Jim Rybicki is an FBI official whose name will likely come up during James Comey’s Congressional testimony this week. After all, Rybicki worked under Comey at the FBI for four years, and he reportedly can corroborate some of James Comey’s statements.
So who exactly is Jim Rybicki? What experience does he have with the FBI, and why is he an important name in the James Comey story?
Here’s what you need to know about Jim Rybicki.
1. He is the Chief of Staff to the Director of the FBI
Jim Rybicki currently serves as chief of staff to the director of the FBI.
He joined the FBI as deputy chief of staff to the director in November 2013, being promoted to chief of staff in May 2015. He serves in this position to this day.
According to the FBI’s website, Jim Rybicki also serves as senior counselor at the FBI. He is a graduate of George Washington University and the Catholic University Columbus School of Law.
2. He Started Working for the Department of Justice in 2001
Although he only took on the role of chief of staff for the FBI in 2015, Jim Rybicki has been working for the Department of Justice for over 15 years.
In August 2001, Rybicki started working as special assistant to the assistant attorney general/legislative affairs. In this position, Rybicki served as “liaison to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees,” according to Rybicki’s LinkedIn page.
In November 2003, Rybicki became special assistant to the counsel for intelligence policy in the Department of Justice, and in January 2005, he became special assistant to the deputy attorney general.
Then, in August 2008, Rybicki became counsel to the attorney general at the Department of Justice, and finally acting deputy chief of staff. In 2013, he moved on to the FBI.
3. Politico Reports That the White House Sees Him as ‘Weak’ & ‘Ineffective’
In May 2017, Politico published a report titled “The Political Isolation of Jim Comey.” This article goes into detail about the fact that over the past year, James Comey has been surrounded by enemies on all sides, who have questioned many of his decisions including the idea of holding a press conference in July 2016 during which he said that Hillary Clinton acted carelessly in her use of a private email server.
Politico reports that through all of the turmoil engulfing the FBI, James Comey found himself isolated, as his closest counselor, Chuck Rosenberg, had left in 2015, and Jim Rybicki did not meet Comey’s needs.
“Meanwhile, his chief of staff, Jim Rybicki, was seen by other bureau executives, Justice Department leaders and White House staff as weak and generally ineffective—not, as one senior official said, the wartime consigliere Comey needed while under unprecedented fire,” Politico reports.
4. He Can Reportedly Back Up James Comey’s Account of His Conversations With Trump
James Comey will testify before Congress this week and say that Donald Trump asked him for his loyalty and asked Comey to let the Michael Flynn investigation go. Comey says that these interactions made him uncomfortable and so he took thorough notes after the meetings.
But in addition to that, Vox reported this week that Comey told three of the FBI’s top officials about the private conversations that he had had with Donald Trump. One of those officials was Jim Rybicki, with the other two being James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel, and Andrew McCabe, then the FBI deputy director.
“Comey spoke to them within two days of his Oval conversation with Trump, the sources said, and recounted the president’s comments about the Flynn investigation,” Vox reports.
Vox also reports that Rybicki considers himself a potential fact witnesses in Robert Mueller’s probe.
5. He Reportedly Told Comey That He Doesn’t Fully Trust Jeff Sessions
Vox reports that James Comey asked these top FBI officials, including Jim Rybicki, for their advice on whether he should inform the Justice Department that Donald Trump had pressured him to shut down the Russia probe.
Rybicki reportedly advised against doing so, partially because he did not fully trust Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“All four of them had reservations about doing so because they did not fully trust Attorney General Jeff Sessions — and because the events were unprecedented in their experience,” Vox reports.