Legal experts say Trump comments inappropriate, maybe worse

Legal experts say Trump comments inappropriate, maybe worse

Legal experts say Trump comments inappropriate, maybe worse

Former FBI Director James Comey's written statement, which was released in advance of his Thursday testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, does not provide evidence that President Trump committed obstruction of justice or any other crime.

He confirmed, as Mr. Trump has claimed, that he told the President he was not under investigation on the controversy surrounding Russian interference in last fall's presidential election. But he said in a statement that Trump felt "vindicated" by Comey's confirmation he was not under investigation in any Russian Federation probe. Comey later writes in his notes that it was possible he and Trump understood the phrase "honest loyalty" differently. Trump's firing of Comey outraged Democrats, who believe Trump was improperly trying to halt a probe that has hung over his presidency since his first day in office.

"I would never comment on investigations, whether we have one or not, in an open forum like this", Comey said. "He is a good guy".

Comey did not say he would "let this go", and indeed he did not grant the president's request to do so. I replied, "You will always get honesty from me". Director Coates said the same thing. Most notably, he describes Trump explicitly urging him to end the FBI investigation of Mike Flynn, who had recently resigned as his national security adviser.

Hours later, it was Trump's outside attorney Marc Kasowitz lobbing accusations of dishonesty.

Although Comey has told associates he will not accuse the president of obstructing justice, he will dispute the president's contention that Comey told him three times he is not under investigation, according to ABC News.

All eyes will be on axed FBI Director James Comey Thursday as he testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee - but also in the spotlight will be the 15 senators who will grill him.

"We are in a public session here, and I do not feel that it is appropriate for me to address confidential information".

He declined to answer questions about the dossier compiled by former British agent Christopher Steele, alleging salacious details about Mr Trump's behavior in Russian Federation which was later proven to be false.

However, they did say they felt no pressure from the White House.

Other social media users were quick to troll the portions of the statement about Trump's references to "loyalty". "And, to the best my recollection, during that same period of service, I do not recall ever feeling pressured to doing so".

"It rings in my ears of 'who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?'", he said, referring to the words purportedly said by King Henry II about Thomas Becket in the 12th century. But the question is ultimately one for the Republican-controlled Congress, which has the power to decide whether Trump, in firing Comey, committed a "high crime or misdemeanor" that is constitutional grounds for impeachment.

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's instincts, he wrote, were that both the setting and the conversation "meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship".

But Republican Senator Richard Burr, the panel's chairman, sought to downplay Director Comey's "loyalty" remark, saying: "I don't think it's wrong to ask for loyalty from anybody in an administration". "My judgment was I need to get that out into the public square", Comey said.

On March 30, Trump phoned Comey and asked what "we could do to lift the cloud" of the FBI's Russian Federation investigation.

And just a week before he was sacked - Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he chose to publicly announce his findings in the Clinton email investigation after watching Bill Clinton board a plane with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

After that phone call with the president, Comey said he called acting deputy attorney general Dana Boente to tell him what was discussed, and "await his guidance".

"When I learned that I had been fired, for that reason I immediately came home as a private citizen", Comey testified.

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