Trump calls Comey 'leaker', claims vindication

"The White House had originally said that [Comey] was sacked as a result of dissatisfaction with the way director Comey had handled the Hillary Clinton matter last July, and the president promptly undercut that defence as a sham", Lacovara said.

Just because Trump wasn't a target when he talked to Comey doesn't mean he's in the clear now, said Andrew Herman, a partner with Miller & Chevalier who focuses on Congressional investigations and campaign finance law.

Donald Trump Jr tweeted repeatedly during the closely-watched hearing on Thursday (Friday NZ time), Comey's first public comment since his firing as FBI director and the investigation into Russia's meddling in the US Presidential election. Comey said it was clear pressure on the person in charge of the investigation.

One observer chose to interpret Comey's use of "no fuzz" as saying a "high-confidence judgment" about the likelihood that Russian Federation tried to tip the scales in the 2016 race for president. Comey revealed Trump was not under investigation in the initial probe into Russian election collusion; he declared Barack Obama's former attorney-general urged him not to use the word "investigation" in describing the Hillary Clinton email affair; and he admitted tipping off reporters, prompting Trump's legal team to suggest he should be investigated too.

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication", he declared Friday at daybreak, bringing the focus back to the White House and breaking risky new ground by accusing a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director of perjury. Potential evidence to review will include the memos Comey wrote following his conversations with President Trump. "I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning".

Good Lord, release the tapes!

Since when, by the way, does an underling get to determine whether private Oval Office conversations with the president are subject to executive privilege? "Lordy, I hope there are tapes", chuckles rolled through the hearing room.

As humiliating as the hearing might have been for Mr. Trump, Americans could at least take comfort in how committee members conducted themselves.

Mr Comey told United States lawmakers at a hearing before a Senate panel that he was confused by "the shifting explanations" given by the Trump administration for his firing on May 9.

"But that is a conclusion I am sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that is an offence". And indeed it did. He said Trump might have similarly hoped to induce an obligation in a March 30 phone call suggesting that he hadn't questioned the Democratic political ties of the wife of Comey's deputy.

As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, the lawyer also accused Comey of misstating the timing of the leak.

James Comey finally testified Thursday.

In fact, Comey's timeline appears to be correct.

Comey said it was that tweet that prompted him to ask a friend to reveal the contents of the memo to a reporter the following Tuesday, May 16.

Apart from whether crimes were committed, the evidence is compelling that Trump engaged in a serious abuse of the office in trying to end a criminal investigation and in insisting that the FBI director pledge loyalty to the president above all else. The Russia investigation isn't "fake news", it's about as serious a matter as he has encountered.

There is no defending Trump's treatment of Comey.

Comey asserted Thursday that Trump fired him because of the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. John McCain's line of questioning, and judging by social media, he wasn't alone.

The Russia question has put an asterisk next to the president's election win, put the White House on a war footing, sunk his poll numbers and sucked up oxygen in Congress - which has launched multiple investigations.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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