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James Comey accuses Donald Trump of telling ‘lies, plain and simple’

Thursday - 08/06/2017 12:19
SACKED Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey has launched a scathing attack on Donald Trump, accusing him of telling “lies, plain and simple”.
The rift between US President Donald Trump and former FBI director James Comey will be laid bare in the US Congress. Picture: AP Photo/Evan Vucci/Susan Walsh
The rift between US President Donald Trump and former FBI director James Comey will be laid bare in the US Congress. Picture: AP Photo/Evan Vucci/Susan Walsh

Mr Comey has appeared before a US Senate hearing investigating whether Russia interfered with the 2016 election and whether anyone in the President’s camp had helped.

Mr Comey told the Congress that he was “confused” and increasingly concerned over the “shifting explanations” for why Mr Trump abruptly fired him on May 9.

Former FBI director James Comey is sworn in while testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP
Former FBI director James Comey is sworn in while testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFPSource:AFP

The White House initially said he was sacked because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email scandal, where she was heavily criticised for hosting classified information on her personal email server.

But Mr Trump offered a different explanation in a subsequent interview, saying he had long planned to fire Mr Comey because he was a “showboat” and a “grandstander” who had put the FBI into “turmoil”.

Mr Comey told the hearing that the Trump administration “chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying the organisation was in disarray”.

“Those were lies, plain and simple and I am so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them,” he said.

Former FBI director James Comey arrives to testify during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Picture: AFP/Brendan Smialowski
Former FBI director James Comey arrives to testify during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Picture: AFP/Brendan SmialowskiSource:AFP

The former FBI chief explained how he was so concerned about his encounters with the President that he took notes straight after each meeting.

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting,” Mr Comey told the hearing.

His concerns “led me to believe I’ve got to write it down and I’ve got to write it down right way”.

“I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what had happened not just to defend myself but to defend the FBI and our integrity,” Mr Comey said.

He added that he did not feel the need to take any notes after his few conversations with Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.

In his seven-page statement, released before his testimony, Mr Comey described a “very awkward” one-on-one dinner at the White House where Mr Trump said “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty”.

Mr Comey said the dinner was designed to “create some sort of patronage relationship”.

At Thursday’s hearing, Mr Comey further explained that he felt the President was “looking to get something” in exchange for allowing him to stay on as FBI director.

PRESIDENT FEELS ‘TOTALLY VINDICATED’

US President Donald Trump put a positive spin on the bombshell statement from sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, ahead of his anticipated testimony to the US Congress.

Mr Trump’s lawyer Marc E Kasowitz zeroed in on one aspect of Mr Comey’s seven-page statement, released on Wednesday: the fact that he told the President three times that he was not personally under investigation by the FBI.

“The President is pleased that Mr Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russian probe,” Mr Kasowitz said in a statement.

President Donald Trump walks back into the White House in Washington, yesterday. Picture: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Donald Trump walks back into the White House in Washington, yesterday. Picture: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez MonsivaisSource:AP

“The President feels completely and totally vindicated.

“He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda.”

The lawyer’s comments came after Mr Comey released a detailed account on all of his uncomfortable meetings with Mr Trump.

Former FBI director James Comey’s testimony to a US Senate committee has been hotly anticipated. Picture: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Former FBI director James Comey’s testimony to a US Senate committee has been hotly anticipated. Picture: AP Photo/Carolyn KasterSource:AP

Mr Comey claims that Mr Trump repeatedly demanded Mr Comey’s loyalty, that Mr Trump urged him to “let go” of his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and that he later pressured him to “lift the cloud” of the FBI probe into Russian meddling in the election.

The juiciest part of Mr Comey’s statement was his account of a “very awkward” one-on-one dinner he had with Mr Trump in the White House soon after his inauguration.

“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” the President said, according to Mr Comey.

“I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed,” Mr Comey said in his statement.

“We simply looked at each other in silence.”

Mr Comey said the dinner was designed to “create some sort of patronage relationship”.

“That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch,” he said.

In another encounter, which Mr Comey described as “very concerning”, Mr Trump asked Mr Comey to “let go” of its investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had resigned over his questionable ties to Russians.

“He is a good guy and has been through a lot,” Mr Trump said, according to Mr Comey.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

In a later phone call on March 30, Mr Trump asked Mr Comey to “lift the cloud” of suspicion on Mr Trump over the FBI investigation into whether the Russians interfered with the US election and whether anyone in the Trump campaign helped out.

Mr Comey has arrived at the Senate hearing, where he will take questions from both Republican and Democratic senators.

Anticipation for the testimony was at fever pitch, with many US TV stations broadcasting the hearing live.


 

Source: News Corp Australia Network:

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