Trump dodges tapes question, denies seeking Comey 'loyalty'


Trump's aggressive strategy since the Comey hearing would be a rash one indeed if such tapes, which the law would require him to hand over to investigators, are stashed away somewhere in the White House.

Nearly as soon as former FBI Director James Comey started his session with the Senate intelligence committee Thursday, he characterized the President and his White House as liars.

Asked if he would make that denial under oath, he said: "100%".

The committee also sent a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn asking that he inform the committee whether the White House has ever had any recordings or memos of Comey's conversations with Trump.

The Justice Department of the U.S. administration has not yet said whether the special counsel Robert S Mueller is looking into any obstructions by Trump as a part of his new responsibility to look after the investigations related to Russian connections after the exit of Comey, but Comey said on Tuesday that he had already given his memos recounting conversations with Trump to Mueller for scrutiny. In Watergate, you had the White House tapes. Comey testified he had no idea he would be the only guest until he walked in the door and say a small oval table set for two.

Comey also revealed that he'd orchestrated the public release of information about his private conversations with the president in an effort to further the investigation.

Such a grand jury investigation and presentation would necessarily require the appointment of a second "special counsel" or the creation of a new independent prosecutor to avoid any interaction and conflict with the Justice Department, which nominally directs and controls the current Robert Mueller-led investigation under existing law. "There was no basis upon which an obstruction of justice charge can be raised by what was allegedly said". Trump was asked about Comey's testimony multiple times during a meeting with governors and mayors, but ignored all the questions.

Comey delivered scathing remarks about the president on Thursday at a congressional hearing and testified that Trump had asked him to drop a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into former aide Michael Flynn and his alleged ties to Russian Federation.

Former FBI director James Comey.

The President's response could signal that he is convinced he has done nothing wrong and that Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday is no more than a lie.

"Comey lifted the veil on his motivations", said Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

What Trump meant, and whether it was inappropriate or simply lack of knowledge about Federal Bureau of Investigation protocol, depended on which side of the nation's political divide committee members, and likely the public, came down on.

Reed says he also wants to know if Sessions had additional contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign that were not previously disclosed. President Trump is completely daft and can't go more than a few days without carelessly tossing a lit rhetorical match into a clump of political underbrush.

A Democratic senator says she shares a sense of unease James Comey had when it came to the Obama administration and the need to ensure the FBI's independence. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dismissed the remarks as "normal New York" talk - just like the statements on the "Access Hollywood" tapes were dismissed by supporters as merely "locker room talk" - while he and others have defended Trump as an outsider trying to learn the ways of Washington. "So that's what I am focused on, that's what I have been focused on", he said.

Chyrons on Fox, where Trump fans dominate the audience, often emphasized news favorable to the president. "I mean, I will tell you, I didn't say that", Trump replied. On CNN, the message read "Comey: I took Trump's request about Flynn as a directive". "We don't have the smoking gun evidence at this juncture", Brinkley said.

"No, I didn't say that", Mr Trump stated abruptly, taking questions on Friday at a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis in the Rose Garden.

"And I think you saw today the overwhelming majority of the intel members, Democrats and Republicans, feel that Jim Comey is credible".

A Gallup survey released in April said just 45 percent of Americans trust Trump.

Trump's reaction followed the admission by Comey that he gave the memos of his conversations with Trump to a friend to leak to the media.

Comey faced little real hostility from the senators, and the hearing's pace slowed under repetitive questioning.