Published: Mon, June 12, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Trump says Comey not telling truth, willing to respond under oath


Key points such as whether Mr Trump implied Mr Comey would keep his job if the "cloud" of the Russian Federation probe lifted, or whether the president asked Mr Comey to drop the investigation into fired NSA Advisor Michael Flynn, remain one man's word against the other. While Trump maintained he did not ask Comey to let the FBI's investigation into Flynn go, he told reporters "there'd be nothing wrong if I did say it".

Trump says Comey's testimony also vindicated him from allegations that he colluded with Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Such a grand jury investigation and presentation would necessarily require the appointment of a second "special counsel" or the creation of a new independent prosecutor to avoid any interaction and conflict with the Justice Department, which nominally directs and controls the current Robert Mueller-led investigation under existing law.

"It was just an excuse, but we were very, very happy, and, frankly, James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said, and some of the things that he said just weren't true".

Another reporter yelled: "Why won't you tell us now, Mr. President?"

"Over a fairly short period of time", Trump repeated.

Punching back a day after his fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director's damaging testimony, President Donald Trump on Friday accused James Comey of lying to Congress and said he was "100 percent" willing to testify under oath about their conversations.

Trump's words came during a remarkable news conference during which he suddenly pledged to honour NATO's mutual self-defence policy and broke sharply with his secretary of state's attempt to calm the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Although Trump professed to want to focus on his policy agenda, which GOP lawmakers and many White House aides have advised, the president relished offering his own defense after tweeting similar reactions early in the day.

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Trump demurred when asked whether tapes of his talks with Comey actually exist.

Trump replied: "Oh, you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don't worry". It doesn't mean that every memory he has is exactly right or that there aren't different interpretations.

But while Republicans in general have continued to back the president, some have begun openly questioning and criticizing his actions.

"Theres no question he abused power", Ms Pelosi said.

Standing with the president of Romania, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partner, Trump at last confirmed his commitment to the alliance's mutual defense pact, Article 5, uttering words he deliberately did not say when he spoke at NATO's gathering in Belgium last month.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: On the other side of the aisle, Democrats pounced on Comey's claims about the president.

Investigate any obstruction of justice on Comey, Russia Ex-AG: Comey, Sessions were "failing to do their job" The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE and former FBI Director James Comey have been "failing to do their job". Obstruction of justice is a potentially impeachable offense. "And my judgment was, I needed to get that out into the public square", Comey said. They sent a separate request to Trump's White House counsel, Don McGahn, for any record the White House had of their meetings.

For the PBS NewsHour, I'm William Brangham.

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