broke on CNN, but they had more earlier in the night too from the Russkies.

Here’s more from CNN:

Russian officials bragged in conversations during the presidential campaign that they had cultivated a strong relationship with former Trump adviser retired Gen. Michael Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Donald Trump and his team, sources told CNN.

The conversations deeply concerned US intelligence officials, some of whom acted on their own to limit how much sensitive information they shared with Flynn, who was tapped to become Trump’s national security adviser, current and former governments officials said.

“This was a five-alarm fire from early on,” one former Obama administration official said, “the way the Russians were talking about him.” Another former administration official said Flynn was viewed as a potential national security problem.

The conversations picked up by US intelligence officials indicated the Russians regarded Flynn as an ally, sources said. That relationship developed throughout 2016, months before Flynn was caught on an intercepted call in December speaking with Russia’s ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak. That call, and Flynn’s changing story about it, ultimately led to his firing as Trump’s first national security adviser.

All anonymous sources. Either they’re really cornering Trump, or they’re lying a LOT. We won’t know for a while I guess…

It’s Friday, have an OPEN THREAD. Y’all.

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