Claiming vindication, Trump answers Comey testimony with denials
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 12, 2017,
Jun 12, 2017, 6:37
In a brief statement to reporters Thursday after Comey's testimony, Kasowitz accused Comey of admitting "that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President".
If Kasowitz' s accusations of criminal conduct against Comey were accepted and believed by the Senate and federal prosecutors and a federal grand jury indictment followed, the result would be a criminal trial of the former FBI director, requiring the testimony under oath of the President of the United States.
Comey said that a tweet from Trump threatening him with possible "tapes" about their conversations pushed him to have the contents of his memo released, saying he hoped it would force the appointment of a special counsel for the Russian Federation probe. Trump didn't provide a definitive answer, instead teasing, "I'll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future". Mr Trump tweeted in his first comments since the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday. The president and his aides have complained about leaks, purportedly from the intelligence community, throughout the investigations by the FBI and Congress into Russia's meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections and the Trump campaign's contact with Russian officials.
Trump made the remarks while responding to questions on Comey's explosive testimony in which he accused the president of trying to stop a probe into the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. elections a year ago. Asked if he would make that denial under oath, he said, "100%".
When asked if he really did have tapes of his conversations with Comey as he'd alluded to in a tweet published last month, President Trump declined to confirm or deny their existence. The reason: Comey testified that he did so to manipulate the situation and force the appointment of a Special Counsel. The White House has repeatedly tried to shift the focus away from the content of Comey's allegations and onto the manner of their release.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-Calif., House Minority Leader: I think there's no question he abused power.
"Over a fairly short period of time", Trump repeated.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: One hundred percent.
"So they're going to compound the problem", he said. And Comey testified, the president pressured him to end the probe of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: On the other side of the aisle, Democrats pounced on Comey's claims about the president. Comey told the Senate that Trump had asked him to pledge his loyalty over the investigation. They also asked the White House for any memos or recordings of the meetings, if they exist.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Republican Senator Susan Collins, who's on the Intelligence Committee, said Comey was wrong to leak his notes, but she defended him as well.