Sunday, June 11, 2017 11:19 pm
US President Donald Trump on Sunday characterized the leak of former FBI director James Comey’s memo of their conversations “cowardly” and suggested the act could have legal consequences.
Comey admitted Thursday in testimony before the Senate intelligence committee that after Trump fired him on May 9 he asked a friend to leak his own personal notes of a meeting with the president to the press.
Comey said he felt it was necessary to take notes on his meetings and conversations with Trump because he feared the president would lie about what took place.
He said he shared the notes with a friend expecting them to be leaked in hopes of prompting the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Russian election interference.
On Sunday Trump attacked the former FBI director’s actions in a tweet.
“I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. Totally illegal? Very ‘cowardly!’” Trump said on Twitter.
Trump had already questioned the legality of Comey’s action through his lawyer Marc Kasowitz on Thursday.
Kasowitz blasted Comey for leaking information about his private conversations with the president and said it would be left to authorities to determine whether the leaks should be investigated.
The leaks created a political firestorm over whether Trump pressured Comey to drop an investigation into contacts between Russian officials and Michael Flynn, who briefly served as Trump’s national security advisor.
Comey said he believed Trump fired him because of the Russia investigation, and Trump himself cited “this Russia thing” as a motivating factor for his decision to sack Comey during an interview with broadcaster NBC that aired last month.
Opposition Democrats have said that the leaks occurred after Comey was fired and no longer serving as a government official.
Trump said he felt vindicated by Comey’s testimony, adding Friday that it showed “no collusion, no obstruction.”
He also said he was willing to testify under oath with special counsel Robert Mueller about his conversations with Comey.
But Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, on Sunday said he would like that testimony to be before the Senate to help clear the “cloud” hanging over the administration in connection with the Russia probe.
“He said he would testify. So I’m inviting him to come testify, and we could work that out,” Schumer said on CBS.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Mueller would have to agree to such an invitation, and it’s unclear they would.
Such a hearing would be unprecedented and an even bigger spectacle than Comey’s testimony, but the senator said it could be done in a “dignified” way.
Schumer also joined a chorus of calls for the president to release any recordings of his conversations with Comey. Trump alluded to the existence of tapes again on Friday, but wouldn’t say definitively whether recordings of his conversations with Comey exist.
He hinted that reporters would be “disappointed” when he issues the answer, which he said would come soon.
“If there aren’t tapes, he should let that be known. No more game playing,” Schumer said.