WASHINGTON — President Trump slammed James Comey as a “leaker” and a liar on Friday — and committed “100%” to testify under oath to refute the former FBI director’s allegations that he directed him to drop a probe into a top aide.
“No collusion, no obstruction, he’s a leaker,” Trump said during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.
He flatly denied Comey’s claims that he asked his then-FBI boss for loyalty and later asked him to drop a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Despite Comey’s suggestion in sworn testimony Thursday that the President may have obstructed justice in the Flynn case, Trump said the former lawman’s testimony exonerated him.
“We were very, very happy, and, frankly, James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said, and some of the things that he said just weren’t true,” he said.
He denied Comey’s claim that Trump had asked him to pledge his loyalty during a private dinner the two had at the White House.
“I hardly know the man, I’m not going to say ‘I want you to pledge allegiance.’ … I didn’t say that.”
When asked if he’d agree to testify under oath to refute Comey’s under-oath claims, Trump said he said he would — “100%.”
“I would be glad to tell (special counsel Robert Mueller) exactly what I told you,” he said.
The remarks, at a bilateral press conference with Romania’s president, are Trump’s first extensive public comments since Comey’s bombshell testimony on Thursday that Trump demanded his “loyalty” and in a later meeting brought up Flynn and said he hoped Comey would “let this go.”
Trump was silent on Comey’s allegations on Thursday, but took to Twitter early Friday morning, where he effectively accused Comey of committing perjury by lying under oath
He maintained Comey’s testimony vindicated him because he testified that Trump hadn’t been personally under investigation by the feds in their wide-ranging probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election — ignoring that numerous members of his campaign are.
“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication” he tweeted.
Trump repeatedly refused to say whether or not he’d secretly recorded his conversations with Comey, as he suggested in a tweet.
“I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future,” he said when asked if there were tapes of his conversations with the former FBI director. “I’m not hinting anything. I’ll tell you about it over a very short period of time. … Oh, you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don’t you worry.”
America watches as Comey testifies
Comey made clear that he’d be more than happy to go to the tape.
“I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” he said Thursday.
Despite Trump’s claim of vindication, Comey’s testimony appears to be leading to more legal headaches for the President.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat called on the panel to begin investigating possible obstruction of justice by the President based on Comey’s testimony about Flynn.
“It is my strong recommendation that the Judiciary Committee investigate all issues that raise a question of obstruction of justice. These issues should be developed by our legal staff, presented to us, and be subject to full committee hearings,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who sits on both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, said in a Friday evening statement.
Shortly after Trump’s Rose Garden comments, the House Intelligence Committee officially sent a bipartisan request to the White House Counsel’s Office to answer “whether any White House recordings or memoranda” of Trump’s conversations with Comey were made, and, if they still exist, asked for copies of them by June 23.
The committee also asked Comey for copies of his memos of their conversations.
Donald Trump in the White House
The Senate Judiciary Committee also sent a bipartisan letter to Columbia University Prof. Daniel Richman, Comey’s close friend whom he used to pass along information to the media about his memos on meetings with Trump, demanding that he immediately share anything he had on those memos.
In the meantime, Trump’s personal attorney sought to argue that his seemingly inaccurate misstatements accusing Comey of lying in his Thursday testimony were actually correct.
Marc Kasowitz claimed in his statement Thursday that “Although Mr. Comey testified that he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from those memos the day before the referenced tweet.”
That seems incorrect: The May 16 Times story didn’t come out until after Trump’s threatening tweet, and the paper put out a statement that they hadn’t had any contact with Richman before that.
But Kasowitz doubled down on his earlier comments, saying that his “statement was accurate” and not referring to that story, instead referring to an earlier Times story “describing the same dinner” and arguing that “it is obvious that whomever was the source” for that piece “got that information from the memos or from someone reading the memos.”
It wasn’t immediately made clear who the Times’ source was, but that story could have come from anyone Comey had talked to immediately after his fateful private dinner with Trump — he’d testified that he’d told a number of senior FBI officials about it — or anyone who’d talked to them.
Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the committee, both said Thursday they believed Comey’s account of the events.
“And I think you saw today the overwhelming majority of the intel members, Democrats and Republicans, feel that Jim Comey is credible. Even folks who have been his critics don’t question his integrity, his commitment to the rule of law and his intelligence,” Warner said.
With News Wire Services.
Source : http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-testify-comey-lied-won-talk-tapes-article-1.3234809