Lies, defamation, tapes, leaks: Highlights from Comey's testimony

Questions to Comey ranged from the status of investigations to how many times he met with previous presidents, the interactions he had with Trump, and a wide variety of other subjects.

CNN reported earlier Thursday that fired FBI Director James Comey told senators in a closed hearing that Sessions may have had a third interaction with Russia's ambassador to the USA, according to people familiar with the briefing.

Comey authorized a Columbia Law School professor and friend to talk to a reporter with The New York Times and share the content of his memos-something he thought would lead to the appointment of a special counsel.

Sources said that despite being called a liar by the man he fired during yesterday's three-hour Senate intelligence committee grilling, Mr Trump was relieved at the outcome.

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.

McGovern explained that the idea Trump obstructing justice could serve as a basis for impeachment "falls flat" after Comey's testimony.

The only way to find out whether recordings exist may be through a request by Robert Mueller, the special counsel looking into the matter.

Trump's private attorney, Marc Kasowitz, seized on Comey's admission that he had told Trump on multiple occasions that he was not personally under investigation and maintained the testimony made clear that Trump "never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone".

In his public testimony, Comey did not disclose any links between Trump advisers and alleged Russian attempts to meddle in the 2016 USA presidential election, an issue that has distracted from White House policy goals such as overhauling the us healthcare system and cutting taxes.

"The administration chose to defame me and, more importantly, the Federal Bureau of Investigation by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader".

"I was honestly concerned that he might lie about our meeting", he said. "I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning".

He added: "I really want to have a very good first contact with President Trump". Comey's testimony is certain to dominate the question-and-answer session.

To many it appeared the hearing was Comey versus President Trump - but in reality, it was Putin versus the United States.

Comey said his distrust of Trump prompted him to take meticulous notes immediately after each of their nine discussions this year.

During much of the increasingly heated debate surrounding the FBI's investigation of Russia's role in the election, Trump has chafed over news leaks, arguing that news organizations had not given them proper attention.

  • Larry Hoffman