President Donald Trump broke his silence Friday on former FBI Director James Comey's blockbuster testimony before Congress a day earlier, claiming "total and complete vindication" while appearing to accuse Comey of lying and labeling him a "leaker".
Update: President Trump gave the same maybe-I-did, maybe-I-didn't statement in a press conference Friday. Asked if he would make that denial under oath, he said, "100 percent". There were a number of questions for Trump who stayed silent throughout Thursday as James Comey testified and even called the president a liar on a number of occasions.
Trump denied that he ever asked Comey for a pledge of loyalty, or suggested that he "let go" the criminal investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The veteran lawman expressed confidence that could be a matter ripe for investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, though he declined to offer an opinion on whether it met such a threshold.
Trump just tweeted an argument of why it would be okay if he did tell Comey to back off the Flynn investigation. Still, he maintained he had never asked Comey for a pledge of allegiance.More news: Apple shows off HomePod Siri speaker
"Lordy, I hope there are tapes", Comey said at the hearing.
Trump wouldn't answer, saying only that he would address any possible tapes "over a fairly short period of time" and "you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don't worry".
In his first public comments over the damaging case, Mr Trump dismissed the Senate hearing over the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election as a politically charged proceeding. During his Thursday testimony, Comey told lawmakers he provided the documents to Richman, and instructed his friend to share the memos' details with the New York Times. The one potential exception came in a line he delivered in the context of religious liberty that could also be interpreted as an indirect reference to the Russian Federation probe.
It would only be a crime if the information was classified, the experts told ABC News but, that said, his actions were improper and violated well-established norms. There was the reference from Comey that he believed that Trump and his aides "defamed" his reputation for being a poor leader of the FBI and insulted the men and women of the bureau for having low morale.
The biggest impact of Comey's testimony, however, may be on the Democratic Party. "I mean, this is the president of the United States, with me alone", Comey said, noting Trump had sent all his staff out of the room before the discussion. "A couple months later, after neither request was fulfilled, Trump fired him".