Skip to main content

Trump's pick for fbi director shuns the spotlight. So why does he want the most fraught job in Washington

By geezywap :Attorney General John Ashcroft fell ill with pancreatitis the week before he was supposed to renew a domestic surveillance program called Stellar Wind. He was taken to the intensive care unit at George Washington University Hospital, and James Comey, then his deputy, became acting attorney general. As the deadline to renew the program approached, Comey told the White House he wouldn’t approve it because he was concerned it was illegal.

On March 10, the night before the renewal deadline, Comey was driving home when Ashcroft’s chief of staff called and said two aides of President George W. Bush were on their way to speak with Ashcroft. Comey raced to the hospital and “ran up the stairs with my security detail,” he later testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Comey waited with the bedridden Ashcroft, Bush’s aides entered and said they wanted approval for the program. According to Comey’s testimony, Ashcroft then pointed to Comey and said, “I’m not the attorney general. There is the attorney general.” The aides and takes he's leave.