Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Industry | By Dora Warner

Many in GOP unshaken by Comey's testimony against Trump

Many in GOP unshaken by Comey's testimony against Trump

Speaking to reporters for the first time since 18 million Americans watched Comey's testimony before the Senate, Trump called the former FBI head a "liar" and said he never asked him to drop an investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over his contacts with Russian Federation.

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication. and WOW, Comey is a leaker!"

Former FBI director James Comey testifies before a hearing on Thursday.

Comey told the Senate of multiple conversations alone with the president, during which he said Trump pressed him to show "loyalty", to back off on the FBI investigation of aide Michael Flynn and to disclose that Trump himself was not under investigation as the FBI probed Russian interference in the election and ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

While Trump's alleged interactions with Comey were seen by many as grossly out of line, the Comey testimony did not provide grounds for obstruction charges, these scholars say.

Asked by a reporter if he had told Comey to drop the investigations into former national security adviser Flynn, Trump said, "I didn't say that".

According to Politico, the request came from Texas Republican Rep. Mike Conaway and California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the two men now at the helm of the House's investigation into the Trump-Russia affair.

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The separately wrote the White House counsel Don McGahn asking whether White House recordings exist, and if they do, that they be produced to the committee by June 23.

Trump hinted that tapes of his conversations might exist in the days following his dismissal of Comey. He said he leaked some of those notes last month, hoping to prompt the naming of a special counsel. "You're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer". "I'll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future", he said.

With a single tweet, Mr Trump also castigated Mr Comey for giving an account of his conversation with the president to a lawyer who shared it with a news outlet.

That's a significant statement for Trump to make, given that Comey was testifying under oath.

"He can discount or downplay what he said or, as he has suggested, directly contradict Comey".

Mueller is investigating whether Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 presidential election and whether members of the Trump campaign team co-ordinated efforts with officials from Moscow. "And there would be nothing wrong if I did say it according to everybody that I read today, but I did not say that".

Trump's presidency is at stake, and if there is a pattern of obstruction of justice in his behaviour - the sort of thing that Comey's testimony could reinforce - the repercussions could be severe.

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A few presidents have voluntarily appeared before congressional committees, most recently Gerald Ford, who was questioned before the House judiciary committee to explain his pardon of former president Richard Nixon.

"Lordy, I hope there are tapes", Comey told the Senate committee Thursday, urging that they be released.

"The American people deserve to hear the president's side of the story in a similar forum - under oath and open to the press", Senator Chris Murphy of CT said in a statement.

The leaders of the House Russia investigation, Reps.

If Trump was to renege on his "100 per cent" pledge to testify under oath with Mueller, the special counsel could subpoena him. Whether he obstructed justice remains for the facts to come forward.

"While Comey was criticized for his public comments during the campaign, none of them, nor the leaked memo, violates DOJ's rule prohibiting disclosure of information to the media", said Stephen Gillers, an ethics expert at the New York University Law School. "We are doing really well", he said.

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