Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, responded to the demand for an inquiry into the F.B.I.’s use of an informant by referring the request to the department’s inspector general.
Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he saw “no reason to dispute” the findings of the United States’ spy agencies.
After the biggest loss of classified information in C.I.A. history last year, The Times has learned the identify of the prime suspect in the case: a 29-year-old ex-software engineer at the agency.
Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Former F.B.I. director James Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” has dominated headlines for more than a week, and became an instant blockbuster, selling more than 600,000 copies in all formats during its first week on sale.
Mr. Comey’s publisher, Flatiron Books, has ordered multiple reprints to meet demand, and now has more than a million copies in print.
The early sales figures for Mr. Comey’s book dwarfed other recent political best sellers. Hillary Clinton’s memoir, “What Happened,” sold more than 300,000 copies in all formats in its first week on sale. And “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s explosive look inside the Trump White House, sold around 200,000 hardcover copies in its first full week on sale, according to NPD BookScan, which tracks about 85 percent of print sales. Mr. Wolff’s book, which came out in January, has sold more than 2 million copies to date.
Mr. Comey has no doubt benefited from wall-to-wall television coverage. He has given revealing interviews on every major news network, drawing angry tweets from President Trump, which in turn prompted more news coverage of the book. That cycle will likely drag on as Mr. Comey continues his book promotion tour this week with an appearance at a CNN Town Hall and an interview on Fox News Channel.
But the book is also, not surprisingly, polarizing, much like Mr. Comey himself. Some have praised it as a revealing and honest account of Mr. Comey’s role in some of the biggest political scandals of our time, including the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server, the investigation into Russian collusion and his fraught relationship with the president. But others have argued that Mr. Comey has undermined his own message about the need for nonpartisan, ethical leadership by discussing some of the more salacious and sensational aspects of the Russia investigation, and by withholding his unsettling opinions about the president’s fitness for office until his book tour to maximize publicity.
In a sign of how fraught and politicized the conversation surrounding the book has become, Amazon limited reviews of “A Higher Loyalty” to Amazon customers who have purchased the book through the site, presumably to prevent trolls and cheerleaders who haven’t read the book from skewing the ratings. Normally, anyone can leave a review of a book without having to purchase it through Amazon. The filter suggests that Amazon noticed that people were flooding the site with political opinions rather than straight book reviews.
The former F.B.I. director was interviewed for “The Daily” podcast. Here are five takeaways from the conversation.
In 1915, a team of American archaeologists excavating the ancient Egyptian necropolis of Deir el-Bersha blasted into a hidden tomb. Inside the cramped limestone chamber, they were greeted by a gruesome sight: a mummy’s severed head perched on a cedar coffin.
The room, which the researchers labeled Tomb 10A, was the final resting place for a governor named Djehutynakht (pronounced “juh-HOO-tuh-knocked”) and his wife. At some point during the couple’s 4,000-year-long slumber, grave robbers ransacked their burial chamber and plundered its gold and jewels. The looters tossed a headless, limbless mummified torso into a corner before attempting to set the room on fire to cover their tracks.
The archaeologists went on to recover painted coffins and wooden figurines that survived the raid and sent them to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1921. Most of the collection stayed in storage until 2009 when the museum exhibited them. Though the torso remained in Egypt, the decapitated head became the star of the showcase. With its painted-on eyebrows, somber expression and wavy brown hair peeking through its tattered bandages, the mummy’s noggin brought viewers face-to-face with a mystery.
“The head had been found on the governor’s coffin but we were never sure if it was his head or her head,” said Rita Freed, a curator at the museum.
The museum staff concluded only a DNA test would determine whether they had put Mr. or Mrs. Djehutynakht on display.
“The problem was that at the time in 2009 there had been no successful extraction of DNA from a mummy that was 4,000-years-old,” said Dr. Freed.
Egyptian mummies pose a unique challenge because the desert’s scorching climate rapidly degrades DNA. Earlier attempts at obtaining their ancient DNA either failed or produced results contaminated by modern DNA. To crack the case, the museum turned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The F.B.I. had never before worked on a specimen so old. If its scientists could extract genetic material from the 4,000-year-old mummy, they would add a powerful DNA collecting technique to their forensics arsenal and also unlock a new way of deciphering Egypt’s ancient past.
“I honestly didn’t expect it to work because at the time there was this belief that it was not possible to get DNA from ancient Egyptian remains,” said Odile Loreille a forensic scientist at the F.B.I. But in the journal Genes in March, Dr. Loreille and her colleagues reported that they had retrieved ancient DNA from the head. And after more than a century of uncertainty, the mystery of the mummy’s identity had been laid to rest.
What lies in Tomb 10A
Governor Djehutynakht and his wife, Lady Djehutynakht, are believed to have lived around 2000 B.C. during Egypt’s Middle Kingdom. They ruled a province of Upper Egypt. Though the walls in their tomb were bare, the coffins were embellished with beautiful hieroglyphics of the afterlife.
“His coffin is a classic masterpiece of Middle Kingdom art,” said Marleen De Meyer, assistant director for archaeology and Egyptology at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo, who re-entered the tomb in 2009. “It has elements of a rare kind of realism.”
The team that discovered Djehutynakht’s desecrated chamber more than a century ago was led by archaeologists George Reisner and Hanford Lyman Story. As they explored the cliffs of Deir el-Bersha, which is about 180 miles south of Cairo on the east bank of the Nile, they uncovered a 30-foot burial shaft beneath boulders. With the help of dynamite, they entered the tomb.
In their original reports the archaeologists said the dismembered body parts belonged to a woman, presumably Lady Djehutynakht. Dr. De Meyer suspected the head belonged to the governor and not his wife.
Missing facial bones
As Dr. Freed, the museum curator prepared the items from Tomb 10A for exhibition in 2005, she reached out to Massachusetts General Hospital. Its CT scan revealed the head was missing cheek bones and part of its jaw hinge — features that may have potentially provided insight into the mummy’s sex.
“From the outside you could not tell that the mummy had been so internally tinkered with,” said Dr. Rajiv Gupta, a neuroradiologist at Massachusetts General. “All the muscles that are involved in chewing and closing the mouth, the attachment sites of those muscles had been taken out.”
They now had another mystery: Why did the mummy have these facial mutilations?
Along with Dr. Paul Chapman, a neurosurgeon at the hospital, Dr. Gupta hypothesized that they might be part of an ancient Egyptian mummification practice known as the “Opening of the Mouth Ceremony.” The ritual was performed so the deceased could eat, drink and breathe in the afterlife.
“It’s a very specific cut they made,” said Dr. Gupta, referring to the surgical removal of part of the mandible. “There’s a precision to it which is what we were surprised by. Someone was actually doing coronoidectomy 4,000 years ago.”
Some doctors and Egyptologists doubted that ancient Egyptians could perform that complex operation with primitive tools.
To show it was possible, Dr. Gupta, Dr. Chapman and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon performed the bone removal on two cadavers using a chisel and mallet. They drove the chisel between the lips and gums behind the wisdom teeth, and were able to remove the same bones missing in the mummified skull.
Still, the question of the mummy’s identity lingered.
The doctors and museum staff determined their best chance of retrieving DNA would be by extracting the mummy’s molar. “The core of the tooth was where the money was,” Dr. Chapman said. Teeth often act as tiny genetic time capsules. Researchers have used them to tell the tales of our prehistoric human cousins called Denisovans, as well as to provide insight into the medical history of long dead people.
“The advantage we had is that we had a hole in the neck because the head had been torn off,” said Dr. Chapman.
They snaked a long scope with a camera into the back of the mouth. The first tooth they targeted would not budge, so Dr. Fabio Nunes, who was then a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General, switched to a different molar. Sweating, he clamped down with dental forceps, gave it a few wiggles, then a few twists and “pop” — it was free.
“My main concern was: Don’t drop it, don’t drop it, don’t drop it,” he said. After he successfully maneuvered out from the neck, the room exhaled and gazed upon their prize.
“This looked like an absolutely cavity free, perfectly preserved tooth,” Dr. Freed said. “I thought maybe it was Mrs. Djehutynakht who had died in childbirth. Total speculation.”
The F.B.I. ’s oldest forensic case
For several years, other teams of scientists tried fruitlessly to get DNA from the molar. Then the crown of the tooth came to Dr. Loreille at the F.B.I. ’s lab in Quantico, Va., in 2016.
Dr. Loreille had joined the F.B.I. after 20 years of studying ancient DNA. Previously, she had extracted genetic material from a 130,000-year-old cave bear, and worked on cases to identify unknown Korean War victims, a two-year old child who drowned on the Titanic and two of the Romanov children who were murdered during the Russian Revolution (though she was unable to confirm if one was the famed Anastasia).
In the F.B.I.’s clean lab, Dr. Loreille drilled into the tooth’s core and collected a tiny bit of powder. She then dissolved the tooth dust to make a DNA library that allowed her to amplify the amount of DNA she was working with, like a copy machine, and bring it up to detectable levels.
To determine whether what she had extracted was ancient DNA or contamination from modern people, she analyzed how damaged the sample was. It showed signs of heavy damage, confirmation that she was studying the mummy’s genetic material.
She plugged her data into computer software that analyzed the ratio of chromosomes in the sample. “When you have a female you have more reads on X. When you have a male you have X and Y,” she said.
The program spit out “male.”
Dr. Loreille discovered the mummified severed head had indeed belong to Governor Djehutynakht. And in doing so she had help establish that ancient Egyptian DNA could be extracted from mummies.
“It’s one of the Holy Grails of ancient DNA to collect good data from Egyptian mummies,” said Pontus Skoglund, a geneticist at The Francis Crick Institute in London who helped confirm the accuracy of the finding while he was a researcher at Harvard. “It was very exciting to see that Odile got something that looked like it could be authentic ancient DNA.”
Unraveling the mummy’s genetic history
Dr. Loreille’s examination also showed that Governor Djehutynakht’s DNA carried clues to another mystery. For centuries archaeologists and historians have debated the origins of the ancient Egyptians and how closely related they were to modern people living in North Africa. To the researchers’ surprise, the governor’s mitochondrial DNA indicated his ancestry on his mother’s side, or haplogroup, was Eurasian.
“No one will ever believe us,” Dr. Loreille recalled telling her colleague Jodi Irwin. “There’s a European haplogroup in an ancient mummy.”
Dr. Irwin, the supervisory biologist at the F.B.I.’s DNA support unit, had similar concerns. To verify the results they sent a portion of the tooth to a Harvard lab, and then to the Department of Homeland Security, for further sequencing.
Then last year as the F.B.I. scientists worked to confirm their results, another group affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany reported the first successful extraction of ancient DNA from Egyptian mummies. Their results showed that their ancient Egyptian samples were closer to modern Middle Eastern and European samples than to modern Egyptians, who have more sub-Saharan African ancestry.
“It was at the same time ‘Dang! We’re not first,’” Dr. Loreille said. “But also we’re happy to see they had this Eurasian ancestry.”
Alexander Peltzer, a population geneticist at the Planck Institute and an author on the first Egyptian mummy DNA paper, said Dr. Loreille’s genetic findings fit well with what his team had found.
“Of course, one has to be careful to deduce too much from single genomes and only two locations,” he said.
Dr. Irwin also expressed caution with how the public interprets her team’s results, saying that mitochondrial DNA provides, “just a very small glimpse into somebody’s ancestry.”
Future ancient DNA work will provide insight into how diverse populations moved and mixed in Egypt millenniums ago, according to Verena Schünemann, a paleogeneticist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland who led the Egyptian mummy DNA study that was published before the F.B.I.’s.
Obtaining mummified samples for genetic sequencing may prove difficult for researchers outside of Egypt as the country’s government has barred foreign researchers from taking artifacts and ancient human remains out of the country since 1983. Many investigations will instead rely on museum samples, like Djehutynakht’s decapitated head.
In addition to helping lay groundwork for future exploration of ancient Egypt’s migration history, Dr. Loreille and her team’s work may prove beneficial to F.B.I. forensic efforts.
“We are testing techniques that may in the future help them work on remains that are highly degraded, like in the desert or that are burned,” she said.
But for the Egyptologists and medical professionals enthralled by Tomb 10A, the biggest prize was finally solving the mystery of the mummified head.
“You almost feel like it’s a child, like you just identified the gender of a baby,” Dr. Nunes said. “It is a boy!”
Dr. Freed agreed. “We now know that we have the governor himself,” she said. “We already show the head at the museum, but now we’ll have to change the label!”
President Trump hired the outspoken lawyer Joseph E. diGenova on Monday. Mr. diGenova is an aggressive voice who attacks the F.B.I. and defends the president.
Credit Alex Brandon/Associated Press
James B. Comey’s upcoming book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” briefly jumped to no. 1 on Amazon’s best sellers list on Sunday, about a month before it’s publication date of April 17. The spike in pre-orders occurred a couple of days after former F.B.I. deputy director Andrew G. McGabe was fired, prompting a string of tweets by President Trump in which he said Mr. McGabe was a “choirboy” next to Mr. Comey, whom he called “sanctimonious.”
The early interest in “A Higher Loyalty” is comparable to the advance buzz for “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” Michael Wolff’s exposé of the current administration, which was published earlier this year. Mr. Wolff’s book also hit the top of the Amazon best sellers list before its release, and the publishing house and book sellers were unprepared for the demand.
There appears to be an enormous appetite for books that give insight into the Trump White House. “Fire and Fury” has sold more than a million copies, and it remains at the top of The New York Times’s hardcover nonfiction best sellers list. It has been on the list for 10 weeks. Similarly, upon its release, “Russian roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump” by Michael Isikoff and David Corn sold so quickly that Amazon suspected bots might be behind the sales and temporarily shut down the buy button on the book’s page, according to Twelve, an imprint of Hachette Book Group and the book’s publisher. It has sold 47,000 copies in its first week and on Monday evening it was right behind “A Higher Loyalty” on Amazon’s politics and social sciences best sellers list.
Mr. Comey’s book dropped to number 2 overall on Amazon on Monday — it was replaced with “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” a parody book commissioned by John Oliver based on a picture book about the Pence family’s real-life rabbit, which was written by Mr. Pence’s daughter. Macmillan, which owns Flatiron Books, declined to comment on preorders, but they confirmed an initial printing of 450,000.
Mr. Comey stoked anticipation for “A Higher Loyalty” by responding to Mr. Trump’s tweets on Sunday. “Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not,” he said. In a statement, Macmillan said the book would “explore what good, ethical leadership looks like.”
Nine Marines were among those being treated after a letter containing a hazardous but unknown substance was opened on the Virginia base near the Pentagon.
Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times
Robert Mueller, the special counsel, first indicted Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, the former chairman and deputy chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, last October on charges including money laundering and conspiracy against the United States. At the time, the White House and its apologists argued that these alleged crimes pre-dated the campaign, and were thus unrelated to any putative election-related conspiracies with Russia. Tweeted Trump, “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign.”
This wasn’t true then — multiple charges referred to crimes that were said to continue at least through 2016. But Mueller’s new indictments, released last week, render Trump’s defense even more ridiculous. They provide detailed evidence that Manafort and Gates’s alleged financial crimes continued while they were running Trump’s campaign. And despite the White House’s insistence otherwise, the felonies that Manafort is accused of, and the two that Gates pleaded guilty to on Friday, bear directly on the question of Russian collusion.
It’s certainly possible that Trump himself didn’t personally connive with Russia for campaign help. Perhaps, through a combination of carelessness and miserliness, he unwittingly allowed his campaign to be infiltrated at the highest levels by both alleged and admitted criminals with Russian ties. Such a scenario, however, would not be exculpatory.
Thanks to Mueller’s indictments and some revelatory journalism, we have a decent picture of the desperate straits Manafort was in when he joined Team Trump. In the charges unsealed last week, Mueller’s team described a two-part criminal scheme by Manafort and Gates. First, they laundered tens of millions of dollars while working for Viktor Yanukovych, then the Kremlin-aligned president of Ukraine, and his political allies.
In 2014, Yanukovych fled into exile in Russia, and according to Mueller’s indictment, Manafort and Gates’s “Ukraine income dwindled.” That’s when the second part of their scheme began. From 2015 to 2017, in what looks like a frantic scramble for cash, the indictment says, they “fraudulently secured more than $20 million” in bank loans by lying about their finances.
We don’t know why they needed all this money. But we do know that in 2014, lawyers for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska filed a petition in the Cayman Islands claiming that Manafort and Gates couldn’t account for almost $19 million that a company controlled by Deripaska had given them to invest. Deripaska, who is reportedly very close to President Vladimir Putin, has been denied entry to the United States because of his suspected ties to Russian organized crime. One would not, presumably, want to owe him a debt that could not be paid.