Trump to nominate ex-Justice Department official to lead Federal Bureau of Investigation

Dershowitz, a law professor at Harvard, wrote on Wednesday that President Trump has the constitutional right to direct his FBI director to stop an investigation of anyone "by simply pardoning that person".

Trump's personal lawyer said Trump was cheered by the testimony.

Bruce Green, a professor at Fordham University School of Law, said it would be hard to show Trump meant to impede the Flynn investigation.

During the meal, he said Trump asked him if he wanted to remain as Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

And just a week before he was sacked, Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he made a decision to publicly announce his findings in the Clinton email investigation after watching Bill Clinton board a plane with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Comey says he did offer the president that "assurance", but resisted Trump's appeals to make that information public.

"He then said, 'I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go".

The testimony from Comey, who was sacked by Trump last month, puts more pressure on the Republican whose presidency has been overshadowed by allegations that Moscow helped him win last year's election.

When prompted again on the subject of loyalty, Comey said he replied, "You will always get honesty from me".

Comey also describes at length a February 14 meeting in the Oval Office in which he believed Trump asked him to back off an investigation into Flynn. He is a good guy.

While many bars across the U.S. are opening their doors as early as 9am EST to host viewing parties complete with food and drinks, some bars in Washington DC are offering to buy patrons a round of drinks every time Trump tweets about Comey during his testimony.

"The express discussion of loyalty is disconcerting", and could heighten speculation that the "president was trying to exert some pressure or at least exert some influence over the Russian Federation investigation", Gerhardt said.

"I'm very concerned about the implication that Comey keeping his job was dependent on his loyalty or, in Comey's words, developing a 'patronage relationship.' That is another way the President sought to impede the investigation", Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said in a comment emailed to Reuters.

The White House said Monday it would not invoke executive privilege over Comey's upcoming testimony - officials predicted it would look bad otherwise.

Trump announced on Twitter his plans to nominate Christopher A. Wray, the former assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's criminal division, to be the next Federal Bureau of Investigation director. Trump and the Kremlin have separately denied any collusion.

At the time he was sacked, Comey had been overseeing the investigation into possible coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign for months.

Some legal experts said Comey's statement could be used to show that Trump engaged in obstruction of justice. "He asked what we could do to 'lift the cloud'".

After saying he planned to stay until his 10-year tenure was complete, Trump turned to him and said: "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty".

In a testimony sent ahead of his appearance on Thursday, Comey said Trump tried to pressure him to drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of a probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The White House initially said Trump fired Comey on the recommendation of the Justice Department, citing as justification a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that criticized Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Trump understood, Comey said, "but then re-emphasised the problems this was causing him".

  • Larry Hoffman