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By Saagar Enjeti
Russian President Vladimir Putin likened former FBI Director James Comey to NSA leaker Edward Snowden and offered him political asylum at an annual televised Q&A in Russia.
Putin said Comey’s reported practice of taking detailed notes of his conversations with President Donald Trump was behavior like that of a civil rights activists rather than the head of a security bureau. He highlighted Russia’s grant of asylum to Snowden, who the Kremlin maintains is being persecuted for political purposes.
“If he continues to be persecuted in this connection, we will be ready to provide political asylum to him, he should know about that,” Putin said of Comey in his remarks.
Putin’s remarks come after Comey’s June 8 testimony, when he divulged he kept detailed notes of several conversations between himself and Trump. Comey claimed he made the memos of his conversations to protect himself and revealed that he distributed these memos throughout the government, and even amongst his private friends.
Comey also revealed that he instructed a friend to leak details of his conversations with Trump to the media. Comey claimed the impetus for the request came from the Trump administration’s attempts to malign his character and a presidential tweet warning him not to leak to the media.
“This sounds strange when a secret service chief records his conversation with the commander-in-chief to hand the record to the media,” Putin said of Comey’s practice of note taking.