On the heels of James Comey’s testimony to a Senate intelligence committee Thursday, President Trump’s personal lawyer hit back at the ousted FBI director, suggesting Comey had lied under oath and should be investigated for leaking memos documenting his interactions with Trump.
Reading from a prepared statement, Marc Kasowitz directly contradicted two bombshells from Comey’s testimony: that Trump asked the then-FBI director to ease up on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and that the president told Comey he expected “loyalty.”
“The president never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone,” Kasowitz said. “The president never suggested that Mr. Comey ‘let Flynn go.’”
“The president also never told Mr. Comey, ‘I need loyalty. I expect loyalty,’” Kasowitz continued. “He never said it in form and he never said it in substance.”
However, immediately after making this assertion, Kasowitz said a president’s expectation of loyalty from those serving him is normal and appropriate.
“Of course, the office of the president is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving the administration,” Kasowitz said.
The president’s personal lawyer also addressed the revelation that Comey gave a friend memos documenting his conversations with Trump in order to leak to the media and trigger the appointment of a special prosecutor. Kasowitz characterized the leak as an “unauthorized disclosure of privileged information” that “appears to be entirely retaliatory.”
Comey said in his testimony that he resolved to somehow publicize the memos after Trump tweeted on May 12, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Kasowitz tried to poke holes in that justification by stating, incorrectly, that the New York Times quoted the memos prior to Trump’s tweet. In reality, the first story to quote them was published May 16.
In the hearing, Republicans also pressed Comey on his authority to release memos recounting private conversations, but he maintained they were not government documents, but “unclassified memorializations of … conversations.”
“As a private citizen, I felt free to share that,” Comey said.
“We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated along with all the others that are being investigated,” Kasowitz said of the memos.
Despite the overall attempt to discredit Comey, Kasowitz touted the portion of the former FBI director’s testimony that stated Trump himself was not personally under investigation and that there is no evidence to prove Russia successfully influenced the election. He punctuated the statement with a definitive expression of confidence on Trump’s behalf.
“The president feels completely vindicated and is eager to continue moving forward with his agenda, with the business of this country, and with this public cloud removed.”
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