Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

White House looks for ways to undermine Comey's credibility

Comey's testimony appears to confirm news reports that Trump personally requested the FBI chief halt the investigation, and the former FBI chief said he did not tell Trump he would "let this go".

"I had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with his false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December", added Comey, who was sacked by Trump in early May.

"I wish him luck", Trump said, speaking briefly with reporters after a White House meeting in the Roosevelt Room with Republican Senate and House leaders on Tuesday. "Comey" class="local_link" >James Comey's testimony before a Senate panel could all affect investor sentiment.

Comey might have to field some uncomfortable questions, especially if he now characterizes the February meeting with Trump and his own later firing as an attempt at obstruction of justice.

Comey said Trump told him at a dinner on January 27, a week after the president took office, that: "I need loyalty".

Comey also faces serious credibility problems ahead of his highly anticipated Senate testimony Thursday, with 36 percent of Americans saying they trust what he says about Russian Federation and the election "a great deal" or "a good amount", while 55 percent trust him less or not at all. He paused and then said, "That's what I want, honest loyalty.". Since then, Trump and Comey allies have traded competing narratives about their interactions.

"He is a good guy and has been through a lot".

"He then said, 'I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go".

Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME, who is also a member of the Senate intelligence committee, said it will be one of the first questions she asks Comey.

The new revelation about Comey's uneasiness with Trump brings to mind a posting last month by Comey friend Benjamin Wittes on his Lawfare blog, in which he said Comey "saw it as an ongoing task on his part to protect the rest of the Bureau from improper contacts and interferences from a group of people he did not regard as honorable". In a March 30 phone call with Comey, Trump "described the Russian Federation investigation as "a cloud" that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country".

Comey said his practice of keeping written meeting records began after his encounter with Trump before the inauguration. "He asked what we could do to 'lift the cloud'".

"I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December". The White House has already put the world on notice that Trump may tweet during the testimony.

Later in this April 11 call, Trump also made a cryptic reference to loyalty.

Coats' associates told the Post that he discussed Trump's request with other officials and decided it was inappropriate. The poll finds substantial skepticism across party lines, evidence that his role investigating the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has taken a toll. The New York Times buries the lead in this story, as did CBS News, both of which emphasize the discomfort James Comey had in meeting with Donald Trump - so much so that he asked Jeff Sessions to act as his wingman.

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