Trump Claims ‘Vindication’ After Comey Rakes Him Over Coals

President Donald Trump announces the approval of a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, clearing the way for the $8 billion project, Friday, March 24, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

The morning after former FBI Director James Comey delivered blockbuster testimony in the Senate in which he painted President Donald Trump as a liar and said that the President pressured him to quash a probe into Michael Flynn, Trump published a tweet declaring “vindication.”

Trump published his tweet shortly after 6 a.m. on Friday morning, during the time frame when he typically shares his thoughts on Twitter.

He referenced “false statements and lies,” appearing to accuse Comey of lying under oath.

Trump also labeled Comey a “leaker,” referencing Comey’s decision to get a friend to share the contents of memos about his conversations with Trump to the press, a revelation the former FBI director shared on Thursday during with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Trump’s tweet marks the first time he explicitly addressed Comey’s testimony. The President remained uncharacteristically quiet throughout the day on Thursday as Comey delivered his testimony and cable news covered the hearing in its entirety. During an address at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event, Trump made no direct mention of Comey, but told the gathering that he was “under siege.” He left the official response to the testimony to his outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz.

The President’s tweet echoes the talking points used by Kasowitz and many Republicans as they responded to Comey’s testimony. Trump and his allies emphasized that Comey confirmed to the public that he told Trump three times that he was not personally under investigation.

However, Comey’s blistering testimony painted Trump as a liar, with Comey charging that the Trump administration tried to defame him after he was fired from the FBI and noting that he kept diligent notes of his interactions with Trump because he didn’t trust the President to tell the truth.

Comey also testified that Trump attempted get him to pledge his loyalty, and that Trump pressured him to drop an investigation into Flynn, his former national security adviser.

Kasowitz pushed back on parts of Comey’s testimony, claiming Thursday that Trump did not pressure Comey to drop the Flynn investigation and did not ask for loyalty from the former FBI director.

Trump then followed up Friday morning, accusing Comey of making “false statements” and telling “lies,” perhaps a reference to the former FBI director’s testimony about the loyalty pledge and pressure to drop the Flynn probe.