Republicans close ranks around Trump during Comey testimony

Rather, when Trump asked Comey to "let this go", Trump was referring specifically to the ancillary criminal investigation into whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn lied to FBI investigators.

The congressional testimony by Comey on Thursday confirmed that Russia's interference in the 2016 United States election did not affect at all the final vote count, President Donald Trump's outside counsel Marc Kasowitz said in a statement on Thursday.

Kasowitz said Trump never asked Comey for "loyalty", as Comey swore under oath to the Senate.

MSNBC host Chris Matthews believes Trump-Russia collusion theories "came apart" due to former FBI Director James Comey's testimony Thursday.

The Senate panel's top Democrat, Senator Mark Warner, said in his opening statement that Mr Comey's testimony showed Mr Trump violated guidelines put in place after the 1970s Watergate scandal to prevent White House interference in FBI investigations.

Republican Senator John Cornyn made the point that the Mr Trump's third ask - for Mr Comey to "lift the cloud" by saying publicly the president was not under investigation - is a reasonable one.

Amid Comey's testimony that Trump and his team lied about the reasons for his firing and the revelation that Comey himself was behind bombshell memo leaks, he remained steadfast in his insistence that Russian Federation remains a threat to the U.S.

Comey's accusations could further mire Trump's administration in legal difficulties, as special counsel Robert Mueller, appointed by the Justice Department after Comey was sacked, and several congressional committees investigate alleged Russian efforts to influence the election. But we will come out bigger and better and stronger than ever.

"The president's new at this".

Comey said he was stunned by the conversation.

In a startling disclosure, Comey revealed that after his firing he actually tried to spur the special counsel's appointment by giving one of his memos about Trump to a friend of his to release to the press. But the truth is he also wanted to keep his job, and the power that goes with it, and believed that by not challenging Trump directly he could do that and keep the Russian Federation investigation going.

"I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that's an offense". The Times ran a story about the memo contents later that day.

"Those were lies, plain and simple", Mr Comey said of the administration's claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was poorly led and in disarray under his leadership, and that agents had lost confidence in him.

He explained that he was trying to remember what he said, and he thought he said something about agreeing with Trump that Flynn is a good guy, but he didn't make any promises or indication that he was going to drop the case. I don't know, if I would have had the presence of mind, I would have said to the president, 'Sir, that's wrong.' I don't know whether I would have. "We will not back down from doing what is right. we know how to fight and we will never give up". Trump's public statements on the firing have caused numerous legal experts to warn that Trump may have obstructed justice by improperly interfering with an FBI investigation. But a replacement health care bill has yet to clear Congress despite seven years of pledges by Republicans to scrap the law and start over, and despite the fact that the GOP has full control of the White House and Congress.

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