Comey told senators about possible third Sessions-Russia meeting

Lynette Rowe
June 10, 2017

So who should we believe? "You ever wonder why in this Russian Federation investigation the only thing that's never been leaked is the fact that the president was not personally under investigation?"

Fired FBI Director James Comey's congressional appearance Thursday was must-see TV for many, but not everyone caught the show.

He suggested that leaks by Mr Comey should themselves be investigated.

Trump's behavior toward Comey may or may not meet the legal definition of obstruction of justice, but any American can see that it was grossly inappropriate.

Thus it appears Comey's firing, and Trump's dealings with Comey before that, are now part of the broader investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 campaign.

Here's how Thursday hurts Trump: Comey said one of Trump's complaints to him was that the Russian Federation probe, though not focused on the president, constituted "a cloud" impairing his ability to pursue his political agenda.

TRUMP: "He wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on...." But now that cloud over Trump is a gathering storm. "Donald Trump Jr, one of Trump's three sons, praised Senator Marco Rubio who asked Comey the only thing "that's never been leaked is the fact that "@POTUS was not personally under investigation". Instead, Kasowitz pushed back and the president remained conspicuously silent on Twitter during the hearing despite expectations he might respond. How that must have frustrated Trump the social media fiend.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, Deputy White House Press Secretary: "I can definitively say the president is not a liar". "I can definitively say the president is not a liar", she said. Not a great companion slogan for "Make America Great Again".

More news: Iran intelligence ministry reveals identity of terrorists killed in Tehran attacks

Remember that the original focus of the investigation was Russia's efforts to meddle in American politics. Comey told senators the Russians purposefully interfered in the election and "they will be back".

According to Comey's testimony, President Donald Trump solicited his "loyalty", sought to shut down an investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and pressed him to lift the "cloud" over his administration represented by the Russian Federation investigation. You know that, I know that, everybody knows that.

In riveting detail, Comey this week has revealed conversations with Trump that include the president saying he hoped Comey could let go of the FBI's investigation of a former national security adviser. Talk about meddling: Comey was especially unnerved in the February 14 meeting when Trump cleared the room to be alone with Comey.

But even if Comey thought that, it's not necessarily a crime.

In his opening statement, Mr Comey sombrely accused the Trump administration of spreading "lies, plain and simple" in the aftermath of his abrupt removal, declaring that the administration "chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI" by claiming the bureau was in disorder.

Daniel Richman confirmed by e-mail to several reporters that he was the "good friend" and law-school prof who Comey slipped the documents - then hightailed it out of his tony Brooklyn Heights home and refused to answer any more questions.

"I mean, this is a president of the United States, with me alone, saying "I hope" this". "I didn't obey that". Trump shouldn't be surprised that he's the one with the credibility problem.

But these are not normal times - and there is a chance that Comey's testimony in some ways could help the president. In time the country will learn enough to render judgment. But complex investigations take twists and turns and don't conclude quickly. Were Trump's actions permissible, inept or nefarious?

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