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Comey testified that the Trump administration's assertions were 'lies, plain and simple'


Comey testified that the Trump administration's assertions were 'lies, plain and simple'

WATCH | Comey testified that he didn't trust Trump.

UPDATE 2:44 p.m. EST:  Here are some of the key points from Kasowitz's statement:

  • "[Comey] also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference."
  • "Comey's testimony also makes clear that the President never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election."
  • "The President never, in any form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone."
  • "The President also never told Mr. Comey, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty' in any form or substance."
  • "Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President."
  • "We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether [these] leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated."

UPDATE 2:40 p.m. EST:  Here's Kasowitz's full statement.

UPDATE 2:37 p.m. EST:

Kasowitz said Trump never pressured Comey to do anything illegal or unethical. 

He refuted the notion that Trump asked Comey for loyalty and was critical of Comey's admission that he was responsible for leaking the Trump memos to the press.

UPDATE 2:32 p.m. EST:  

Trump's attorney, Marc Kasowitz, said at a press conference that Comey's testimony makes it clear that the president never sought to impede the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the election.

UPDATE 12:54 p.m. EST:  The open session has concluded.

UPDATE 12:39 p.m. EST:  Some found Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) line of questioning puzzling.

UPDATE 12:38 p.m. EST:  The RNC asserted that Trump was "within his rights" in firing Comey.

UPDATE 12:29 p.m. EST:  Comey had an interesting exchange with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

UPDATE 12:25 p.m. EST:

Comey has called Trump a liar several times today. That's not sitting well with White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, according to CNN.

When asked about it during an off-camera briefing Thursday, Sanders replied "I can definitely say the president is not a liar and frankly I'm insulted by that question."

UPDATE 12:16 p.m. EST:

Asked whether he believed Trump "colluded with" Russia, Comey replied "That's a question I don't think I should answer in an open setting."

UPDATE 11:56 a.m. EST:  House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested Trump wasn't sure what was appropriate for discussion with Comey, according to Politico's Rachael Bade.

UPDATE 11:51 a.m. EST:  Comey's leaker is reportedly Columbia law professor Daniel Richman.

Richman is an adviser to Comey, according to his Columbia Law School bio. He formerly worked as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

UPDATE 11:49 a.m. EST:  Comey told Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) he asked a friend to leak his Trump memos to the press.

"To whom did you show copies?" Collins asked.

"I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter," Comey replied.

Comey testified that the Trump administration's assertions were 'lies, plain and simple'

WATCH | Here's Comey's exchange with Collins.

UPDATE 11:33 a.m. EST:

When asked why lawmakers should believe him instead of the president, Comey cited the time Trump kicked everyone out of the Oval Office to speak to him. 

"That to me as an investigator is a very significant fact," Comey said.

The world awaits Trump's inevitable Twitter response...

... but Donald Trump Jr. is clearly watching.

WATCH LIVE | James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

UPDATE 11:27 a.m. EST:

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) asked about Comey's first meeting with Trump.

"What was it about that very first meeting that made you start writing memos?" Collins asked. 

"A combination of things," Comey responded. "It really was a gut feeling."

UPDATE 11:21 a.m. EST:  Donald Trump Jr. weighed in on Twitter...

... as the nation paused to watch Comey's testimony.

UPDATE 11:20 a.m. EST:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked Comey whether the Russia investigation played into his firing. “Yes, because I’ve seen the president say so,” Comey replied.

UPDATE 11:04 a.m. EST:

Comey said he didn't immediately refuse Trump's request to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn because "I was just so stunned. ... I just took it in."

When asked by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) why he didn't go to the White House counsel, he said he didn't know, adding that perhaps he didn't have the presence of mind to do so.

UPDATE 11:01 a.m. EST:  Comey said he hopes there are tapes of his talks with Trump.

UPDATE 10:55 a.m. EST:

Comey testified that he thought his firing had to do with the Russia investigation.

UPDATE 10:53 a.m. EST:

Comey said former President Bill Clinton's meeting with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch influenced the probe into Hillary Clinton's email server. "That was the thing that capped it for me," he said.

UPDATE 10:47 a.m. EST: 

Comey testified that he felt Trump was "looking for something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job."

UPDATE 10:40 a.m. EST.

Comey testified that he created records of nearly all of his conversations with President Trump as he knew there might come a day when he needed a record not for himself, but for the FBI.

He said he was concerned Trump would lie about their conversations, so he felt compelled to document them.

He said he never wrote memos regarding conversations he had with President Obama.

UPDATE 10:33 a.m. EST:  

Comey testified that the Trump administration "chose to defame me."

He called the Trump administration's assertions "lies, plain and simple."

UPDATE June 7, 10:22  a.m. EST:

In James Comey's opening remarks, the former FBI director said that "The shifting explanations for why I was fired confused me and increasingly concerned me." 

UPDATE June 7, 10:18 a.m. EST:

In Sen. Mark Warner's (D-VA) opening statement, he said, "This is not a witch hunt. This is not fake news. It's an effort to protect our country."

UPDATE June 7, 10:11 a.m. EST:

CNN's Laura Jarrett reports that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not planning to watch the Comey hearings but will be updated on any developments by his staff. 

ORIGINAL STORY:  Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee today and discuss his interactions with President Trump and Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Comey is scheduled to testify under oath at 10 a.m. EST on Capitol Hill. This is Comey's first public testimony since the president fired him last month. 

Comey's firing came two months after he testified before the House Intelligence Committee and confirmed that the FBI was investigating "links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government."

Trump insists that Comey's firing was due to his inefficiency in leading the FBI and that his decision was based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Yesterday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released Comey's opening statement, which recounted several interactions the former FBI director had with Trump. Comey vividly described a conversation they had on Jan. 27, in which the president told him, "I need loyalty. I expect loyalty."

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was amused by Trump's reaction to Comey's prepared remarks.

According to Comey's statement, he felt that the president was trying to establish “some sort of patronage relationship” with him. Members of Congress hope Comey's testimony will shed light on the reasons behind his firing and his previous relationship with Trump. 

Democrats, including Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), had high hopes for Comey's testimony.

NBC News, citing a senior White House aide, reported that Trump will monitor the Comey hearing in the White House dining room with his legal team and some of his closest advisers.

Comey is the second person in U.S. history to be fired as a FBI director. Nearly two decades ago, Bill Clinton fired former FBI director William Sessions, a President Ronald Reagan appointee, for abusing government resources. 

Comey, who previously served as deputy attorney general in George W. Bush's administration, was a Republican for most of his adult life.  Comey told Congress last July that he was no longer registered as a Republican. 

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