As Growing Calls to Impeach Trump Loom, Watch James Comey Testify Live

Comey said during questioning that he was "stunned" by that conversation and the president asking everyone else to leave and later said it was a "significant fact" to him as a prosecutor that Trump wanted to speak with him alone.

"I was also confused by the initial explanation that was offered publicly that I was sacked because of the decisions I had made during the election year.

That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him", Comey said in his statement.

"I think there was obstruction of justice, " he said. Comey said he thought this was unusual, since the president had previously and repeatedly expressed that he hoped Comey would stay on the job.

Sen. Marco Rubio this morning questioned why it hadn't been leaked out that President Donald Trump himself was not under investigation.

Other than that, you should keep your eyes and ears peeled for anything Comey says about obstruction of justice, meddling in ongoing investigations, and/or whom the FBI is investigating.

When Trump fired him, he initially pointed to Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, but then later conceded it was because of his handling of the Russian Federation investigation and claimed Comey was overseeing a demoralized FBI in disarray.

Former FBI Director James Comey asserted Thursday that President Donald Trump fired him to interfere with his investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 election and its ties to the Trump campaign. What will be divulged when Comey presents his meticulous notes on his encounters with Trump?

The president has not tweeted anything since Comey's opening statements were released. "My judgment was I need to get that out into the public square", Comey said.

He stressed that according to Comey, Trump had said that he "hoped" for Flynn to be let go, and had not specifically ordered Comey to take that course.

Trump has derisively characterized Comey as a "showboat". In his testimony, Comey recalls worrying after his February 14 meeting with Trump: "Given that it was a one-on-one conversation, there was nothing available to corroborate my account", he writes.

If Comey stops short of alleging obstruction of justice, it could lend credibility to Trump's case that the Russian Federation controversy and allegations of a cover-up are overblown.

"I'm good with it", Comey said. Nine times, Comey said. Mueller and several congressional committees are investigating what USA intelligence agencies have concluded was effort by Russian Federation to help Trump win the election by discrediting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton through the hacking and disclosure of damaging emails and other steps.

The hearing unfolded amid intense political interest, and within a remarkable political context as Comey delivered damaging testimony about the president who fired him, a president who won election only after Comey damaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the final days of the campaign.

A preview hearing was held Wednesday, when top administration intelligence officers testified before the Senate panel, but refused to comment in a public setting on conversations with the president about the FBI investigation.

Trump's attorney, Marc Kasowitz, released a statement on Wednesday saying the president felt vindicated by Comey's acknowledgement that Trump was not personally under investigation.

Shaw's Tavern in Washington opened early and attracted a line of waiting customers seeking to watch the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director's congressional appearance.

It's an apparatus the Republican Party has deployed to try to help Trump execute on other priorities, such as building a drumbeat of grassroots support in favor of his nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

In the hearing room, Trump is counting on loyal Republicans to confront Comey, with members of his team also planning to compare his remarks to Comey's May congressional testimony for evidence of possible perjury.

The chaotic nature of the Trump administration means that spokespeople are frequently sent out to face the media with minimal information, unable to say, for example, whether Trump believes in climate change or has confidence in his attorney general. Angus King (I-Maine), who said, "I don't think [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is a Republican or a Democrat".

  • Zachary Reyes