June 28, 2017

Quotes from former FBI Director James Comey's testimony

10 June 2017, 06:30 | Grady King

Ten takeaways from Comey's testimony

Comey's caution to meet Trump's tweets in Russia hearing

"The New York Times put out an article with no direct sources that said that the Trump campaign had constant contacts with Russian spies, basically, you know, some treasonous type of accusations", he said.

"Those were lies, plain and simple", Comey said. That, Comey said, anxious him.

Trump's comment tracks with Republican talking points about the hearing, where the Republican National Committee and White House urged surrogates to emphasize the fact that Comey clearly said the President was never an explicit subject of the Russian Federation probe during his time at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "I took it as, this is what he wants me to do". This scandal has a long way to go, and we don't know yet if it's something this presidency can survive.

Comey spoke both plainly and eloquently on Thursday about why he chose to memorialize his conversations with Trump while still on the job at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Comey said that a tweet by the president on May 12 convinced him to leak contents of his memos documenting his conversations with Trump to the media.

She also joked she doesn't know if Trump is taping his Oval Office conversations, but will "try to look under the couch". The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director said Trump's private comments urging him to drop the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn led him to tell his Justice Department colleagues they needed to be careful. "In fact, when I chose to just do it, I said to myself, I said, 'You know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made up story, '" he says. There will be much debate over what "hope" meant in that context.

Comey's accusations could further mire Trump's administration in legal difficulties, as special counsel Robert Mueller, appointed by the Justice Department after Comey was sacked, and several congressional committees investigate alleged Russian efforts to influence the election. "You don't conduct major investigations by not impaneling a grand jury because then you can not compel any kind of testimony or get search warrants", he said.

"Hoping and telling are two very different things, you would think that a guy like Comey would know that", Trump Jr. concluded. The truth here is we have yet to learn the truth. But Mueller has the authority to expand the probe more widely. And while he will be the person to determine whether the president indeed tried to obstruct justice, it will fall on Congress to take action if he does. Considering what we know about Trump and his freakish refusal to acknowledge Russia's role, this is not all that surprising.

This wasn't about any political party on this day, as much as some Republicans acted as if they still found it in their best interest to run interference for President Trump, even with the predictable attacks on Comey's character from yahoos on the right.

Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders disputed Comey's testimony when asked about it during an off-camera briefing at the White House, saying "I can definitely say the president's not a liar". Maybe the American people don't.

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