Paul Ryan: Trump asking for Comey's loyalty 'obviously' inappropriate

But on Thursday, the now ex-FBI director won't be so tight-lipped. The two men did indeed discuss Comey's job, and his plan to finish his 10-year tenure as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, but Trump's main goal in inviting Comey to dinner that night was to obtain a promise.

Then there's the whole question of the leaking of classified information from the intelligence community, leaks clearly created to embarrass Mr. Trump and his team.

While Washington holds its collective breath ahead of Thursday's testimony, the intel chiefs were grilled on Capitol Hill and President Trump tweeted his pick for a new FBI Director.

Comey said his practice of keeping written meeting records began after his encounter with Trump before the inauguration.

On the eve of the hearing, the committee released a written statement submitted by Mr Comey.

"The president feels completely and totally vindicated", said the attorney. "We need some of this misdirection to get out of our way so we can move forward and really start doing some of the things that people sent us here to do".

Comey said he did offer that "reassurance" after a January 6 meeting.

Ryan Goodman, a professor at New York University School of Law, said Trump's efforts to protect Flynn provide "strong evidence" of obstruction of justice.

The references to prostitutes refer to a dossier that circulated in Washington late past year containing accounts of purported Russian intelligence material about Trump. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the committee, lamented that the witnesses could have laid to rest questions about what the president told them about the Russian Federation probe, but they chose not to answer.

Comey is set to testify Thursday before the Senate intelligence committee.

The ex-FBI director's testimony recounts his conversations with the apparent precision of a veteran lawman.

Eve of vote polls suggest PM May will boost majority
She has also promised tougher action on terrorism, with longer sentences and more power to deport and track suspected terrorists. Most pollsters had the odd percentage point between the two main parties in 2015 but in the end there was a seven point gap.

In his statement, Comey made clear he had been uncomfortable discussing an ongoing investigation with the president, even as he assured Trump that he himself was not a target of the probe. "During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-Elect Trump's reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance". Mr. Trump paused and then said, "That's what I want, honest loyalty".

Comey also said Trump demanded a pledge of loyalty in a White House meeting on January 27, just days after the Republican billionaire took office under a cloud of allegations that Russia's interference had helped him win the election.

Analyzing Comey's prepared remarks, Lieberman pointed out that Comey's testimony appears to validate Trump's claims that Comey told him multiple times that he was not the subject of an investigation. “He is a good guy.

"Yeah, no, I mean obviously I don't think that is" appropriate, Ryan said. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Comey's testimony was being reviewed.

Asked if the president stood by earlier assertions that he had neither sought Comey's loyalty nor asked for the Flynn investigation to be dropped, she said: "I can't imagine the president not standing by his own statement".

Earlier yesterday, Mr Trump announced that he planned to nominate Christopher Wray, a former Justice Department official, as Mr Comey's successor.

"The question really is not whether the president has obstructed justice".

Trump had fired Flynn the previous day in a controversy over contacts between the retired general and the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Comey had dinner with Trump in the Green Room at the White House.

Of course, Comey's opening statement is the beginning, not the end, of the exploration into what President Trump did or said about the Russian Federation investigation.

The relationship between the attorney general and the president has grown increasingly tense since Mr Sessions recused himself from any involvement in the Russian Federation investigation, articles in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Politico said.

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