“President Never Told Comey ‘I Need Loyalty'”: Trump Atty On Testimony

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MIAMI (CBSMiami ) – President Donald Trump’s personal attorney responded to former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony involving his firing, the Russia probe and his interactions with the commander in chief.

Thursday afternoon, just hours after Comey testified that he felt the president was trying to demand loyalty from him, Trump’s attorney Marc Kasowitz said that was not the case.

“The president likewise never pressured Mr. Comey. The president also never told Mr. Comey, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty’ in form or substance,” said Kasowitz.

A major topic on the table was the Trump administration’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and an investigation in a meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn was fired earlier this year over reportedly lying to the administration about the meeting.

Comey testified that he believed Trump was trying to pressure him to drop the FBI’s investigation into Flynn. In his opening statement, released Wednesday, Comey wrote that Trump told him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He’s a good guy.”

Trump’s attorney denied Comey’s claim and says, “The president never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that Mr. Comey ‘let Flynn go.’ As he publicly stated the next day, he did say to Mr. Comey, ‘General Flynn is a good guy, he has been through a lot,’ and also ‘ask how is General Flynn doing.'”

Comey did clarify that President Trump did not try to stop or interfere into their investigation of meddling by Russia in the 2016 presidential election. However, Comey would not discuss whether the president colluded with Russia during the election saying, “I don’t think I should answer in an open setting.”

Trump’s attorney had something to say about that, pointing out Comey told the president he was not under investigation.

“Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told the president privately: The president was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference. He also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference,” said Kasowitz. “Mr. Comey’s testimony also makes clear that the president never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russia interference in the 2016 election, and in fact, according to Mr. Comey, the president told Mr. Comey, ‘it would be good to find out ‘ in that investigation if there were ‘some satellite’ associates of his who did something wrong.’ and he did not exclude anyone from that statement.”

Trump’s attorney claims that there are “those in the government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with leaks” that he called “selective and illegal” of classified and privileged information, pointing out Comey in the mix.

“Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers. Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the president,” said Kasowitz. “Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he leaked to friends his purported memos of these privileged conversations, one of which he testified was classified. He also testified that immediately after he was terminated he authorized his friends to leak the contents of these memos to the press in order to ‘prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

Trump’s attorney is referring to Comey’s memos on his interactions with the president claiming that Comey’s leaks appear to be “retaliatory.” It’s something he says he will leave up to authorities.

“We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated,” said Kasowitz.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio believed that to be a bigger issue.

“I’m sure you were surprised. The idea not just that he initiated the leaks on the memos but that he did so for purposes of triggering a special prosecutor, I thought was perhaps, the most explosive portion of the hearing,” Rubio said. “I was quite frankly impressed by his honesty. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a witness come before Congress and admit that they leaked something.”

Comey claimed in his testimony that he documented his interactions with President Trump because he was concerned he might have to defend himself.

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting,” said Comey.

About his firing, Comey said the president’s initial explanation as to why he was fired, claiming it was over the Hillary Clinton email investigation, “didn’t make sense.” He also said he couldn’t know for sure why he was fired but brought up the Russia probe.

“I take the president at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey claimed in his testimony.

More from Giovanna Maselli
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