" "Trump calls Comey "leaks" of memos "'cowardly'"

Judith Bessette
Junho 20, 2017

Comey, who testified before a Senate committee on Thursday, asserted that President Donald Trump had fired him to interfere with an investigation of Russia's ties to the Trump campaign and reaffirmed the intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation meddled in the election.

Meanwhile, the Senate investigation into collusion with Russian Federation or obstruction of justice is extending to a Trump Cabinet member.

He branded the president a liar and said Trump urged him to abandon the investigation into the former national security adviser Michael Flynn, an allegation Trump has denied. This isn't just a matter of Trump supporters believing one way and his defenders another.

Trump tweeted last month that Comey "better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press".

Reactions to former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey's testimony Thursday mostly seemed to follow predictable, partisan lines.

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

Comey's decision to share with reporters, through an intermediary, details from those conversations, and his insistence on testifying in public attest to his determination to confront the president head-on.

He says, "Well, I'll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future".

If Trump told his friends and family a different version of his meeting with Comey than he is presenting now, he could be setting himself up for perjury. Trump himself provided the basis for Comey's position. Instead, Comey took notes and waited for Trump to strike first.

But, as Comey made clear in his prepared statement, at the time he left his post he was not aware of evidence to suggest Trump colluded with the Russian government. He was insane, a real nut job", adding, "I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation.

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"I mean, he said he's a leaker", Trump Jr. said.

Opposition Democrats have said that the leaks occurred after Comey was sacked and no longer a government official. Comey added, "Something about the way I was conducting it, the president felt created pressure on him that he wanted to relieve".

A member of Trump's legal team, Jay Sekulow said "the president said he is going to address the issue of the tapes, whether the tapes exist or not, next week". There's no, "Hey I'm hoping". So, he memorialized them in written memoranda. His claim that his "read" of Trump played a part is important, since he claimed earlier in his testimony that he doesn't "know the president well enough to read him well".

But in a television appearance Saturday evening, Donald Trump Jr. appeared to contradict his father's flat-out denial.

Trump's acts constitute probable cause that he engaged in obstruction of justice.

The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, "He is a good guy and has been through a lot".

By itself, it's neither a high crime nor a misdemeanor for a president to be dishonorable. He paid close attention in his meeting with Trump. And impeachment, the constitutionally enshrined method for removing a president, isn't likely as long as Republicans control Congress. They include, but are not limited to, conduct punishable by the criminal law. Most of these activities, like the foreign agents they target, are by design covert, and they rarely see the inside of a courtroom. In these encounters, Trump tried to seize and hold the upper hand in what he obviously regarded a sensitive and perilous political face-off. But he says it's discomfiting for a president to be in private communication with top prosecutors. Professor Daniel Richman provided Comey's memos to the New York Times.

Comey said he took that as a presidential command. I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.

But let's imagine Mueller develops evidence of wrongdoing by Trump. Mueller could do the same. What was Sessions thinking when Comey asked that he not be left alone with the President?

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