Some Democrats are calling on President Donald Trump to testify under oath after his personal attorney suggested that fired FBI Director James Comey lied under oath and Trump tweeted Friday that Comey’s hearing was a “total and complete vindication” in spite of “so many false statements and lies.”
Comey’s statements — lying under oath would constitute a federal crime — carry more legal weight than those of Trump and his team, since they are not under oath.
That provided the inspiration for a few Democratic senators to suggest that Trump testify under oath.
The first to do so was Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who said in a statement after Comey’s testimony that Trump should square the differing accounts before Congress.
“For the first time, under oath and penalty of perjury, the former FBI director testified that the president repeatedly pressed him for a pledge of loyalty, and asked him to drop the investigation into illegal activity of a White House staffer at the center of the Russia probe,” Murphy said in the statement. “A couple months later, after neither request was fulfilled, Trump fired him.”
“What’s most important is that investigators in the Senate and at the Department of Justice get all the facts and find the truth,” he added. “If the White House’s account differs from what we heard today, the American people deserve to hear the president’s side of the story in a similar forum — under oath and open to the press.”
Other prominent Democrats came on board Friday. Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, disputed Comey’s claim that Trump directed him to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. And Trump tweeted early Friday morning mentioning “lies” and “so many false statements” that had “vindicated” him.
“Making a false statement to Congress is a felony,” Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii tweeted in response to Trump’s post. “This is not just another silly tweet.”
He later added that it’s “essential for our country that” Trump “offer his testimony to Congress about what exactly happened.”
Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland echoed similar thoughts on Twitter following Trump’s comments.
“More hot air from someone who has had an estranged relationship with the truth,” he wrote. “Mr. President, will you testify under oath like Comey?”
Politico’s Playbook on Friday reported that more lawmakers will likely soon come on board and join the calls to have Trump testify under oath with the president coming “pretty close” to suggesting Comey lied in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“This is why keeping quiet is oftentimes the best idea,” the authors of Playbook wrote. Trump “has now created a whole new storyline that is certain to distract Washington for the days and weeks to come. Note that most Republicans yesterday didn’t accuse James Comey of lying — in fact, many of them called him honest and honorable. They just took issue with whether Trump directly asked Comey to drop the Russia investigation.”
Asked about whether she supported Trump testifying under oath — either before the House or Senate or to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the Russia investigation — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said during her weekly press conference Friday that the president’s testimony under oath is not needed at this time. But she added that Trump “probably would like to come here” and testify.
“I’m not one to say the president should come here to testify … maybe it would come to that,” she said. “He probably would like to come here. But he’s all about a reality show, so this might fit right into his agenda.”
“I think there are other remedies we can exhaust,” she later added. “I respect the opinion of those who think he should come. But I think if the Republicans in Congress will be more, shall we say, open to facts and the truth, we can learn a lot without the president coming here.”
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