Comey was also asked if he was sacked because of the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election and the Kremlin’s possible ties with the trump campaign.
McKenna says special counsel Mueller’s investigation will likely examine all circumstances and interactions between the president and then-FBI Director Comey. The crux of his highly-anticipated remarks was released by the Senate panel Wednesday – and it only confirmed the hype around his appearance while detailing the extent to which President Trump pressed him about the Russian Federation investigation. Specifically, he was asked why he took it upon himself to write memos of every visit and call he made with President Trump. There is an open counterintelligence investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign worked with that foreign adversary to help that campaign win the White House.
Finally, Comey charges that Trump told an untruth about him and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It may be that the special counsel looks at Director Comey’s testimony, his memos and all the other evidence and concludes that this may have been inappropriate, but it’s not obstruction of justice.
Comey said that as of May, when he was sacked, Trump was not personally under FBI investigation – offering, finally, the public acknowledgment Trump had been requesting so assiduously. “The thing is, this was just another log on the fire, because America is going to continue to push forward on this”.
Trump repeatedly announced that Comey had told him that he was not personally under investigation but, prior to Thursday morning’s testimony, Comey had never confirmed that Trump was being truthful about the lack of an investigation.
In fact, there have been several cases showing it is possible to obstruct justice using those words.
“We must get to the bottom of this issue because nobody, including the president, is above the law”, she said.
The ex-FBI director’s testimony recounts his conversations with the apparent precision of a veteran lawman.
And, Mr Comey said, he doesn’t regret keeping the president’s conversations within a tight circle: “No action was the most important thing I could do to make sure there was no interference in the investigation”.
“Not in his words, no”, Comey said.
Shortly after firing Comey last month, President Trump tweeted that Comey “better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
Comey also revealed that he’d orchestrated the public release of information about his private conversations with the president in an effort to further the investigation. “And Kasowitz convinced him that not only will I defend you, but I will attack Comey where there’s room to”.
Comey’s remarks also resounded deeply with Charles LaBella, a retired top Justice Department prosecutor. He is a good guy.
“The president never, in form, or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggestions that Mr. Comey ‘let Flynn go, ‘” he said. “I’m not saying it’s an acceptable excuse”.
While Trump’s schedule was mostly clear in the morning, he also held a meeting with national security adviser H.R. McMaster, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to the Post – a potential distraction from Comey’s testimony on Capitol Hill.
Comey said that Lynch asked him to refer to the probe as a “matter” not an investigation. But most legal scholars, as well as the Justice Department, say it can’t be done under the Constitution. Comey said he felt Trump was “looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job”. Comey explained that he made his account of the meeting public because he believed such a move would “prompt the appointment of a special counsel” to oversee the Russian Federation investigation. For that reason, the lawyer’s sternly worded-not to mention typo-ridden-letter should be seen not as an actual threat to have Comey investigated, but as something closer to a press release.