Trump's first press conference since Comey hearing

"You're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don't worry", said Trump when asked by CNN's Jim Acosta why he couldn't answer the question.

Following Comey's testimony, in which he repeated claims made in a leaked memo that Trump had asked him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the odds of Trump facing impeachment over accusations of obstruction of justice rose. He painted a picture of an overbearing president who he did not trust and who pressured him to stop the FBI Flynn probe.

US President Donald Trump's sons Donald Trump Jr (left) and Eric Trump, who now run their father's business interests.

First, Mr Comey found out he was sacked by watching TV. His disappearance from view as the request for the memo pends has raised questions about the memo, the validity of which Comey swore by in his Thursday tesitmony before the Senate Judiciary Committe.

Comey described an episode during the inquiry into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch directed him "not to call it an investigation but to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me".

Comey made his comments as the packed hearing got underway, bringing Washington and parts of the country to a halt as all eyes were glued on televisions showing the hearing.

"I hardly know the man. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning", Comey told the committee. Trump asked, though he went on to say such a request wouldn't have been inappropriate.

Comey's accusations could further mire Trump's administration in legal difficulties.

CNN published a similar report about communication during the campaign between advisers close to Trump and Russians known to US intelligence.

Russian Federation has denied such interference. The White House has not confirmed if such tapes exist.

In a speech to supporters across town, Trump vowed to fight on.

We do, too. That may be the only way to resolve this historic he-said, he-said. "He should give a straight yes or no to the question of whether or not the tapes exist, and he should voluntarily turn them over not only to the Senate Intelligence Committee, but to the special counsel".

The statement was released hours after former FBI Director James Comey gave blockbuster testimony on alleged efforts by the president to influence the investigation into Russia's suspected meddling.

It would be up to the appropriate authorities to determine whether the leak should be investigated, Kasowitz said. "Those were lies, plain and simple", Comey said.

As a result of that episode, a special counsel was appointed to lead an independent investigation into the Trump campaign's potential ties to the Kremlin.

"Maybe sometime in the future people will learn whether or not there were recordings of his conversation with Comey", Trump added.

Mr Comey told Congress under oath he believed he was sacked to influence his investigation into the Trump campaign.

At one point he practically dared Trump to release any recordings of their conversations, a prospect the president once alluded to in a tweet.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director testified that he kept notes on his meetings with the president because he was concerned Trump might lie about the nature of their conversations.

One of these is Comey's assertion that the president said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting [Michael] Flynn go", in the Oval Office on February 14.

President Trump ended his Twitter silence early Friday, claiming ex-FBI Director James Comey vindicated him and accusing Comey of improperly leaking details of their discussions.

Under questioning Thursday, Comey strongly asserted the intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation did indeed meddle in the 2016 election.

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.

  • Leroy Wright