Trump's private attorney, Marc Kasowitz, seized on Comey's affirmation that he told Trump he was not personally under investigation.
The Senate Intelligence Committee hearing should have ended there, 20 minutes into Comey answering Chairman Senator Richard Burr's questions.
Some say there's no obvious obstruction case, others say there's a pattern of behaviour that shows intent - a private dinner, a meeting in the Oval Office where everyone got kicked out, the fact Comey got fired, and Trump later suggesting he had the Russian Federation investigation in mind when he did the firing.
He had a friend pass the memo to the Times in the hopes it would trigger the appointment of a special counsel. "The Senate Intelligence Committee investigation and special counsel Mueller ought to get to the bottom of this matter". Blabbing that he fired FBI Director James B. Comey because of the Russian Federation investigation, hinting that there were tapes of the conversations and smearing the intelligence community have all backfired on him.
Kasowitz and the Republican National Committee (RNC) said that the testimony "proved what we have known all along: President Trump is not under investigation".
Still, there's no doubt the veteran lawman made for a challenging adversary. Asked if he trusted Comey - and after seeing that reporters weren't looking at his access code - he said he was "on the record that I trust James Comey". "I remember thinking, this is a very disturbing development, really important to our work".
The following describesobstruction of justice and whether Comey's testimony could lead to either a prosecution or impeachment of the president. The president told him, "I hope you can let this go", and he took it as more than a mere suggestion.
On Thursday after the hearing by Comey, Sen.
In the packed hearing room, with long lines of spectators waiting to get in, Republicans sat grimly even during occasional lighter moments. "Those were lies, plan and simple", Comey said, adding that Trump "chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI" in those remarks.
Comey said he was aware the president tweeted Comey "had better hope" there were no tapes of his conversations with Comey.
Comey recounts a private meeting with President Trump, a dinner, where the president asked Comey for his personal loyalty. "There might be a tape", Comey said.
Leading up to his firing last month, Comey said Trump called him and described the Russian Federation investigation as "a cloud that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country". Susan Collins asked Comey why he had started taking notes after his first meeting with Trump; Comey replied that it was a "gut" feeling.
If Trump was playing checkers with his Federal Bureau of Investigation director before ultimately firing him, whispering praise about keeping him on, clearing the Oval Office of top officials for a private one-on-one, demanding political loyalty over dinner, tweeting a threat about alleged tapes of their conversation, then Comey was playing chess. Sounds more like political insurance, or blackmail against a president Comey vehemently disliked and admittedly feared. Dianne Feinstein of California asked: "Why didn't you stop and say, 'Mr. President, this is wrong, '?" Rather than focusing on Trump, Republicans might be advised to look at questions such as why Comey signed off on a FISA request on Carter Page that included the Christopher Steele dossier, which the intelligence services had been treating as a hot potato. But he added: "Again, I take the president's words. I was so stunned by the conversation I just took it in".
According to Panagopoulos, Comey seemed intent to "interject some informality in the process so that it doesn't come across as totally robotic, [which is] also a way of humanizing himself and showing that he's just like everybody else".
The president's detractors saw a completely different hearing, one where the country's former top policeman referred to the president as a liar, as untrustworthy, and as someone who may be under investigation for obstructing justice. House Speaker Paul Ryan, commenting on the procedures, defended Trump's potentially illegal behavior as the mistakes of a novice.
Though it was not surprising, Comey's decision to publicly confirm a criminal investigation of possible collusion between the sitting president and a foreign power was a stunning revelation.