Financial Times - Trump accuses ousted FBI director Comey of lying to Congress

Financial Times - Trump accuses ousted FBI director Comey of lying to Congress

the media pirate

June 10, 2017. Demetri Sevastopulo.

US president denies parts of testimony and says he would give evidence under oath.

President Donald Trump accused James Comey, the ousted FBI director, of lying to Congress and said he would be willing to testifying under oath about their meetings.

Speaking the day after Mr Comey told Congress that Mr Trump had asked for loyalty and urged him to halt a probe into Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, the president denied key parts of the testimony Mr Comey provided under oath.

Asked whether he had urged Mr Comey to abandon an investigation into Mr Flynn, Mr Trump said “I didn’t say that”. Pressed on whether he would agree to provide his own account of his private meetings with Mr Comey, Mr Trump responded: “100 per cent.”

Earlier on Friday, Mr Trump used Twitter to hit back at Mr Comey, saying he was vindicated by Thursday’s congressional testimony despite “so many false statements and lies”.

At a press conference with the visiting Romanian president, Mr Trump said Mr Comey had “confirmed a lot of what I said, and some of the things that he said just weren’t true”.

Mr Trump said Mr Comey had shown that there was “no collusion, no obstruction”.

In his testimony, however, Mr Comey said he was “sure” that Robert Mueller, the former FBI director appointed to lead an independent investigation into any links between Russia and the Trump campaign, would be looking into whether the president had attempted to obstruct justice.

Mr Trump also called Mr Comey a “leaker” after the former FBI boss told Congress that he had released a memo about his private meetings with Mr Trump to a friend, with instructions to share them with the media. Mr Comey said he had taken the decision after Mr Trump had indicated in a tweet that there might be a secret audio recording of their conversations.

Asked on Friday if such recordings existed, Mr Trump said: “Well, I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future.” Pressed again later on the same topic, he added that “you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer”.

The White House has repeatedly refused to say whether any audio recordings exist. At the congressional hearing on Thursday, Mr Comey said, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” as they would back up his testimony to the Senate intelligence committee.

Comey accuses Trump of ‘lies’

The House intelligence committee — one of three congressional committees looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — asked the White House to clarify whether any audio recording existed.

Mr Trump did not tweet about the hearing on Thursday. However, he returned to social media on Friday morning, tweeting: “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication. and WOW Comey is a leaker!”

During testimony before the Senate intelligence committee Mr Comey described Mr Trump as untrustworthy and accused the White House of defaming him and lying about the “disarray” at the FBI as a pretence to sack him.

Mr Comey told the committee that he was “stunned” when Mr Trump asked him to drop an investigation into Mr Flynn in a private Oval Office meeting, saying: “I took it as a direction that this is what he wants me to do.”

“The administration then chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI, by saying that the organisation was in disarray . . . that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader,” Mr Comey said. “Those were lies, plain and simple”.

Mr Comey suggested that he may have been sacked to change the way the Russia probe was being conducted: “It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavour was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a very big deal.”

Speaking after Thursday’s hearing, Marc Kasowitz, the president’s personal lawyer, said Mr Trump never sought to impede the probe into possible Russian interference in the presidential election.

He said leaks by Mr Comey should themselves be investigated. He also noted after the hearing that Mr Comey had confirmed that Mr Trump “was not under investigation” as part of any Russia probe.

At the same press conference, Mr Trump also offered his support for Article 5 — the mutual defence clause that underpins the Nato alliance. His comments came just weeks after the US president stunned Nato allies by failing to mention his backing for Article 5 at a Nato summit in Brussels.

Read more paid articles free: