The first effort came January 27, when Trump invited Comey to dinner.
Trump asserted that the comments Thursday by Comey, whom he called "a leaker", had proved that there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow, nor any obstruction of justice by the president.
The President himself appears paralyzed by the controversy and has devoted little attention to anything else. But Comey said a lot. He had explained to the President how important it was that the F.B.I.be independent.
On one subject, Comey confirmed that the president is being truthful: Comey did tell him three times that he was not personally under investigation.
Sessions is a singularly compromised choice to fill the role of protector of investigative independence, though, and not just because he was one of Trump's earliest and most avid supporters and the first senator to endorse him. Or did Trump go all the way to illegal behavior by directing Comey to tamper with a criminal investigation?
Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will also likely testify before the committee, though a date has not been set yet.
Kislyak and about two dozen others also attended a reception with Trump and Sessions before the speech, the center said. Was it because, as Comey thought, he suspected that something improper was about to happen?
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On Thursday, Comey told lawmakers that he chose to tip the media off about Trump's "let this go" comment only after Trump tweeted about the possibility of a recording device inside the Oval Office. "It's a reasonable question", Comey said.
But Comey had a reason of his own not to.
"Those were lies, plain and simple", Comey said in his brief opening remarks. It circulated talking points before, during and after Comey's testimony, and has been working to rally rank-and-file voters around the claim that Comey's testimony vindicated Trump. This theory is often based on the notion that Trump has no ideology or deeply held policy preferences, and therefore that he is an empty vessel, ready to be filled with the instruction of the wise, or the merely clever.
The committee has issued subpoenas for "testimony, personal documents, and business records" to both Flynn and Michael Cohen, one of Trump's personal attorneys. He is not some child of nature. Comey said he was confused and concerned by Trump's changing explanation for firing him. But no sensible person can deny that Trump - with his obsessive tweeting and aphasic outbursts - has done nearly everything he can to make that cloud thicker and darker than necessary.
The Senate and House Intelligence Committees will continue to sift through raw intelligence materials, and interview witnesses, behind closed doors in secure rooms. "It's my judgment that I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation", Comey testified.
After the election but before the inauguration, Trump asked Bharara to stay on as US attorney in Manhattan when they met at Trump Tower. Trump's lawyer later referred to this as an "unauthorized disclosure" of "privileged communications". But Comey's concentration on the president's hope may have doomed him.
And Comey admitted that he asked a friend to leak those notes to a reporter, correctly betting that the details would prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor. He added that he might have made them public sooner, but feared that it would be the President's word against his.
The request comes the day after Comey's momentous testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and after Trump in a Rose Garden news conference dodged questions about the existence of any White House tapes of his conversations with Comey. As in, good golly, I hope it doesn't rain this weekend? On the "Today" show, former campaign aide Corey Lewandowski stated that Comey was part of the intelligence "deep state" out to undermine Trump. Whether such a finding would ever lead to a bill of impeachment, which requires a majority of votes in the House of Representatives, depends on the internal politics of the G.O.P. John McCain, R-Ariz., who wanted to know why Comey wouldn't publicly clear Trump of wrongdoing even though he had done so for Hillary Clinton.
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