Trump goes on offensive against ex-FBI chief, calling him a 'leaker'

In his first congressional appearance since being abruptly fired by Trump last month, Comey detailed months of distrust of the president and bluntly asserted that Trump had fired him to interfere with the probe of Russia's ties to the Trump campaign.

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication", Trump tweeted, "and WOW, Comey is a leaker!"

In his statements, Comey re-iterated that he believed Trump was trying to exert influence over the FBI's investigation into former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, and that the White House "lied" in its explanation for firing the controversial FBI director.

"It confused me when I saw on television the president saying that he actually fired me because of the Russian Federation investigation", he said.

Comey was sacked on May 9.

Comey revealed to the committee in his testimony on Thursday that, while he was still head of the FBI, Trump was personally not under investigation.

At worst, it amounts to deliberate pressure from the President to drop an investigation into former national security chief Michael Flynn and to demand loyalty from the FBI chief so he could keep his job.

Nearly immediately, journalists and curious observers went looking for more details about the man Comey referred only as "a close friend who is a professor at Columbia law school".

Discussing the meeting in which Comey says Trump asked him to back off Flynn, Democratic Sen.

Kasowitz also maintained that the testimony made clear that Trump "never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr Comey stop investigating anyone".

"The hearing greatly sharpened the focus of this matter onto whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he isolated FBI Director Comey after a White House meeting and pressured him to drop an active criminal investigation for no proper objective", says law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who led the Justice Department's prosecution of Enron Corp.

"Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he leaked to friends his purported memos of these privileged conversations, one of which he testified was classified", Kasowitz said.

In his testimony, Comey elaborated on a difference of opinion he had with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch over how to describe the Hillary Clinton email investigation. "I was supposed to take her out to dinner that night".

"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. That is that the President was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference", Kasowitz said in a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Ultimately, Comey told the committee, he wanted what was in the unclassified memo made public because, "I thought it might prompt the appointment of a special counsel" in the Russian Federation inquiry.

Social media also poked fun during Comey's testimony when the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director revealed a presidential intrusion into his domestic life.

One remark in particular from Comey got the Twittersphere buzzing. In addition to the two meetings that Sessions has acknowledged, the senators pointed to the possibility of a separate encounter at an April 2016 Trump campaign event that Sessions and Kislyak attended.

He said that he'd carefully documented his interactions with Trump because he anxious Trump would misrepresent them, and accused the administration of spreading "lies, plain and simple" about the reasons for his firing.

Comey is testifying before the Senate intelligence committee.

Many people tuning into the Senate hearing were quick to compare Comey's actions (and the way he was questioned about them) to the experiences of women who are sexually harassed at work or sexually assaulted.

Comey gave us all a lot to think about, but he also gave senators a lot to investigate.

"You got to look at it all together as a package", said Carlin.

  • Salvatore Jensen