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Comey account could fuel obstruction accusations against Trump - legal experts

08 Juin 2017

In written testimony released by the panel on Wednesday, Comey said Trump told him on January 27 that "I expect loyalty", and in a February 14 meeting asked him to back off from a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's ties with Russian Federation.

It was during this conversation where Trump famously asked Comey if he could "let this go", and that Flynn was a "good guy".

He says Trump asked him to stay behind in the Oval Office after a meeting with a larger group, and as they stood near a grandfather clock, Trump described Flynn as a good guy who'd been through a lot. "I hope you can let this go, '" Mr Comey says, according to the prepared remarks. Democrats see new evidence of a president looking to obstruct justice.

"FBI directors are supposed to be independent", Ryan said of the Trump-Comey interactions. "That constitutes obstruction of justice".

Blumenthal spoke as news of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey's testimony upcoming Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee spread through Washington.

"But blurring those boundaries ultimately makes the problems worse by undermining public trust in the institutions and their work", Comey said in his statement. "It's not a slam dunk, but it is plausible".

A former chief of the Justice Department's Criminal Division from 2003 to 2005, Wray served during the administration of President George W. Bush. A Justice Department spokesman, Ian Prior, said, "The attorney general doesn't believe it's appropriate to respond to media inquiries on matters that may be related to ongoing investigations".

Comey offered intimate details of his encounter with Trump in an apparent attempt to create added authenticity to his account.

President Donald Trump promised Wednesday to create a "first-class" system of roads, bridges and waterways by using $200 billion in public funds to generate $1 trillion in investment to pay for construction projects that most public officials agree are badly needed and long overdue. I told the AG that what had just happened - him being asked to leave while the FBI Director, who reports to the AG, remained behind - was inappropriate and should never happen.

Comey states that Trump called him on March 30 and said "he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia".

"He asked what we could do to "lift the cloud". "I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren't, and because it was very hard to prove a negative".

Comey gets a midday phone call from now-President Trump inviting him to dinner at the White House that night. Moscow and Trump have both denied any collusion.

He may also be asked whether he wrote the same sorts of memos on his conversations with former President Barack Obama that he is said to have done after meeting with Trump.

Comey won't say on Thursday whether he thinks the president sought to derail the Flynn investigation or a probe into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian government officials, according to a person familiar with his thinking. "The key question here is whether the President acted with corrupt intent and, to determine what his intent was, we have to look at all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case". "But he has leeway to do so".

Watch for a battle between Democrats and Republicans over how to characterize Trump's request of Comey - as well as Trump's other requests, like his repeatedly asking Comey for his loyalty.

Comey account could fuel obstruction accusations against Trump - legal experts