President Donald Trump has finally responded to James Comey’s Capitol Hill testimony.
Focusing on James Comey’s statement that he had a friend leak a memo to the news media in order to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor, Trump said that “Comey is a leaker!” He also said that he has been totally and completely vindicated.
This is the first time Trump himself has issued any sort of response to the Comey hearing, although his lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, did release a statement on Thursday. This statement again focused on the leaking revelation and suggested that Comey should be investigated for this.
“We will leave it the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated,” Kasowitz said.
James Comey on Thursday testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, with this coming just about a month after Comey was fired by President Trump. During the hearing, Comey said that President Trump has been lying about him and that he took thorough notes of his meetings with Trump because he was concerned the president might be dishonest about their conversations.
When Trump refers to being “vindicated” in his tweet, he’s likely talking about the fact that Comey said during his testimony that he informed Trump that he is not personally under investigation. This is something Trump claimed to be true, and Comey confirmed it, although that does not mean that Donald Trump’s campaign is not under investigation; it also only means that Trump was not under investigation as of early May when Comey was fired.
In his written testimony, Comey described a number of meetings with President Trump, including one in which Trump allegedly asked him to drop the Michael Flynn investigation.
Comey writes, “He then said, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.’ I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.’ (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would ‘let this go.’”
The former FBI director also stated that President Trump asked for his loyalty during a dinner.
“A few moments later, the President said, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Comey said. “I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence.”
Trump through his lawyer has flat out denied that this happened.
“The President also never told Mr. Comey, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty’ in form or substance,” Marc Kasowitz said in a statement.
Comey has made clear that he was incredibly uncomfortable during his interactions with the president to the point that he says he asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prevent any future one-on-one conversations between Comey and Trump.
“I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me,” Comey said in his written testimony. “I told the AG that what had just happened — him being asked to leave while the FBI Director, who reports to the AG, remained behind — was inappropriate and should never happen. He did not reply.”
President Trump had previously denied that he pressured James Comey to end the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn. Asked during a press conference last month if he “at any time urge[d] former FBI director James Comey in any way, shape or form to close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn,” Trump responded, “No. Next question,” according to Politico.