Donald Trump Jr. appears to have contradicted his father’s account of a conversation between the president and former FBI Director James Comey about the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn while seeming to confirm Comey’s version.
“I think it’s clear that everything that went on in the Comey testimony was basically ridiculous,” Trump Jr. told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night. “You and I both know my father a long time. When he tells you to do something, guess what, there’s no ambiguity in it. There’s no, ‘Hey, I’m hoping.’ You and I are friends, ‘Hey, hope this happens but you get to do your job.’ That’s what he told Comey.”
Comey testified to the Senate intelligence committee on Thursday that Trump had told him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”
On Friday, Trump denied ever saying that to Comey.
“I didn’t say that,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House Rose Garden. “I didn’t say that. I mean, I will tell you, I didn’t say that.”
Trump said he would be willing to testify under oath to his account of their conversations.
In a statement, Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz said his client “never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone.”
But Trump Jr.’s comments suggest that his father did.
Off message here for Trump Jr. Says his father did tell Comey he hoped he let the Flynn investigation go. His dad says that's a lie. pic.twitter.com/oOhaFgZY4a
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 11, 2017
Trump Jr. also criticized Comey for disclosing memos on his conversations with the president to a friend who then read the memos to the New York Times.
“I mean, he said he’s a leaker,” Trump Jr. said. “If he did it this time, how many other times did [he] do it?”
Trump himself blasted Comey for leaking the memos, calling his former FBI director “cowardly” for doing so.
“I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible,” Trump tweeted. “Totally illegal? Very ‘cowardly!’”
Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and friend and confidant of Comey’s, told Yahoo News on Friday afternoon that the proper response to any suggestion the former FBI director broke the law by leaking a personal memo to the press was “laughter.”
“First of all, Comey was very clear that the memo that he wrote was intentionally written in unclassified form so that it would not be bound up in classification rules,” Wittes said. “So if the claim is that he’s admitted to leaking classified information, that’s simply factually false.”
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