President Donald Trump early Friday broke his silence about former FBI Director James Comey's much-covered testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on his interactions with the president before he fired him.
That decision, Comey said, came three days after Trump posted a tweet that read "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" "Those were lies, plain and simple". You know that, I know that, everybody knows that.
Comey used the "L word" again while explaining why he chose to take notes during his meetings with the president.
Comey said his one-on-one meetings and calls with the president made him uncomfortable and that he never agreed to Trump's entreaties, including a request for his "loyalty".
Marc Kasowitz, the President's lawyer, fired back at Comey Thursday, saying the President hadn't asked him to drop an investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Career Justice Department officials had been recommending he step aside, Comey said. Comey added that "matter" was the same word that the Clinton camp used. "I was so stunned by the conversation I just took it in". Trump has said he did no such thing.
Trump critics say any efforts by the president to hinder an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe could amount to obstruction of justice.
In the House, aides to the chairmen of the Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform Committees said they had nothing to say about whether Comey's testimony might reshape their investigations.
"Lordy, I hope there are tapes", Mr Comey said, suggesting such evidence would back up his account over the president's. And indeed it did. Comey's testimony drew renewed attention to Sessions and his relationship with Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak. And Comey largely discredited a February 14 New York Times story that alleged Trump's campaign aides "had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence".
In fact, Comey's timeline appears to be correct. The president followed up with another tweet that praised the Fox News morning television show, Fox & Friends, of which Trump is a big fan. And if Comey left uncertainty by declining to answer some questions, his remarks can be seen as shoring up Trump's contention that Democrats and the media haven't made a case for the claim that he and/or his campaign colluded with Vladimir Putin to steal the White House.
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.
"You may have taken it as a direction, but that's not what he said", said Sen.
Comey asserted Thursday that Trump fired him because of the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.
Trump had stayed unusually quiet on Thursday, refraining from weighing in on the testimony gripping the country both on Twitter and at several public appearances. "Maybe if I were stronger I would have". Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia asked Comey the key question: "Do you believe this arises to obstruction of justice?". Some of the king's followers interpreted that as a royal edict, and Becket soon met an untimely end.