Comey evidence: Is Trump closer to obstruction of justice?

Pauline Gross
June 9, 2017

Mr. Comey said Mr. Trump never asked him to end the Russian Federation probe, and while Mr. Comey felt pressure to end his look at Mr. Flynn, the president never specifically ordered him to do so.

Trump's request to drop the Flynn investigation has been painted by experts as a potential violation of the political independence that is supposed to exist between the White House and the FBI.

"I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night, because it didn't dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation, there might be a tape", Comey said.

Trump said restoring freedom also means repealing and replacing the health care law enacted in 2010 by then-President Barack Obama, saying high deductibles and premiums have turned it into a "catastrophe". The committee will have a closed session following the hearing, in which classified information can be discussed.

"Comey stated plainly that the president and White House lied about the justification for his firing".

The testimony would serve to strengthen Mr Comey's credibility with congress, Mr Gerhardt said, possibly at the expense of the president. "What matters is the action that Trump took when it became clear that Comey was continuing the investigation". Comey explained Thursday that he did so because he "was honestly concerned that he might lie about nature of the meeting, and I thought it was important to document it".

The disclosures that followed Comey's firing have raised questions about why Comey, known in government for an independent streak and a willingness to buck protocol, did not speak out publicly while on the job, or at least make his objections directly known to the president.

Comey also staunchly defended his reputation and that of the bureau, saying that Trump tried to "defame" him and the FBI when he said it was "poorly led" and that the bureau's agents had lost confidence in him.

Democrat Senator Martin Heinrich led Mr Comey in a series of questioning that made clear that in all these questions Mr Trump didn't inquire about the danger to the United States posed by Russian Federation as a result of interference with our electoral system.

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Lordy, I Hope There Are Tapes': Highlights Of James Comey's Testimony
Comey continued, saying that he was shocked the president would ask him to "let things go" and was never sure of how to respond. Comey faced little real hostility from the senators, and the hearing's pace slowed under repetitive questioning.

Earlier in his testimony, Comey told Burr he simply would not draw any conclusions regarding obstruction of justice. "Otherwise this whopper would be everywhere!", Donald Trump Jr wrote. He said that the "Flynn stuff" was "very far from any kind of coercion or influence and certainly not obstruction".

In a statement shortly after the hearing, Trump's personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, acknowledged that Trump had asked Comey about Flynn and had said that the former national-security adviser was a "good guy".

Ryan said Trump's continued insistence to drop the investigation was due to his inexperience.

The Justice Department has not said whether the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is looking into any obstruction by Trump in addition to his mandate to examine Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination by Trump campaign associates.

"Lordy, I hope there are tapes", Comey said, suggesting such evidence would back up his account over the president's. But Comey added he could not discuss the reasons openly.

Comey also said he had a friend share one of his memos, which are unclassified, with The New York Times to help inspire the appointment of a special counsel.

Comey used his opening statement Thursday to detail the reasons why he believed the President was a liar and, then, throughout his testimony, countered Trump's accounts regularly. Even if Trump left office first - through impeachment or simply by losing re-election in 2020 - there is no guiding precedent in which any former president has been indicted on a charge of ordering a criminal investigation closed for improper reasons.

Trump abruptly fired Comey on May 9. Trump later said that he had Russian Federation on his mind as he did so.

Other reports by GizPress

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