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08 June 2017, 05:07 | Tami Weber
Comey to say Trump asked for loyalty, told him to let Flynn probe go
As Democrats and some Republicans criticize President Donald Trump after the release of firedFBI Director James Comey's testimony, which alleges that Trump said over dinner, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty", one of the men Trump considered to replace Comey is revealing that no such request was made to him.
First, I disagree with Ben about whether the Comey statement vindicates Trump's claim, in his letter firing Comey, that Comey "on three separate occasions" informed the President that he was "not under investigation".
What To Know: After Comey was sacked May 9, reports emerged that President Donald Trump asked him to drop the probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Articles of impeachment would have to be passed by the House of Representatives, and most Republicans on Wednesday evening appeared to close ranks in support of Trump, despite the details of Comey's statement.
Trump asked Comey if he wanted to remain Federal Bureau of Investigation director, which Comey said he "found odd because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him I meant to".
Comey will also tell lawmakers that he told Trump he was not personally under investigation, validating the president's previous claims that he was not the target of the probe into his campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation.
The president's statement followed a query by Trump as to whether or not Comey would stay on as Director, which Comey stated he found "strange". Just this week, a string of early morning tweets from Trump put in peril a major U.S. military base in Qatar, which his Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis once ran.
Trump "agreed, but then re-emphasized the problems this was causing him", Comey said.
According to a Morning Consult poll, 69 per cent of voters say Trump uses Twitter too much. According to Comey, Trump was acutely aware of the political toll of the investigation, complaining that the probe had left a "cloud" that was "impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country". "The express discussion of loyalty is disconcerting", and could heighten speculation that the "president was trying to exert some pressure or at least exert some influence over the Russian Federation investigation", Gerhardt said. Contrary to Ben, that seems to me like a fair reading of what Comey says he told Trump.
Comey was chosen to deliver the message because he was not leaving office on January 20, unlike the other top officials, because he had a fixed 10-year term. Rogers' pitiable reply-"I stand by my previous statement, Sir"-was as good as a yes".
And Comey is poised Thursday to take that fact out of the realm of anonymous (and accurate) reporting and formally place it in the record publicly, under threat of perjury if it's not true.
"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go", Comey quoted Trump as saying. (4) Personal relationships matter a great deal in government, but they aren't everything; Comey could not go soft on Michael Flynn just because Trump likes Flynn or fears what Flynn might say. By Comey's account, Trump asked him to drop any further investigation into Flynn.
Two encounters between Mr Comey and Mr Trump have been at the centre of those concerns.
Some legal experts said Comey's testimony could strengthen any impeachment case built on obstruction of justice, but USA markets shrugged off the news from the testimony for lack of any major disclosures. Comey describes nine one-on-one conversations with Trump in four months.
Democrats believe the exchange between Trump and Comey about Flynn is more evidence that could build a case that the President obstructed justice - which in several times in history has been regarded as an impeachable offense. She did not support Trump for president, and although unfailingly gentle and polite she has not been shy about voicing her criticism of him.
"I understand but I'm not going to go down that road in public forum", said Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence.
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