Trump denies 'loyalty' pledge, says Comey testimony proved no collusion
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 10, 2017,
Jun 10, 2017, 15:05
Trump said Friday he would be willing to testify under oath "100 percent" that he did not tell Comey to let the Flynn probe "go". The president specifically denied asking Comey for his "loyalty" early in Trump's term.
Trump wrote earlier on Friday on Twitter that the former FBI head had vindicated him by telling the Senate Intelligence Committee that the president had not been personally under investigation in the Russian Federation probe.
Puzder also cited an op-ed from attorney and legal scholar Alan Dershowitz to argue that, even if Trump did pressure Comey to end the FBI's investigation into Flynn, he did not violate any laws. Trump faced journalists at the White House on Friday afternoon in a joint news conference with the president of Romania, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partner. A group of House conservatives discussed taxes and the budget, with no reference to Comey or the federal investigations into Russia's election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
President Donald Trump listens during a news conference with Romania's President Klaus Werner Iohannis in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 9, 2017. He also blasted Comey as "a leaker".
Comey said that as of May, when he was sacked, Trump was not personally under FBI investigation - offering, finally, the public acknowledgment Trump had been requesting so assiduously. But he had no fewer than nine conversations with Donald Trump in four months and knew he had to record the details afterwards. Kasowitz added that "we will leave it the appropriate authorities" to determine whether Comey's leak "should be investigated along with all those others being investigated".
With a single tweet, Trump also castigated Comey as "a leaker" for giving an account of his conversation with the president to a law professor who shared it with a news outlet.
The Justice Department responded late Thursday, saying that after consultations with department ethics officials Sessions recused himself because of his involvement in Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, "for that reason, and that reason alone".
In the same hearing, Comey detailed his meetings with Trump in more detail, and under oath. Comey, who was sacked by President Donald Trump, told the panel in open session that Trump repeatedly pressed him for his "loyalty" and directly pushed him to "lift the cloud" of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the probe into his campaign's Russian Federation ties. "I'll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future", he said.
The fact that information about Sessions was classified and Comey couldn't answer "means there's something out there that he knows about that the public doesn't, and that he thinks bears on a need for Sessions to recuse himself in matters that relate to Russian Federation", said Sen.
Trump broke his silence on Twitter following explosive testimony by Comey, declaring "total and complete vindication".
Kasowitz also maintained that the testimony made clear that Trump "never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone".
While we're not generally accustomed to hearing prominent public figures talk openly about sharing behind-the-scenes information with the press, Comey's acknowledgement yesterday that he shared a memo with a friend, who in turn shared it with a reporter, is not scandalous. He added: "Again, I take the president's words".
Comey said he felt he was sacked from his role due to his handling of the investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election as well as possible ties between Russian officials and members of the Trump administration.
"That concerned me because that language tracked how the campaign was talking about the FBI's work and that's concerning", Comey said. Clinton has blamed Comey's October 28 announcement that he was re-opening the email investigation for her defeat. The attorney is expected to file a complaint with the Justice Department inspector general about the revelation next week, according to a person close to the legal team who agreed to speak before the filing on condition that the person's name is not used.