Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday offered to give political asylum to former FBI Director James Comey, poking at tensions between Comey and President Trump.
“If Comey will be under the threat of political persecution, we are ready to accept him here,” Putin said at a press conference, according to Russian state media outlet TASS.
Comey testified last week that Trump pressured him to “let go” of the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn before Trump fired him. Comey acknowledged leaking his personal memos about his conversations with Trump to the media, which the White House has seized on to attack the former FBI head’s credibility.
Putin compared Comey’s decision to leak details of conversations with Trump to the actions of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker who was granted asylum by Russia.
“This is strange. How then is the director of the FBI any different from Snowden? He is not a head of the special services, but a human rights activist,” Putin said.The U.S. intelligence community concluded last year that Russia interfered in the presidential election specifically to help Trump win. The Justice Department, the FBI and the Senate and House Intelligence committees are all investigating Russian meddling int he 2016 presidential election as well as potential links between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.
Putin has denied any interference in the U.S. election.