Reasons for Firing Comey Were 'Lies, Plain and Simple'

Comey also stood by the claim that Trump had suggested that Comey abandon the FBI's investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. None were filed. The multiple women who accused Trump of sexual assault over the years were likewise promised a date in court when they came forward with their complaints.

Trump also seized on Comey's revelation that he had directed a friend to release memos he'd written documenting his conversations with the president to a reporter.

Trump has a long history of threatening to file complaints and lawsuits and not following through. Perhaps, and the Comey testimony brings Trump significantly closer to that point, including Comey's clarification that he understood Trump's expression of "hope" as a clear direction to drop the case. "Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication.and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" he tweeted on Friday morning, in his first public response to the hearing. Comey added, "Something about the way I was conducting it, the president felt created pressure on him that he wanted to relieve". I didn't want him thinking I was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way. Comey's testimony took the place of regular daytime programming Thursday. Susan Collins tells MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that she found him "credible, candid and thorough".

Opposition Democrats have said that the leaks occurred after Comey was sacked and no longer a government official.

Collins, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election, said Comey's motivation "may have been a good one". Yet Mr. Comey also made clear in his testimony that the investigation continues to this day, and that it was likely that Mr. Trump knew when he fired Mr. Comey that firing the FBI Director would not stop an ongoing investigation.

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Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that in a January 27 dinner meeting, Trump asked him to pledge his loyalty.

And Comey admitted he asked a friend to leak those notes to a reporter, betting - correctly - that the details would prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor. Even on the question of obstruction alone, he would want to question multiple additional witnesses about Trump's dealings with Comey and the Flynn case/larger Russian Federation inquiry, including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, adviser/son-in-law Jared Kushner, White House counsel Don McGahn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The US President also refused to rule out his previous claim there may be tapes of his conversations with the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director. During his written and opening statements, and subsequent Q&A with members of the Committee, Comey charged the Trump Administration with having "defamed" both him and the FBI, and lying about the reason for his firing, which he characterizes as an attempt to scuttle the Bureau's counter-intelligence probe into alleged Team Trump coordination with Russian Federation both before and after last year's election.

Russian officials have vehemently denied any role in hacking attacks on the Democratic National Convention and voter-registration databases.

Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are calling on Trump to testify under oath or release any tapes of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. This was in the context of Mr. Trump's query to Mr. Comey whether he, the President, could depend on his loyalty.

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