On Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey endured hours of questions regarding his May firing, Russian involvement in the 2016 election and White House leaks during his hearing before the Senate.
Comey’s testimony in the most widely anticipated congressional hearing in years will put at center stage a high-stakes clash between two men with vastly different personas.
On Comey’s accusations that Trump pressed him to drop the FBI investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, Bharara said “no one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction” of justice.
“Depending on which camp you’re in, you could say that Comey totally condemned President Trump today, or you could say the president was exonerated by Comey”, commentator Dana Perino said on Fox News Channel. “I hope you can let this go”.
Comey told the Senate panel that he was so concerned by his conversations with Trump that he immediately documented their encounters – which included a White House dinner, private meetings, and several phone calls – in a series of memorandums.
The prospect of facts that would be problematic for Sessions seems to vary for the reason Sessions himself gave when he recused himself from the Russian Federation probe on March 2. While disputing Comey’s testimony, Trump castigated the entire hearing as “just an excuse” for Democrats to blame their election loss on a false narrative about Russian Federation.
“There’s no doubt that I was sacked because of the Russia investigation“, Comey told lawmakers, referring to the widening probe of Russian influence on last year’s USA presidential election.
Bars opened early to accommodate watchers and Twitter exploded with commentary as thousands of Americans tuned in to watch former FBI Director James Comey testify before the Senate on Thursday.
Reed said he also wants to know if Sessions had more meetings with Russian officials as a Trump campaign adviser than have been disclosed.
And in a February 14 Oval Office meeting, Comey says that Trump asked him to find a way to end an investigation into Flynn, who had been fired the day before for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador. Comey refused on Thursday to say whether Trump committed a crime in pressuring him to drop the probe.
He said Trump reached out to him again after the inauguration but he refused to call back, shortly before he was sacked.
Trump also took a question about the United States’ commitment to NATO, saying the U.S.is committed to Article 5, the NATO policy of “collective defense” – meaning, if one NATO country is attacked, it is considered an attack against all.
According to Comey, Trump attempted during his first weeks in office to recruit the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief as an ally.
Comey’s testimony underscored the discord that had soured their relationship.
“He’s a leaker”, Trump said dismissively.
Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and well-known defence lawyer, added that Mr Trump’s comments to Mr Comey were “ambiguous statements” and “not even close to obstruction of justice”.
“Comey is intentionally using language that reflects upon the dangerousness of Trump”, she said. The same Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Trump appointed because he was a campaign surrogate?