Comey
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James Comey, ousted FBI chief, accused the White House of lies and defamation on Thursday, in an explosive testimony that purportedly exposed President Donald Trump’s conduct as dishonest and inappropriate.

The atmosphere in Washington was charged prior to Comey’s testimony. Long lines of journalists had formed outside of the Senate building hours before the hearing. Bars in the capital opened early in anticipation of the hearing and offered FBI themed special menus.

During three hours of highly anticipated sworn testimony to a Senate panel, Comey described himself as “stunned” by Trump’s “very disturbing” and “very concerning” behavior during several private meetings.

Expanding on the bombshell statement released on the eve of his appearance, Comey said the president asked him for “loyalty” during a White House dinner

Comey stated in his opening statement, which was made public a day before the hearing, that he had met with President Obama face-to-face only twice but with President Trump, he had 9 separate meetings

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“I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) – once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016. In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions. I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months – three in person and six on the phone.”

Expanding on the bombshell statement released on the eve of his appearance, Comey said the president asked him for “loyalty” during a White House dinner and regarding the firing of former national security advisor Mike Flynn (currently under criminal investigation) implored Comey to “let this go.”

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey informed senators. “I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a very big deal.”

Detailing private talks with a sitting president, which under normal circumstances would be inconceivable, Comey said he took painstaking notes of the extraordinary encounters for fear that Trump might “lie” about the meetings.

Comey indicated that the determination of whether the president’s behavior constituted an obstruction of justice was up to the special prosecutor Robert Mueller. Obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense.

Dismissing months of speculation, Comey confirmed that Trump was not personally the subject of a counterterror or criminal probe when he left the FBI last month.

Trump abstained from directly responding to the explosive accusations, defiantly telling supporters at a religious event in the capital: “We are going to fight and win.” However, the White House issued an angry rebuttal to Comey’s accusations.

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“I can definitely say the president is not a liar and frankly am insulted by that question,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.

“The president feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda,” said Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s personal lawyer tasked with dealing with issues linked to the Russia investigation, after Comey’s statement was released.

Dismissing months of speculation, Comey confirmed that Trump was not personally the subject of a counterterror or criminal probe when he left the FBI last month.

The probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election has ensnared close aides of the president and has vast-ranging political and geopolitical implications.

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