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Trump’s lawyer accuses Comey of perjury

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Who are you going to believe?

CREDIT: CNN screengrab

In the wake of former FBI Director James Comey’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s personal lawyer, released a statement denying the two most incriminating aspects of his testimony.

Kasowitz’s pointed rejection of Comey’s narrative could be an indication that Trump’s legal team believes it places the president in legal jeopardy.

Comey testified under oath that during a February meeting, the president asked him to drop a criminal investigation into lies former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn told the FBI about his communications with Russian officials.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said, according to Comey. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Kasowitz’s typo-ridden statement flatly denies Trump ever said that.

“[T]he President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that that [sic] Mr. Comey ‘let Flynn go,’” it says. “As he publicly stated the next day, he did say to Mr. Comey, ‘Genereal Flynn is a good guy, he has been through a lot’ and also ‘asked how is General Flynn doing.”

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Kasowitz also accused Comey of lying with regard to what Trump told him during a White House dinner in January. Comey testified that during that dinner, Trump asked Comey to pledge personal loyalty to him, saying, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”

That never happened, according to the president’s lawyer.

“The President also never told Mr. Comey, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty’ in form or substance,” Kasowitz writes. “Of course, the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving in an administration.”

By accusing Comey of lying under oath, Kasowitz is effectively accusing him of perjury. But at other points, Trump’s lawyer seems more than happy to take Comey’s testimony at face value.

“Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told the President privately: The President was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference,” his statement says. “He also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote [was] changed as a result of any Russian interference.”

Paul Ryan defends Trump: ‘He’s new at government’ and doesn’t know not to obstruct justice

While Comey testified that he indeed told Trump on numerous occasions he was not personally under investigation, he also indicated Trump is now under scrutiny by Special Counsel Bob Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.

The contradiction in Kasowitz’s statement was also apparent in talking points released by the Republican National Committee before Comey’s testimony. Those talking points alternately portray the former FBI director as an unethical liar whose testimony it just so happens also vindicates Trump.

But Kasowitz’s statement goes further. Its concluding paragraphs suggest Comey himself might be guilty of wrongdoing and should be investigated.

“Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President,” it says. “We will leave it [to] the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks [sic] should be investigated along with all those others being investigated.”

https://medium.com/media/563c45e3ffac90e3f11a266d3e3962e9/href

On May 16, the New York Times published a bombshell story about a memo Comey wrote detailing how Trump asked him “to shut down the federal investigation” into Flynn.

During his testimony, Comey said he authorized a “good friend” who is a “professor at Columbia law school” to share the memos with the media after Trump issued a veiled threat to Comey on Twitter.

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Regarding the memos, Comey testified that his “judgment was I needed to get that out into the public square. So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter.” (CNN later reported that the “friend” is Daniel C. Richman, a professor at Columbia law school.)

“I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel, so I asked a close friend of mine to do it,” Comey said, adding that he made sure the memos didn’t contain classified information.

A University of Texas law professor and CNN contributors says it’s a stretch to claim Comey’s decision to go public with the memos broke any laws.

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It’s also worth noting that Trump tweeted and talked publicly about his conversations with Comey before the memos were reported by the New York Times.

Kasowitz recently represented Bill O’Reilly during the sexual harassment scandal that led to his ouster from Fox News. Shortly before O’Reilly was fired, Kasowitz authored a statement claiming O’Reilly “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.”

While Trump himself hasn’t yet commented publicly about Comey’s testimony, Donald Jr. Trump used Twitter to amplify a line of defense outlined by Sen. James Risch (R-ID) during his questioning of Comey — that there’s a meaningful difference between Trump telling Comey he “hopes” he’ll drop the Flynn investigation and directing him to do it.


Trump’s lawyer accuses Comey of perjury was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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