Trump feels 'vindicated' after Comey testimony

Trump's lawyer welcomes release of former FBI Director testimony about past conversations between the two.

Ben Ariel,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Reuters

President Donald Trump feels "vindicated" following the release of former FBI Director James Comey’s prepared testimony before Congress about past conversations between the two, Trump's lawyer said Wednesday.

“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 quoted by The Hill. “He is eager to move forward with his agenda.”

Earlier on Wednesday, sections of Comey’s planned remarks of his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is scheduled for Thursday.

In those remarks, the ousted FBI chief said he informed Trump that he “was not under investigation in any Russian probe”, a claim Trump made in his letter informing the former director of his firing last month.

Kasowitz pointed out to those remarks in his statement, but also did not dispute other revelations from Comey’s testimony, which confirmed reports that Trump has previously denied.

In one example, Comey says in his opening statement that Trump asked him to “let go” of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, whom Trump ask to step down after he misled senior officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his conversations with Russia's ambassador.

Critics have said those comments, combined with Trump's alleged attempt to get Comey to pledge his "loyalty," could amount to obstruction of justice.

During a press conference last month, Trump was asked whether he urged Comey “in any way, shape, or form to close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn.” He replied that he did not.

Comey's testimony before Congress on Thursday will be his first public comments since Trump fired him last month, amid the FBI's investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials.

While Trump could have asserted executive privilege to prevent Comey's testimony, the White House said earlier this week he had chosen not to do so, in order to “facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts.”

The Justice Department recently appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

While Trump has accepted intelligence reports concluding that Russia engaged in cyber attacks during the November presidential election, he has repeatedly lambasted as “fake news” any suggestion that he or his staff had connections to Russia.

Russia denies the allegations altogether.


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