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Donald Trump’s Counsel: President “Completely And Totally Vindicated” By James Comey’s Hearing Remarks

UPDATED with statement: President Trump’s outside counsel Marc Kasowitz on Wednesday issued a statement about former FBI Director James Comey’s thermonuclear text of opening remarks he plans to deliver Thursday when he appears before the Senate Intel Committee. The committee asked Comey to testify pursuant to its investigation of Russian election tampering and possible Trump campaign collusion.

In its statement, Kasowitz said: “The President is pleased that Mr. Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russian probe. The president feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda.”

Trump was celebrating Infrastructure Week in Cincinnati on Wednesday when the FBI chief Trump sacked last month released his prepared remarks and TV news outlets began broadcasting the headlines to the world.

After announcing he plans to spend $1 trillion to overhaul the country’s roads and bridges, boasting about pulling out of the “so-called Paris accord” and meeting with “Obamacare victims,” Trump boarded his plane to head back to Washington. During the flight, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was reviewing the testimony, but she remarked eyebrow-raisingly about Comey’s timing. This is pretty rich, coming from a rep of the guy who this morning tried to upstage Comey’s testimony, and that of senior intel execs before the committee today, when he unveiled his pick to replace Comey in an early-morning tweet. Trump’s tweet and pick reportedly blindsided his own White House communications staff and senior staffers.

During the period in which the White House scrambled to craft a response, Trump allies stepped in to fill the void:

Among revelations, Comey will say Trump called to invite him to dinner. Trump in May told NBC’s Lester Holt that Comey asked him for the dinner because Comey wanted to keep his job. In his remarks, Comey will say Trump began that dinner by asking him whether he wanted to stay on as FBI director. Comey will say the one-on-one setting and pretense that this was their first discussion about his post meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have him ask for his job and create some sort of patronage relationship, which Comey found concerning.

During the dinner, Trump told him “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”

“I didn’t move, speak or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence,” Comey will say in his opening remarks.

Comey also will talk about a March 30 phone call in which Trump called him at the FBI and described the Russia investigation as “‘a cloud’ that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. According to Comey, Trump said on that call he had nothing to do with Russia, had “not been involved with hookers in Russia” and asked what could be done to “lift the cloud.”

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