GOP senator: No proof of obstruction in Comey statement

All broadcast networks and cable news stations will preempt programming to air the proceedings live. "During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President Elect Trump's reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance". Comey's written statement released ahead of his testimony said Trump had described the Russian Federation investigation as a "cloud" that was interfering with his job. Comey testified to Congress a week before his termination that he had never been pressured to end an investigation for political purposes, nearly three months after the Trump meeting took place.

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"I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media", Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said when he announced the session.

"Those were lies plain and simple".

The Trump administration may have (wisely) foregone the privilege claim, but they apparently plan to remind everyone of Comey's credibility issues.

"Release the tapes. I'm good with it", he testified Thursday.

Comey said Flynn was in "legal jeopardy" due to the open criminal investigation he is facing, and even though Trump's remarks concerned Comey, he could not say if the conversation with the president was part of an "effort to obstruct". In a blockbuster hearing full of key moments, that was the main highlight. Comey warns that such an investigation could "create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren't". But his son Donald Trump Jr. criticized Comey and defended his father in a series in Twitter posts.

On the Flynn investigation, Comey said: "The controversy was whether Flynn lied to VP about nature of his conversations with Russians".

"When I chose to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made up story".

Trump's personal lawyer said Trump was cheered by the testimony. But of course he didn't drop the investigation.

He already uncorked a few big surprises in his testimony - be on the lookout for more Thursday.

In a potentially risky gambit, Capitol Hill's Union Pub pledges a free round for patrons each time President Donald Trump tweets during the hearing or until 4 p.m.

It is Comey's job to warn Trump that a dossier containing salacious and unverified allegations about the president-elect is floating around.

"My judgment was, I needed to get that out into the public square, and so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter", Comey said. "Yes", Comey said. "Because I've seen the president say so". "That didn't make sense to me for a whole bunch of reasons, including the time and all the water that had gone under the bridge since those hard decisions that had to be made", Comey said in his opening remarks to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The Justice Department informed the White House counsel's office that Flynn was being untruthful shortly after Trump was inaugurated in January.

But the very same opening statement indicates that even now, after he has been fired by Trump, Comey is still unwilling to assert that he took anything Trump said as an effort to hinder "the broader investigation into Russian Federation or possible links to his campaign".

The Senate Intelligence Committee posted Comey's explosive seven-page statement on its website Wednesday afternoon, ending speculation about what Comey would say to the panel on Thursday. Instead he began by saying that the president fired him a month ago for no reason at all.

Comey accused the Russian embassy in Washington, DC of employing a "robust cohort of intelligence operatives", but said he doesn't consider the Russian ambassador to the U.S. to be an intelligence officer.

He added: "The [White House] then chose to defame me and more importantly the Federal Bureau of Investigation". "The FBI is honest".

Counsel stopped short of accusing Comey of breaking the law, saying he'd leave it to "the appropriate authorities to determine whether" the leaks should be investigated along with all the others the White House is probing.

"The shifting explanations confused me and increasingly concerned me".

  • Leroy Wright