President Trump was uncharacteristically quiet during James Comey’s thundering Senate testimony, but he’ll have a big opportunity to respond Friday afternoon during a joint press conference with Romania’s visiting leader.
The counter-punching U.S. president gave a taste of his Comey rebuttal in a tart tweet Friday morning. He hit the key points previously outlined by his personal lawyer in a lengthier statement issued after Thursday’s hearing – that Comey gave misleading testimony in parts, but also backed up the president’s claims that he “never sought to impede” the Russia investigation.
"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" Trump tweeted.
How far Trump might go in personally going after Comey will become clear Friday afternoon. Trump is welcoming Romanian President Klaus Iohannis to the White House, and is set for a post-meeting press conference at 2:45 p.m. ET.
WATCH THE PRESS CONFERENCE ON FOX NEW CHANNEL AND FOXNEWS.COM
The “leaker” charge, though, now appears to be a key part of the Trump team’s response to Comey.
Comey, who was fired by Trump on May 9, revealed during Thursday’s testimony that he had a friend, later identified as Columbia University Law Professor Dan Richman, leak contents of his private memos to the media in hopes of prompting the "appointment of a special counsel."
According to a source close to the president's legal team, Kasowitz was set to file a complaint with the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General and send a letter of complaint to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Comey's testimony that he orchestrated the leak.
“We will leave it the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated,” Kasowitz said.
Kasowitz also said Trump denies key accusations from those notes, including Comey’s claim that Trump sought his loyalty.
Comey’s testimony stopped short of accusing Trump of obstruction of justice and said he didn’t try to shut down the broader probe of Russian meddling in the election or possible coordination with Trump associates. However, Comey said he thought Trump tried to get him to lay off former national security adviser Michael Flynn and personally sought a “loyalty” pledge during an uncomfortable dinner meeting.
Further, Comey accused the Trump team of lying about his performance as FBI director in rationalizing the decision to fire him last month.
“Lies, plain and simple,” Comey said.