Political News

Trump punches back, accuses Comey of lying to Congress

Posted June 9

— Punching back a day after his fired FBI director's damaging testimony, President Donald Trump on Friday accused James Comey of lying to Congress and said he was "100 percent" willing to testify under oath about their conversations.

Trump cryptically refused to say whether those private exchanges were taped — a matter at the heart of the conflicting accounts of what passed between them at a time when Comey was leading an FBI investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election and its ties to the Trump campaign.

He asserted that nothing in Comey's testimony to the Senate pointed to collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice. "Yesterday showed no collusion, no obstruction," Trump said.

He further denied ever asking Comey for his "loyalty," contradicting Comey's detailed sworn testimony about a private dinner the two men had in the White House.

"No I didn't say that," Trump stated abruptly, taking questions at a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in the Rose Garden. Asked if he would make that denial under oath, he said, "100 percent."

Trump's aides have dodged questions about whether conversations relevant to the Russia investigation have been recorded, and so did the president, in series of teases.

"Well, I'll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future," Trump said. Pressed on the issue, he insisted he wasn't "hinting anything," before adding, "Oh you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don't worry."

The House intelligence committee sent a letter Friday asking White House counsel Don McGahn whether any tape recordings or memos of Comey's conversations with the president exist now or had existed in the past. The committee also sent a letter to Comey asking for any notes or memos in his possession about the discussions he had with Trump before being abruptly fired last month. The committee is seeking the materials by June 23.

Comey told the Senate intelligence committee Thursday about several one-on-one interactions with the president, during which he said Trump pressed him to show "loyalty," to back off on the FBI investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and to disclose that Trump himself was not under investigation.

Comey said he refused on all points, told senators of the detailed memos he had written after his conversations with Trump and said he hoped those conversations were taped because he is confident of their veracity.

Standing with the president of Romania, a NATO partner, Trump at last confirmed his commitment to the alliance's mutual defense pact, Article 5, uttering words he deliberately did not say when he spoke at NATO's gathering in Belgium last month. On Friday he said he was "committing the United States to Article 5."

He also accused Qatar, a key U.S. military partner, of funding terrorism "at a very high level," and said solving the problem in the tiny Persian Gulf nation could be "the beginning of the end of terrorism." It was a forceful endorsement of this week's move by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to cut off ties to Qatar, but a very different message from the one delivered just an hour before by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson had called on the Arab nations to immediately ease their blockade on Qatar.

Trump also saluted the United States' relationship with Romania and praised its contribution to the global fight against terror.

The president had previewed his attacks against Comey in an early-morning tweet that broke his previous day's silence on his favorite social media megaphone.

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication," Trump wrote. It was a stunning accusation, suggesting that the former FBI director had lied to Congress, while under oath.

He also seized on Comey's revelation that he had directed a friend to release contents of memos he'd written documenting his conversations with the president to a reporter.

"...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" Trump wrote at 6:10 a.m. He derisively repeated the "leaker" moniker when speaking to reporters in the Rose Garden.

Trump's private attorney, Marc Kasowitz, seized on Comey's admission that he had orchestrated the public release of the information. Kasowitz is expected to file a complaint with the Justice Department inspector general next week, according to a person close to the legal team who agreed to speak before the filing on condition that the person's name is not used.

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.

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Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Mary Clare Jalonick, Josh Lederman and Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

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Follow Woodward and Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CalWd and https://twitter.com/colvinj

57 Comments

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  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jun 10, 8:54 p.m.
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    i trust President Trump. Finally have some to tell the truth after 8 years of a lying coward who let Americans die in Benghazi. And bow down to other countries and apologize.

  • Tom Baker Jun 10, 6:44 p.m.
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    I don't think Trump needs to get impeached. Lap dog Ryan does not have the guts anyway. Trump is so deep in water he cannot swim in that he will one day use an opportunity to step down as long as he feels he can keep his phony strongman image alive. A health scare would work for him. It doesn't even have to be real, as so many things surrounding him.

  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jun 10, 6:07 p.m.
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    Hey WRAL want to report on lying, why don't you report on the story about Hillary telling Democrat Candidates to lie to get elected.

  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jun 10, 5:51 p.m.
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    agree but liberal Media has to keep stirring

  • Michael Bawden Jun 10, 4:37 p.m.
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    Do you have your "IMPEACH TRUMP" bumper sticker yet? Seen a couple around town! Get with yor friends and get one. Dont forget to put your pink hat visible in back window. Free zip ties are avaiable on Mondays on Jones street around 5pm.

  • Chad Stinner Jun 10, 3:49 p.m.
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    At this point, Trump and his administration have been caught in serious bold faced lies so many times they are completely untrustworthy. When Comey did not explain why he release the information about Clinton, it was truly suspect. Now that an explanation that makes sense is out, the ire over his actions is lessened.

    My hope is that the special investigation finds enough to topple his entire empire. He is a terrible human being on every account and cares nothing for anyone else.

  • Tom Baker Jun 10, 3:41 p.m.
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    Trump is an empty suit. He loves to make statements just to flip flop on them at the next opportunity. So sad.

  • John Archer Jun 10, 1:06 p.m.
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    Nobody wants their taxes raised. Get real. But we should expect the taxes we do pay to be spent wisely. $3 million every weekend to play golf? Not good roi. The new AHCA will take more money out of your pocket than the tax hikes we'll see with the new tax plan. Unless you are a billionaire, you will be paying more to the Federal government than ever before. You have been lied to. The GOP is robbing us blind and you guys don't seem to care, or even notice.

  • Jeffrey Derry Jun 10, 12:07 p.m.
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    #venezuela is rapidly going down the tubes. The people are crying out for help and this is the dribble we get everyday. #fakenews #medialies

  • Jeffrey Derry Jun 10, 11:45 a.m.
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    Please move on, no one but the #dumptrumpmedia #fakenews care about this

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