Washington- The testimony of former director of the FBI James Comey in a public hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday kept the doors open to speculations concerning US President Donald Trump’s interference in the investigation on collusion with Russia.
Speaking for the first time on the matter publicly, Comey testified that Trump did not ask him to stop his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
Asked specifically if anyone ever asked him to stop the Russia probe, Comey replied: “No.”
On the other hand, Comey said he considered a request by the president to “let go” the investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as a “direction” to drop the Flynn probe.
“This is a president of the United States with me alone saying, ‘I hope this’. I took it as, this is what he wants me to do,” Comey said.
For his part, Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, has rejected the allegations made by Comey and denied the claim that the president asked the ex-FBI chief’s loyalty.
During his testimony, Comey said Trump told him: “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”
The president “never told Comey, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,’ in form or substance,” Kasowitz said in a statement.
Kasowitz also accused Comey of disclosing privileged communications with the president to the news media, without authorization.
“Comey’s excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information … appears to be entirely retaliatory,” Kasowitz said in the statement.