US President Donald Trump feels “completely and totally vindicated” by the testimony of fired FBI director James Comey who alleged that he was asked by him to drop the probe against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, according to his private lawyer. Comey’s seven-page written testimony that was meant as his opening statement during his Congressional hearing tomorrow was released a day ahead by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In the testimony, Comey alleged that Trump asked him for a pledge of loyalty and told him to drop an inquiry into Flynn. Comey also said that he informed Trump that he was not under FBI investigation.
“The President feels completely and totally vindicated,” Marc Kasowitz, an attorney representing Trump in the special counsel probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, said in a statement. “He is eager to move forward with his agenda,” he said. Comey, who was fired by Trump last month, dropped the bombshell by his statement which many experts say could be seen as obstruction to justice. According to Comey, Trump also made a long series of comments about the problem with leaks of classified information. Comey recounted a January 27 private dinner in the White House Green Room with the president.
“‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty’,” Comey quoted Trump as saying. Comey continued: “I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence.” Comey states that Trump asked him on several occasions to publicly state that he was not under investigation. But Comey also confirmed in his statement that he told Trump he was not under investigation, as Trump asserted in his letter to Comey explaining his firing.
Comey said that he considered Trump’s request on Flynn “very concerning, given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency” but decided to keep it “very closely held.” “The FBI leadership team agreed with me that it was important not to infect the investigative team with the President’s request, which we did not intend to abide,” Comey wrote. “We also concluded that, given that it was a one-on-one conversation, there was nothing available to corroborate my account.”