Comey's testimony is explosive, but there's no smoking gun

President Donald Trump center gestures during a meeting with House and Senate Leadership in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington Tuesday

Eyes on Russia Probe Leaves Washington's To-Do List Undone

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., left, confers with Chairman Sen.

And there's one other thing to consider and remember: If this were any other new president, with the typical first-year approval ratings in the 60 percent and higher range, Comey's testimony would be a huge and stunning blow.

A few moments later, the president said, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty".

US President Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accords in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2017.

Thursday morning's testimony from Comey, who was sacked by President Donald Trump on May 9, has been highly anticipated as lawmakers search for answers in the investigation into alleged Russian election meddling and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.

Comey said he told then-president-elect Trump on January 6 in a briefing in Trump Tower that Trump himself was not being investigated.

Both National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers and Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee they believed their conversations with the president were confidential.

"If any of this is true, it would be an appalling and improper use of our intelligence professionals, an act that could erode the public's confidence in our intelligence institutions", Senator Mark Warner said.

"After discussing the matter, we chose to keep it very closely held, resolving to figure out what to do with it down the road as our investigation progressed", Comey wrote. He plans to say that though he did assure Trump that he was not personally under investigation, he was taken aback by specific requests, including one from February in which he said the president encouraged him to bring to an end a probe into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, then under scrutiny for his Russian Federation contacts.

Comey said he told the president that the investigation was going as quickly as a possible. "There, unprompted, Sweet Baby James wrote that Trump, ".said he had nothing to do with Russian Federation, had not been involved with hookers in Russian Federation". Three were in person and six were on the phone.

Pressed on reports about pressure from President Trump, the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and the ongoing investigation into Russia's efforts to impact the 2016 presidential election, the officials all declined to comment. The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director said he feared Trump had set up the encounter to "create some sort of patronage relationship".

The president told him "the cloud" of the probe was interfering with his ability to do his job.

In other words, Comey wasn't going to declare publicly that Trump wasn't under investigation so that he wouldn't need to then tell the public if Trump was.

"He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn't happen", Comey said. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward.

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