President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz suggested Thursday that former FBI Director James Comey lied under oath during his blockbuster Thursday testimony and criticised him for making “unauthorised disclosures” to the press through a friend.
Kasowitz also made note that Comey “has now finally confirmed publicly” what Trump had insisted the ousted FBI director told him in private: that “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,” Kasowitz said.
Kasowitz, recently hired as Trump’s outside counsel for matters related to the Russia probe, insisted that Trump “never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that Mr. Comey ‘let [ousted national security director] Michael Flynn go.'” Comey, under oath, testified that he believed Trump was directing him to end the probe into Flynn.
Kasowitz also pointed to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers’ comments from Wednesday, when they testified they never felt “pressured” by Trump to interfere in the FBI’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.
“The president also never told Mr. Comey, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty’ in form or substance,” Kasowitz said, which also contradicted Comey’s testimony under oath.
He added: “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.”
Kasowitz then took aim at Comey’s admission that he ordered his friend, a professor at Columbia law school, to provide information to the press on memos he kept on his private conversations with Trump because he felt the investigation may have reached the point at which a special counsel needed to be appointed. Comey’s directive came after Trump tweeted that Comey should hope “no tapes” exist of their conversations.
“Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorised disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the president,” Kasowitz said. “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 continued. “He also testified that immediately after he was terminated he authorised 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 unauthorised disclosure of privileged information and appears to entirely retaliatory.”
But as New York Times reporter Julie Davis reported, Kasowitz was incorrect about when content involving the Comey memos was first reported by the Times.
She tweeted that the first time Comey’s memos were reported on was May 16, after Trump’s May 12 tweet that Comey should hope there are “no tapes” of their prior conversations.
“We will leave it the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated,” Kasowitz said.
Trump’s attorney also said that Comey’s testimony “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,'” he said. “And he did not exclude anyone from that statement.”
He concluded by noting that Comey’s comments about how Trump was not personally swept up in any counterintelligence investigation are “virtually the only facts” that hadn’t leaked out prior to Comey’s testimony.
“In sum, it is now established that there the president was not being investigated for colluding … or attempting to obstruct that investigation,” he said. “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.”