President Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz of New York City, said today that the testimony given today by former FBI Director James Comey shows that the president did not seek to block investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 general election. "Mr. Comey’s testimony also makes clear that the President never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election," Kasowitz said.
"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.'" In a written statement, Kasowitz wrote that "the President likewise never pressured Mr. Comey" into dropping the Russia investigation nor sought a loyalty oath from him.
Kasowitz said that Comey "admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President." Kasowitz was referring to the memos Comey kept on conversations he had with the president. Comey said in testimony today before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he gave copies to a friend to give in turn to the media.
"In sum," Kasowitz said, "it is now established that there the President was not being investigated for colluding with the or attempting to obstruct that investigation. As the Committee pointed out today, these important facts for the country to know are virtually the only facts that have not leaked during the long course of these events."
Earlier, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders would not comment on the former FBI director's testimony, preferring to allow attention to be focused on Kasowitz's statement. However, she denied that the president lied. "I can definitely say the president is not a liar," Sanders said. "It’s frankly insulting that that question would be asked.” Comey said on Thursday that he recorded the memos of conversations with Trump because he believed that the president would lie about them.
In his testimony on Thursday, Comey said he began documenting his interactions with the president starting with his first meeting on Jan. 6. “It was the subject matter and the person I was interacting with," he said. “It was the nature of the person. I was honestly concerned that he would lie about the nature of our meeting."
Comey also said Trump “defamed me and the FBI’’ after Trump dismissed on May 6. "Those were lies, plain and simple, and I am so sorry the FBI workforce had to hear them, and the American people were told them," Comey said.
Reportedly, Trump was watching the hearing at the White House in the company of his top aides. Despite predictions, he did tweet about the Comey hearing nor did he mention the testimony specifically during a midday speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference. He told listeners on Thursday that "we're under siege," and "we will come out bigger and better and stronger than ever."
On Wednesday, Kasowitz said of the release of Comey’s opening remarks that day, "The President is pleased that Mr. Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russian probe." Kasowitz added, "The President feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda."
In his written statement, Comey said the FBI and Justice Department believed there were a number of reasons not to make that kind of statement publicly, "most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change."