Former FBI Director James Comey is sworn in prior to a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington D.C., the United States, on June 8, 2017. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
MOSCOW, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Russia is willing to grant asylum to former chief of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) James Comey in case he is persecuted in the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
Comey, sacked by the Trump administration last month, acted like U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, said the Russian leader during an annual televised call-in known as "Direct Line with Vladimir Putin."
"When a special service head records a conversation with the commander-in-chief and gives it to the media through one of his friends ... he is then not a special service head but a human rights advocate who defends a certain position," said Putin.
Snowden, a computer professional who had done contractual work for the U.S. National Security Agency, is now living under asylum in Russia. He fled to Russia in 2013 after revealing thousands of classified documents to the press.
"If there is persecution against Comey, we will be ready to grant him political asylum as well," said Putin.
According to the Trump administration, Comey was fired because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation during the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. But the former FBI director believed that he was sacked due to his investigation into Russian ties to the Trump campaign.
As for Comey's investigation into Russian interference in the presidential elections, Putin said that Comey provided no evidence.