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Updated 7:10 PM  |  June 8, 2017
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Here is the full statement of Trump personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz

This is the full written statement given in a news conference by President Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz. Kasowitz departed in a few small instances from his prepared statement, which is below in full:

 I am Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal lawyer.  

Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, 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.

Mr  Comey’s testimony also makes clear that the President never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian 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.   

Consistent with that statement, the President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that 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 “asked how is General Flynn is doing.” Admiral Rogers testified that the President never “directed [him] to do anything . . . illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate” and never “pressured [him] to do so.”  Director Coates said the same thing. The President likewise never pressured Mr. Comey.   

The President also never told Mr. Comey, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty” in form or substance.   Of course, the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving in an administration, and, from before this President took office to this day, it is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications. 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.  The leaks of this privileged information began no later than March 2017 when friends of Mr. Comey have stated he disclosed to them the conversations he had with the President during their January 27, 2017 dinner and February 14, 2017 White House meeting.  

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.”  

Although Mr. Comey testified he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey’s excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appears to entirely retaliatory.  We will leave it the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated. .  

In sum, 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.     

McCain: Maybe I shouldn’t stay up late watching Diamondbacks games

After his questions for former FBI director James B. Comey baffled reporters and spectators, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) joked that he’d stayed up too late and attempted to clarify his point.

“I get the sense from Twitter that my line of questioning today went over people’s heads,” McCain said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. “Maybe going forward I shouldn’t stay up late watching the Diamondbacks night games. What I was trying to get at was whether Mr. Comey believes that any of his interactions with the President rise to the level of obstruction of justice.”

By the time the statement was released, McCain’s meandering back-and-forth with Comey had become a media distraction on a very busy day. Senators on both sides of the hearing room looked on quizzically as Comey struggled to understand McCain’s point. A Fox affiliate in McCain’s home state clipped the video with the headline “Everyone Is Talking About John McCain’s Bizarre Questioning To James Comey.” CNN diplomatically reported that Comey had been confused by McCain’s questions.

“You’re going to have to help me out here,” McCain said at one point. “We’re complete — the investigation of anything former secretary Clinton had to do in the campaign is over, and we don’t have to worry it any more?”

“I’m a little confused, senator,” Comey said.

In the statement, McCain clarified that he was trying to determine a key difference between the handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server and Comey’s response to President Trump’s questions about the ongoing Russia probe.

“In the case of Secretary Clinton’s emails, Mr. Comey was willing to step beyond his role as an investigator and state his belief about what ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would conclude about the evidence,” McCain said. “I wanted Mr. Comey to apply the same approach to the key question surrounding his interactions with President Trump — whether or not the President’s conduct constitutes obstruction of justice. While I missed an opportunity in today’s hearing, I still believe this question is important, and I intend to submit it in writing to Mr. Comey for the record.”

Trump lawyer: President never told Comey ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’

President Trump’s personal lawyer on Thursday flatly denied former FBI director James B. Comey’s assertion that Trump asked him for “loyalty” and accused Comey of improperly leaking “privileged communications” with the president.

In a statement after Comey’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee, attorney Marc Kasowitz also asserted that Trump never directed Comey “in form or substance” to stop the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials, and he said Comey’s testimony confirmed that Trump “was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference” in the 2016 election.

Kasowitz took exception with Comey’s written opening statement in which he said that Trump asked for his loyalty during a private, one-on-one dinner at the White House in January. In a memo he wrote after the meeting, Comey quoted Trump as saying: “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.”

But Kasowitz said Trump never said that.

“The President also never told Mr. Comey, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty’ in form or substance,” Kasowitz said in a written statement, a version of which he read aloud to reporters at the National Press Club. “Of course, the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving in an administration, and, from before this President took office to this day, it is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications. Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers.”

Comey, who was fired by Trump last month, told senators that he arranged to have the memos he recorded of his private conversations with the president released by a friend to a news reporter to put pressure on the FBI to appoint a special counsel to lead the Russia investigation.

“Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President,” Kasowitz said.

Kasowitz did not dispute parts of Comey’s testimony, including that he had told Trump three times that the president was not personally under investigation in the Russia probe. The lawyer also did not take issue with Comey’s testimony that Trump told him “it would be good to find out” if “some ‘satellite’ associates” acted improperly during the campaign. Intelligence officials have said Russia operatives stole private information from Democrats and released it publicly to embarrass presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and aid Trump.

Trump “feels completely vindicated” and is “eager to move forward with this cloud . . . lifted,” Kasowitz said.

But Kasowitz denied Comey’s contention that Trump sought to pressure Comey to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned under pressure in February after reports that he had misled administration officials over his contacts with Russian officials.

“The President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that Mr. Comey ‘let Flynn go,’ ” Kasowitz said. “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 ‘asked how is General Flynn is doing.’ ”

Kasowitz did not answer questions from reporters after finishing his statement. Trump has not remarked publicly on Comey’s testimony.

Five key things said during James Comey’s testimony

Former FBI director James B. Comey spent nearly two and a half hours answering questions from senators Thursday about his interactions with President Trump, why he was fired last month and his efforts to spur the appointment of a special counsel.

Here are five highlights:

1. Comey said he was fired because of the Russia probe

When asked why Trump suddenly fired him last month, Comey said that he has one idea.

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said. “I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.”

During an earlier round of questioning, Comey acknowledged that he did not know for sure but pointed out that he was taking Trump “at his word.”

After Comey was fired, Trump’s White House claimed the dismissal was due to his handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, based on the recommendation of top Justice Department officials and needed because the FBI was in disarray. But in an interview with NBC News that week, Trump threw those reasons aside, saying he had the Russia probe in his mind when firing Comey.

2. Comey took notes because he thought Trump might lie

Comey had served for more than three years as FBI director under President Barack Obama. During that time, he and Obama privately talked twice, but Comey never took notes on those interactions.

However, during his brief time leading the FBI during the Trump administration, Comey said he had nine interactions with Trump and began taking detailed notes after their first meeting in January.

Comey said his reason was simple: He was worried Trump would lie about their meetings.

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

After Comey’s public testimony before Congress, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders rebutted that charge.

“No, I can definitely say the president is not a liar,” Sanders said. “I think it’s frankly insulting that that question would be asked.”

In this combination photo, President Donald Trump, left, appears in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 10, 2017, and FBI Director James Comey appears at a news conference in Washington on June 30, 2014. Comey is making his first public comments since being fired by President Donald Trump and, according to his prepared remarks, will talk about the president's efforts put the investigation behind him. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, left, and Susan Walsh, File)
President Trump and James B. Comey. (Evan Vucci, left, and Susan Walsh, right/AP)

3. Comey says he was ‘defamed’  by Trump and White House

At the opening of the hearing, Comey immediately pushed back against statements by the White House and President Trump suggesting that the he was fired because of poor morale or turmoil at the FBI.

Comey said he was “increasingly concerned” about the shifting explanations the White House offered for his firing, but in particular he lashed out at suggestions of the FBI being in a state of chaos.

“The administration then chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led,” Comey said. “Those were lies, plain and simple. And I’m so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them, and I’m so sorry the American people were told them.’”

During his NBC News interview not long after firing Comey, Trump said that “the FBI has been in turmoil.”

“You know that. I know that,” Trump said. “Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.”

White House officials echoed that statement, with Sanders, the deputy press secretary, claiming after Comey’s firing that the rank and file FBI had lost faith in him. Her comment contradicted Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI director, who earlier that day said Comey had “broad support” inside the bureau. Sanders said “countless members of the FBI” had contacted her to express their support, a claim greeted with skepticism and one that remains unsubstantiated.

Comey said he was sorry for what the American people were told about the FBI. He also spoke with admiration of the bureau’s workforce, saying that its efforts would continue.

4. Comey says he helped leak accounts of his talks with Trump to get a special counsel appointed

After Comey was fired, news articles began to appear with details of his discussions with Trump, and in some cases the stories cited notes the former FBI director kept of those interactions.

On Thursday, Comey admitted he helped arrange at least one of these reports, alluding to a New York Times story published on May 16 discussing Comey’s recollection that Trump asked him to abandon the investigation into Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser.

Comey said, in response to questioning, that he was prompted to leak the memo after Trump tweeted on May 12 a suggestion that recordings may exist of their meetings. According to Comey, he “woke up in the middle of the night” because of the tweet and then asked a friend of his — Dan Richman, a former federal prosecutor and Columbia Law School professor who declined to comment Thursday — to share the details of the memo with a reporter.

“As a private citizen, I felt free to share that,” Comey said. “I thought it was very important to get it out.”

In an extraordinary admission, Comey said his decision to release the memo was aimed at getting a special prosecutor appointed. He opted to share it that way, Comey said, rather than give it to a reporter himself because “the media was camping at the end of my driveway at that point.”

“I was actually going out of town with my wife to hide,” he said. “I was worried it would be like feeding seagulls at the beach.”

The remarks may have had their intended effect in the appointment of a special counsel. Comey said he has since provided his memos to Robert S. Mueller III, the former FBI director appointed as special counsel not long after Comey was fired.

5. Comey said the FBI knew Jeff Sessions would recuse himself — but won’t say why

In a cryptic note, Comey mentioned in his prepared statement and his testimony Thursday that the FBI expected Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia-related investigation. This turned out to be correct, as Sessions would later do just that, but Comey would not specifically say why he thought the attorney general would recuse himself.

The now-fired FBI director wrote that he decided not to tell Sessions about Trump’s request that he hoped he would let go of the Flynn investigation, because he and the bureau leadership felt “it made little sense to report it to Attorney General Sessions, who we expected would likely recuse himself from involvement in Russia-related investigations.”

When asked about this Thursday by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Comey suggested that there were reasons Sessions could not remain involved in the probe but that those reasons involved classified information.

Comey said that the FBI felt Sessions would recuse himself “for a variety of reasons.” He also said the bureau was “aware of facts that I can’t discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic.” Comey did not elaborate further on these “facts.”

Rubio won’t dismiss notion that Trump may have obstructed justice

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) refused to join his Republican colleagues in dismissing the notion that there was anything in James B. Comey’s public testimony before the Intelligence Committee this morning suggesting President Trump tried to obstruct justice.

“I’m not prepared to reach a conclusion on that, because we’re not done with all the other pieces that are missing,” Rubio told reporters after the Comey hearing.

He noted that the committee still had to hear from Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers about whether the president tried to influence them to get Comey to drop the FBI’s probe as well.

“I don’t think anybody would leave this hearing and say to you that what the president said in the Oval Office on the 14th of February was appropriate,” Rubio said.

But he would not opine on “whether it rises to criminality,” though he noted others have “significant doubts” about that.

Rubio repeatedly wondered aloud why no one in the White House “advised the president about what’s appropriate and what isn’t when you’re interacting with the FBI.”

“I’m not saying he would have listened to it,” Rubio added.

But the Florida Republican, who often clashed with Trump when both were seeking the GOP presidential nod, said it was important to understand what Trump’s advisers were and were not doing. He said it has to be understood whether people are dealing with “a concerned, orchestrated effort to impede justice, or is this an unconventional non-politician who, because he has not worked in government before, either doesn’t understand or, quite frankly, is not interested in convention?”

Rubio had dinner with Trump on Wednesday night. He was asked whether the president brought up the investigation or tried to ask him about his role investigating allegations about the Trump administration as a member of the Intelligence Committee.

“No,” Rubio said. “And if he would have, we would have gotten up and walked out.”

James Comey testimony: Updates and reaction

Former FBI director James B. Comey is set to testify today in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.; a closed hearing is to start at 1 p.m.

Comey’s testimony was previewed on Wednesday in written remarks in which he describes President Trump’s demand of loyalty and the investigations.

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