President Trump ended his Twitter silence early Friday, claiming ex-FBI Director James Comey vindicated him and accusing Comey of improperly leaking details of their discussions.
“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” Trump tweeted.
Comey told a Senate committee Thursday that he believes Trump fired him over the Russia probe, and he accused the White House of lying about the details of the dismissal. He also admitted that he had leaked to the press memos describing his talks with Trump, saying he hoped the stories would spur the appointment of a special counsel to take over the investigation of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.
While Trump’s attorney issued a statement defending Trump and attacking Comey for the leak, the president himself remained silent on the subject and did not tweet all day.
Comey’s testimony, at a hugely anticipated hearing that captured the country’s attention, provided a gripping account of his interactions with Trump and underscored the discord that had soured their relationship.
He portrayed Trump as a chief executive dismissive of the FBI’s independence and made clear that he interpreted Trump’s request to end an investigation into his former national security adviser as an order coming from the president.
Though Republicans worked to discredit Comey and to blunt the impact of his testimony, the ex-director’s statement deepened questions about the basis for his May 9 dismissal and about whether Trump’s actions constituted obstruction of justice. 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’s private attorney, Marc Kasowitz, seized on Comey’s admission that he had told Trump on multiple occasions that he was not personally under investigation and maintained the testimony made clear that Trump “never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone.”
Kasowitz also jumped on Comey’s revelation that he had released details of his private conversations with the president, casting the former FBI director as one of the “leakers” set on undermining the Trump administration.
Contributing: Associated Press