Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Donald Trump feels 'totally vindicated' by James Comey's statement

Donald Trump feels 'totally vindicated' by James Comey's statement

Comey's account, released ahead of his appearance before the committee on Thursday, could show that Trump meant to impede the Flynn investigation, said Michael Gerhardt, a professor of constitutional law at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

"You will always get honesty from me", he said he told the president.

CGTN's Nathan King goes into the details.

FILE - In this February 25, 2016, file photo, then-FBI Director James Comey, testifies before a House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee budget hearing about the Federal Bureau of Investigation's FY 2017 budget, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Now he is not. After telling Attorney General Jeff Sessions and several top White House officials to leave the office so that the two could talk privately, Trump told him that Flynn, who he had fired the day before, "is a good guy and has been through a lot". "I hope you can let this go,"' Comey says in his prepared remarks. But Comey also confirmed in his statement that he told Trump he was not under investigation, as Trump asserted in his letter to Comey explaining his firing. Comey confirms this but said he didn't make it public, as the President wanted, just in case an investigation into Trump was opened at a later date.

While a sitting president is unlikely to face criminal prosecution, obstruction of justice could form the basis for impeachment. The former national security advisor is one of the key persons of interest in the FBI's investigation into Trump's ties to Russian Federation. We simply looked at each other in silence.

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The inquiries are also investigating whether any Trump campaign officials colluded with the alleged Kremlin plot, which Moscow has repeatedly denied. Comey said he found this "strange", since he had already said he was planning to do so, and believed the dinner "was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship".

But sources close to Comey said the conversations in which he said Trump told him to drop the Russian investigation, made the then FBI director feel disturbed.

Researcher at the University of Melbourne's School of Government, James Cahill, would not be drawn on the potential for impeachment, but said Mr Comey's statement was still hugely significant.

Why Comey didn't tell more people about the Flynn conversation. "I am going to assume voluntary willingness to cooperate with us, and also I would be prepared to challenge any claim of executive privilege here".

Julie O'Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Georgetown University's law school, said Trump's decision to clear the room before talking to Comey is evidence that suggests that Trump "was aware that what he was doing was a problem".

On March 30, the President called Mr Comey and "described the Russian Federation investigation as "a cloud" that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country".

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