Science

Competing realities: What James Comey said vs. what Donald Trump has said

Competing realities: What James Comey said vs. what Donald Trump has said

President Trump's outside lawyer flatly denied that the president ever asked former FBI Director James Comey for a pledge of loyalty, and he accused Comey of disclosing privileged communications with the president to the news media, without authorization.

If the president tried to hinder or block a federal investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election, he may have committed a crime.

"As a private citizen I felt free to share that", Comey explained. "You watch", he said.

Comey said at the hearing that he interpreted comments made by Trump to him as a directive to shut down the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. And on Thursday, Comey said "in the main, [the article] was not true".

Comey would not say whether he thought the president sought to obstruct justice, but added it would be up to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is now investigating the Russian Federation allegations, "to sort that out".

Comey confirmed that when Michael Flynn was sacked as national security adviser on February 13, the retired lieutenant general was under criminal investigation for statements in connection with Russian contacts and for the contacts themselves.

"Those were lies, plain and simple", Comey said of the White House contention that he had lost the confidence of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Comey said Trump didn't issue a direct order to Comey to release Flynn from the investigation, but "I took it as a direction".

Though Republicans worked to discredit Comey and to blunt the impact of his testimony, the ex-director's statement deepened questions about the basis for his May 9 dismissal and about whether Trump's actions constituted obstruction of justice.

Comey said he didn't know.

"I should not be involved in investigating a campaign I had a role in", Sessions said. Comey's disclosure that the person who leaked his memos of meeting with Trump was a Columbia Law School professor led to a stampede on the school's website, causing it to crash. Pulling a gun and telling someone "I hope you will give me your money" kind of is.




"Let's find out if there were tapes, and if there were, let's have them".

He said that while he found the February exchange in the Oval Office disturbing, "that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work towards, to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that's an offense". And indeed it did.

Marc Kasowitz (Trump's lawyer) said that the president is "entitled to expect loyalty" from those serving the administration.

Now, one of America's most looped-in, tactical and tight-lipped intelligence officers agrees: the New York Times's reporting on links between Manafort, Stone and Page and foreign agents looks an very bad lot like a mistake, at best.

"I've seen the tweet about tapes", he said, referencing a May tweet from Trump. "Now it's a credibility contest between him and the president, and I think it's safe to say Comey is winning that contest".

Comey said all of the contents of each conversation with Trump were recorded right after each conversation based on memory, because he was concerned that the president may "lie about the nature of our meeting". But the move appears to show that team Trump is trying to go on the offensive after Comey's testimony. But he also testified that another member of the FBI's leadership team believed that Trump's conduct "will fall within the scope" of the Russian Federation investigation and was therefore "reluctant" to assure the president that he was not personally under investigation.

Comey said he was "a little confused" by Sen.

That Trump was not personally being investigated is a red herring.

But his point wasn't at all clear, as the senator himself later acknowledged. In a statement after the hearing, he joked that he "got the sense from Twitter" that his line of questioning "went over people's heads". But he added: "Again, I take the president's words".


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