James Comey tells Senate committee Trump lied over reasons for his dismissal

Donald Trump broke a long (for him) Twitter drought on Friday morning, returning from more than a day of tweet-silence to call former FBI Director James Comey a "leaker" - and to quite possibly accuse him of perjury.

The leaders of the House of Representatives intelligence committee said on Friday they've written to Comey, following the sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation director's testimony he made notes about his talks with Trump on Thursday.

But Comey also confirmed that Trump was not being probed.

The former lawman also admitted he asked a friend to leak those notes to a reporter, betting - correctly - that the details would prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor. Collins, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election, said Comey's motivation "may have been a good one".

While Trump disputed key parts of Comey's testimony, his legal team also welcomed statements that he did not seek the shutdown of the broader Russian Federation probe and that Trump was told he wasn't personally under investigation.

Though Republicans worked to discredit Comey and to blunt the impact of his testimony, the ex-director's statement deepened questions about the basis for his May 9 dismissal and about whether Trump's actions constituted obstruction of justice. "Well, I'll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future", he said at a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart. 'I was supposed to take her out to dinner that night'.

At a private White House dinner on January 27, just days after the billionaire took office, Comey said Trump appeared to want to "create some sort of patronage relationship" with him.

Comey told the senators that the president had improperly urged him to pull back from the FBI investigation into ex-National Security Advisor Mike Flynn's dealings with the Russians while pushing the director to give him a pledge of personal loyalty. He also recused himself from the FBI's investigation into Russia's election meddling.

Comey did not drop the Flynn investigation and was later fired as FBI director by Trump.

In his testimony on Thursday, Comey had said he had been aware of Russian cyber intrusion in the USA from the summer of 2015.

Trump, who did not post on his Twitter account as Comey appeared before the Senate intelligence committee Thursday, sent a tweet at daybreak Friday. House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to brush off the conclusion as Trump being new to the White House, but Sen. Comey laid out his description of a number of key interactions with Trump.

"Comey's excuse for this unauthorised disclosure of privileged information appears to be entirely retaliatory", said Mr Kasowitz.

Comey had said he believed he was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation.

This was just one of several times throughout the hearing that Comey essentially accused the president and his administration of lying.

According to Kasowitz, "The president also never told Mr. Comey, quote, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty, ' close quote".

Trump spent Thursday morning meeting with his secretary of state, secretary of defence and national security adviser, discussing North Korea, the Persian Gulf region and other matters, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

  • Larry Hoffman