President Trump claims 'vindication' from Comey testimony, calls him a 'leaker'

Fired FBI Director James Comey's much-hyped testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was the rare Washington hearing that actually lived up to its billing.

The objective isn't to penalize Comey, or even to make him worry about legal action. "But that's all a matter of how he conducts his job, and what his relationship is with the president is not a legal question".

Unlike doctor-patient privilege or attorney-client privilege, executive power is not absolute, ABC News noted. Comey said Trump didn't issue a direct order to Comey to release Flynn from the investigation, but "I took it as a direction".

Comey's decision to pass on the memo to Richards was not illegal because none of the information in it was classified, legal experts note.

Comey not only confirmed telling Trump he was not the target of FBI investigation during his tenure, the career law man stopped short of claiming to know the president colluded with Russian Federation during the campaign or obstructed justice.

Comey, who testified before a Senate committee on Thursday, asserted that President Donald Trump had fired him to interfere with an investigation of Russia's ties to the Trump campaign and reaffirmed the intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation meddled in the election.

At the time, the FBI was investigating Flynn for his contacts with Russians and possibly lying to government investigators about them.

Comey, in his testimony, said he did ask Sessions one thing after what the then-FBI director viewed as an uncomfortable one-on-one meeting with Trump in February: To not leave him alone with the president.

"My judgment was I need to get that out into the public square", Comey said.

"James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said, and some of the things that he said just weren't true", Trump said during a Friday press conference.

But it achieved Comey's goal.

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He expressed confidence that the circumstances of his firing, and Trump's overall behavior toward him, could be investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.

But the president's decision to weigh in personally represented a sharp shift in strategy for the White House and could come with political risk for Trump, who has potentially undermined himself legally on other matters through his tweets, including his attempt to impose a "travel ban" on immigrants from some majority-Muslim countries.

"The testimony, in conjunction with Comey's firing, also raises the question of whether President Trump was improperly trying to end the investigation into ties between Russian Federation and his campaign affiliates and administration", Himes said.

Kasowitz and White House advisers, including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Counsel Donald F. McGahn, argued to Trump that they had a rapid-response operation in place Thursday to defend him as vociferously as he would defend himself, according to people familiar with the discussions. A spokesman for the office declined to comment.

"He's holding up well - very well", J. Brien Comey Sr.

And then "confused and concerned" as he was, Comey used this very pretext to usurp the Justice Department's authority in calling Clinton "extremely careless" and yet letting her go as if he were the only honest cop in town.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck noted that federal law only prohibits disclosing "information relating to the national defense" or information that has a financial value to the USA - neither of which pertain to Comey's memo.

Former Director of Federal Bureau of Investigations James Comey speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington D.C., the United States, on June 8, 2017. These conversations were so alarming that Comey said he immediately began taking extensive notes on the interactions.

"He's new at government, so therefore I think he's learning as he goes", Ryan said. "But in terms of a criminal prosecution, I find that hard to imagine in this context".

"To me, the guy who oversaw the most leak investigations and prosecutions of any administration in American history decides to become a leaker when it suits his own interests?" said defense attorney Edward B. MacMahon Jr., who represented a former Central Intelligence Agency officer convicted in a leak case. "The irony is quite rich".

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