Trump goes on offensive against ex-FBI chief, calling him a 'leaker'

Jun 10, 2017, 09:21

Former FBI director James Comey is greeted by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, the beginning of the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Washington.

The investigation has focused on possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump campaign aides and the dissemination of fake news articles hostile to Hillary Clinton and of emails stolen from the accounts of Democratic Party workers during the presidential campaign.

"The hearing greatly sharpened the focus of this matter onto whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he isolated FBI Director Comey after a White House meeting and pressured him to drop an active criminal investigation for no proper goal", says law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who led the Justice Department's prosecution of Enron Corp.

McCain said what he was "trying to get at was whether Mr. Comey believes that any of his interactions with the President rise to the level of obstruction of justice".

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On May 12, Trump tweeted that Comey "better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations". 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. All of which convinced Mr. Comey to keep copious notes, to not discuss these encounters with many others (for fear of chilling the investigation) and to generally distrust Mr. Trump. They said Trump's intent to interfere with the investigation could be inferred from his conduct, such as telling advisors like Jared Kushner and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Comey's direct boss, to leave the room before the conversation with Comey. On Thursday, Comey provided additional information about the scope of that inquiry and whether it will target the president. Instead, Trump let his lawyer do the talking for him. "The Senate Intelligence Committee investigation and special counsel Mueller ought to get to the bottom of this matter". "He is a good guy and has been through a lot", Trump told Comey, according to the latter's recollection. The Justice Department issued a statement later on Thursday saying Sessions stepped aside from the Russian Federation probe only because he had been part of Trump's campaign.

Earlier Thursday, during his public testimony before the Senate, Comey said The New York Times report was "in the main.not true" in response to questioning from Sen.

"The nature of the person", Comey said.

Trump's lawyer Kasowitz disputed both statements on Thursday, essentially pitting the two accounts against each other. The norm breached by Trump-that FBI investigations must be independent and nonpartisan-serves the vital function of making it harder for presidents to use the Bureau to persecute their enemies and shield wrongdoing by their allies.

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Later Comey was pressed about why he accommodatingly told Trump in the March 30 call that he "would see what we could do" to lift the "cloud" of the Russian Federation investigation. "The president is new at this, he's new to government, so he's not steeped in the long-running protocols that's established between DOJ, FBI, and White Houses".

Comey also pointed out that they were right - Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation less than two weeks later.

President Donald Trump on Friday broke his silence on Twitter following explosive testimony by fired FBI Director James Comey, declaring "total and complete vindication". "But that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work toward to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that's an offense".

One of Trump Jr.'s biggest gripes was when Comey leaked his own private memos to the press.

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