Comey says he was fired over Russia probe, blasts 'lies'

Former FBI director James Comey is sworn in during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday

The Justice Department contended on Thursday that contrary to his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI Director James Comey received a memo detailing different aspects of Attorney General Jeff Sessions's recusal from the Russian Federation investigation.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington, June 8, 2017.

Comey said Trump did not attempt to get him to drop the overall Russian Federation investigation, just the part of if that related to Flynn, who the president fired in February for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the extent of his conversations a year ago with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

Mr Comey also said the president defamed him and the Federal Bureau of Investigation by claiming the agency was "poorly led", which Mr Comey called "lies, plain and simple". In a February 14 one-on-one encounter in the Oval Office, Trump asked Comey to lay off Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who is one subject of the probe. I believe the - I take the president at his word, that I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation.

Comey wouldn't answer the question of whether he believed Trump committed obstruction of justice by attempting to shut down parts of the investigation.

Trump has emphatically denied the most serious allegations: that he asked Comey for a loyalty pledge, and that he tried to chill the investigation into collusion between his campaign and Russians who were attempting to interfere in the November 8 election. The No. 2 moment was Comey's comment "Lordy, I hope there are tapes" in reference to President Donald Trump's tweet that Comey "better hope there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

Ryan was also asked about his thoughts about Comey's suggestions that the White House and Trump lied about aspects of his firing, and that the conversations were a big deal.

"I mean, this is the president of the United States, with me alone, saying, "I hope" this", he said.

He said he began writing memos after his meetings with Mr Trump because he was "honestly anxious he might lie". Instead, Kasowitz pushed back and the president remained conspicuously silent on Twitter during the hearing despite expectations he might respond.

And those inclined to see Comey as a clever bureaucratic player got to hear him tell of how he got a friend to leak a story about his written meeting memos.

Trump's attorney, Marc Kasowitz, went on the offensive only a couple of hours after Comey concluded his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee - a highly anticipated performance that was broadcast live on national television.

Comey "put a dagger, if you will, right near the heart of Sessions", Rather said.

On one subject, Comey confirmed that the president is being truthful: Comey did tell him three times that he was not personally under investigation.

Comey acknowledged leaking a memo detailing his interactions in an effort to speed the appointment of a special counsel, and thank goodness he did.

"That's a great question", Comey replied.

Comey also made clear that political entanglement in law enforcement has cut across party lines. "If the election were on October 27, I would be your president", Clinton said last month.

Comey also revealed that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had instructed him to refer to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as a "matter" rather than an "investigation".

Within days of Comey's firing, Trump's Justice Department, over the president's opposition, named Mueller to lead the investigation into all aspects of Russia's meddling in the election. "I am so sorry I didn't get to say goodbye to you properly".

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