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Trump still standing, but damaged by Comey's testimony


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Trump still standing, but damaged by Comey's testimony

By Caren Bohan and Amanda Becker

REUTERS
 

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U.S. President Donald Trump smiles during the Infrastructure Summit with Governors and Mayors at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump survived one of the biggest threats to his presidency when Thursday's hugely awaited congressional testimony by the FBI chief he fired did not yield any explosive new disclosures about his campaign's alleged ties with Russia.

 

But former FBI Director James Comey's remarks to a packed hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee left the Republican president far from unscathed.

 

Comey recounted in vivid detail conversations with Trump that he viewed as an effort to undermine an investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

 

He also said Trump's comments after firing him on May 9 that the FBI was in disarray and that its members had lost confidence in Comey "were lies, plain and simple."

 

Still, Comey handed Trump and his supporters some fresh ammunition when he confirmed he had told the president the investigation was not focused on him personally.

 

Even Senator Marco Rubio, who was among a number of Republicans who battled Trump for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, seemed to be advocating for him at times during the hearing.

 

Rubio asked Comey why he did not directly tell Trump that he thought the president was making inappropriate requests of him.

Comey replied that he did not know. “I was a bit stunned, and didn’t have the presence of mind,” he said.

 

A Republican close to Trump said the president felt very good about Comey's testimony, particularly since it bore out his earlier statement that the former FBI director had told him he was not under investigation.

 

But the cloud from the Russia probe still hangs heavily over Trump's White House.

 

Comey's firing set the stage for the appointment of a special counsel, Robert Mueller, who has taken over the investigation. Congressional probes, including one by the Senate intelligence panel, are ongoing.

 

Russia has denied interference in last year's presidential campaign. The White House has denied any collusion with Moscow.

 

But Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who sits on the intelligence committee, said the matter was nowhere near over.

 

"It’s a big investigation, and these are facts. ... You have to dig for, and do a lot of analysis."

 

Several Democrats said Trump's conversations with Comey seemed to build a case of obstruction of justice.

 

“The lawyers are going to dig into obstruction of justice,” Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the intelligence panel, said after the hearing. "I believe the evidence just keeps piling up that there has been a very real presidential abuse of power.”

 

But Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, said Trump's interactions with Comey may have reflected his lack of political experience rather than an effort to pressure the FBI director.

 

Ryan said Trump may not have been "steeped" enough in the FBI's independence from the White House.

 

"He's new in government, and so therefore I think he's learning as he goes," he told reporters. "I'm not saying it's an acceptable excuse. It's just my observation."

 

A LONG SUMMER

 

Trump could face even more problems over the coming months if the stream of details leaking out about the Russia investigation continues to grab the spotlight at a time when the White House wants to focus on priorities such as rolling back the Obamacare healthcare law and overhauling the tax code.

 

"It distracts the administration and gives Republicans in the House and the Senate, many of whom have not been Trump supporters from the beginning, a reason to keep their distance and not get behind him," said Andy Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, which conducts political polling.

 

"It’s going to be a long summer,” Smith said.

 

Trump's core supporters are hunkering down for a fight.

 

Great America Alliance, one pro-Trump group, spent $400,000 this week running ads attacking Comey, said Eric Beach, who runs the group.

 

The ad lambasted Comey as “just another D.C. insider" and included images of militant attacks abroad to suggest Comey had not been focused enough on protecting Americans.

 

But the investigation has contributed to a steady erosion of Trump's political capital. According to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll taken from June 1 to 5, even before the Comey testimony - 38 percent of Americans said they approved of Trump, versus 58 percent who disapproved.

 

"I think the situation is getting much more serious for Mr. Trump,” said Jon Bond, a political science professor at Texas A&M University. “The Mueller investigation is going on. I suspect that information that came out in today’s hearings is going to feed into that investigation. It looks like to me that the president is in increasing jeopardy.”

 

(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Richard Cowan, Steve Holland, Ginger Gibson, Patricia Zengerle and Eric Beech; Editing by Peter Cooney)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2017-06-09
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So far, in fact since his election, and before, we've heard accusations about inappropriate links with Russia, but NOBODy has turned up any actual evidence.  

 

The opposition to his presidency has had seven or eight months to turn up some real evidence, but failed to do so, so isn't it about time, in the absence of that evidence, that the accusation be put out to pasture??  

 

Seriously.

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The big question is going to be if Comey is indicted and convicted for leaking.  He admitted leaking his notes to a source that passed them to the NY Times.  As this concerned the Russia investigation more broadly, it could be construed that Comey leaked documents dealing with national security.  A felony.

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2 minutes ago, F4UCorsair said:

So far, in fact since his election, and before, we've heard accusations about inappropriate links with Russia, but NOBODy has turned up any actual evidence.  

 

The opposition to his presidency has had seven or eight months to turn up some real evidence, but failed to do so, so isn't it about time, in the absence of that evidence, that the accusation be put out to pasture??  

 

Seriously.

The Special Counsel has only been at it a couple of weeks.  Lots and lots more to go.   

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1 minute ago, F4UCorsair said:

So far, in fact since his election, and before, we've heard accusations about inappropriate links with Russia, but NOBODy has turned up any actual evidence.  

 

The opposition to his presidency has had seven or eight months to turn up some real evidence, but failed to do so, so isn't it about time, in the absence of that evidence, that the accusation be put out to pasture??  

 

Seriously.

It doesn't matter if it's true or not. It's just an excuse to batter Trump. They have battered Trump for every imaginable thing that can be used. I saw that someone even posted a photo of Trump with a big gut, as if most old western men don't have one- for goodness sake, Trump is the president of probably the fattest nation on the planet.

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2 minutes ago, Usernames said:

The big question is going to be if Comey is indicted and convicted for leaking.  He admitted leaking his notes to a source that passed them to the NY Times.  As this concerned the Russia investigation more broadly, it could be construed that Comey leaked documents dealing with national security.  A felony.

You've been reading too much right wing nonsense.  Comey leaked his own memos and was very careful not to leak classified info.  You're barking up the wrong tree. 

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2 minutes ago, Usernames said:

The big question is going to be if Comey is indicted and convicted for leaking.  He admitted leaking his notes to a source that passed them to the NY Times.  As this concerned the Russia investigation more broadly, it could be construed that Comey leaked documents dealing with national security.  A felony.

Can't see it happening. Non confidential notes from a private citizen.

Also, it would be incredibly stupid politically to do so.

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3 minutes ago, Usernames said:

The big question is going to be if Comey is indicted and convicted for leaking.  He admitted leaking his notes to a source that passed them to the NY Times.  As this concerned the Russia investigation more broadly, it could be construed that Comey leaked documents dealing with national security.  A felony.

Nonsense.  These were unclassified memos.

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2 minutes ago, thaibeachlovers said:

Can't see it happening. Non confidential notes from a private citizen.

Also, it would be incredibly stupid politically to do so.

Disagree.  He took notes regarding his questions of the president on an investigation.  He had his FBI hat on.  He wasn't at home making a grocery list. He was on FBI time, doing FBI work, and he leaked it.

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1 minute ago, thaibeachlovers said:

It doesn't matter if it's true or not. It's just an excuse to batter Trump. They have battered Trump for every imaginable thing that can be used. I saw that someone even posted a photo of Trump with a big gut, as if most old western men don't have one- for goodness sake, Trump is the president of probably the fattest nation on the planet.

Exactly.    The left of the Australian press was doing a job on him a couple of nights back for having two scoops of ice cream at some dinner recently.   If that's the best the left can do they should give it away and let somebody else have a go.

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4 minutes ago, Berkshire said:

The Special Counsel has only been at it a couple of weeks.  Lots and lots more to go.   

 

And others have been at it for a LOT longer, but nothing has been turned up, not even fabrications!!

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19 minutes ago, F4UCorsair said:

 

The opposition to his presidency has had seven or eight months to turn up some real evidence, but failed to do so, so isn't it about time, in the absence of that evidence, that the accusation be put out to pasture??  

 

It's not about opposition to his presidency, it's about criminal wrong doing. He's being investigated...get over it.

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Meanwhile, over on FOX news, Hannity & Co are blaming Comey for not standing up to the President, stating Comey should have told the President not to make 'inappropriate' requests... Further, FOX n Friends are calling instead for Comey to be investigated and charged for 'leaking' his own memo (unclassified) account of the incidents... This commentary is interspersed with constant reassurances that Trump broke no laws and is not under any investigations....


Fox News live:
http://www.freeintertv.com/view/id-1799
 

Contrast the high standards set for Comey by Trump supporters, Fox n Friends, etc, against Mr Trump having a laugh with the Russian ambassador in question in an oval office meeting  stating quote: “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said. “I faced great pressure because of Russia (investigations). That’s taken off.”.......

 

DBz_2TlUwAAL-T1.jpg

 

As a majority in the US, our Allies and most of the entire world shake their heads in sadness for what has become of the USA under Trump, at least Trump supporters are pleased at this embarrassing ongoing train wreck and for certain Putin will be laughing his @ss off...

 

 

Edited by sujoop
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26 minutes ago, F4UCorsair said:

So far, in fact since his election, and before, we've heard accusations about inappropriate links with Russia, but NOBODy has turned up any actual evidence.  

 

The opposition to his presidency has had seven or eight months to turn up some real evidence, but failed to do so, so isn't it about time, in the absence of that evidence, that the accusation be put out to pasture??  

 

Seriously.

Just like the Republicans easily gave up the ghost on every single expensive, long-winded, self-serving but ultimately inconclusive investigation of alleged felonies, obstructions, deceits and lies of various opposition governments and politicians?

 

So they got Nixon dead to rights. Get over it.

 

24 minutes ago, Usernames said:

The big question is going to be if Comey is indicted and convicted for leaking.  He admitted leaking his notes to a source that passed them to the NY Times.  As this concerned the Russia investigation more broadly, it could be construed that Comey leaked documents dealing with national security.  A felony.

Oh, look! Another one!

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29 minutes ago, Berkshire said:

You've been reading too much right wing nonsense.  Comey leaked his own memos and was very careful not to leak classified info.  You're barking up the wrong tree. 

Or simply barking.

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I am a little confused how Trump just took quite a hammering, yet his supporters are calling it a victory? I can only guess it is because they feared way worse was going to come out and the "victory" cry is more realistically a sigh of relief. This administration is not out of the woods yet though. There is much about this matter and the Russians involvement still to be examined.

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4 minutes ago, darksidedog said:

I am a little confused how Trump just took quite a hammering, yet his supporters are calling it a victory? I can only guess it is because they feared way worse was going to come out and the "victory" cry is more realistically a sigh of relief. This administration is not out of the woods yet though. There is much about this matter and the Russians involvement still to be examined.

Bcuzz the average red-capped, fist-pumping, Trump ra-ra club member doesn't know the difference between the public testimony by a former FBI Director and the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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Comey had several agendas and I think he managed to get them across.

 

1.   The Russian intrusions into the election process is and has been on-going and it is a danger to democracy.    I don't think he believes that Trump is willing to deal with the significance of this situation.

 

2.   The FBI is independent and decision making is not done following political dictates -- but they do have to pay attention to politics.   The integrity of the organization was a large part of his underlying theme.

 

3.   Trump is a man who is dishonest, lies, and cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of the US.   

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2 hours ago, Usernames said:

The big question is going to be if Comey is indicted and convicted for leaking.  He admitted leaking his notes to a source that passed them to the NY Times.  As this concerned the Russia investigation more broadly, it could be construed that Comey leaked documents dealing with national security.  A felony.

Talking about and checking the behavior of a liar-POTUS is dealing with national security and a felony??

What about researching if the new POTUS is a (criminal) liar?

 

If he would be free of any (criminal) failure why did he fire Comey and why does he want to avert a serious scrutiny ? Alone this reaction shows and improves the real and vile character of this ….. . And that he has to conceal a lot.

 

In school I learnt that the liar and fraudster commits a crime. But you make it vice-versa, punish the „leaker”, not the criminal. The new US rigt-wing moral. Congratulation.

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2 hours ago, Rob13 said:

 

It's not about opposition to his presidency, it's about criminal wrong doing. He's being investigated...get over it.

 

It IS about him being elected as President of the United States, and the left are looking for some (imaginary) criminal wrongdoing to nail it.  I'd be more than surprised if anything is ever turned up, AND on which he's convicted.

 

I AM over it, and was over it the day of his election!!

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1 hour ago, Credo said:

Comey had several agendas and I think he managed to get them across.

 

1.   The Russian intrusions into the election process is and has been on-going and it is a danger to democracy.    I don't think he believes that Trump is willing to deal with the significance of this situation.

 

2.   The FBI is independent and decision making is not done following political dictates -- but they do have to pay attention to politics.   The integrity of the organization was a large part of his underlying theme.

 

3.   Trump is a man who is dishonest, lies, and cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of the US.   

 

He has just acted in the best interests of the United States on his visit to the middle east.   He laid it on the line....stop financing terrorism, and as a consequence, Qatar is being isolated, none of the neighboring countries are permitting Qatar flights to transit their airspace.   Those countries didn't choose to do that without a firm prod, and has axed its 25 daily flights to the UAE and 20 to Saudi Arabia..

 

See this link

 

http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/qatar-airways-could-be-relying-on-international-precedent-going-back-70-years-to-keep-flying/news-story/a647c8af47ffab6c766961fc57360ce2

 

They're currently operating some flights, through one other countries' airspace in violation of directives, but that could stop very suddenly.

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3 minutes ago, F4UCorsair said:

 

He has just acted in the best interests of the United States on his visit to the middle east.   He laid it on the line....stop financing terrorism, and as a consequence, Qatar is being isolated, none of the neighboring countries are permitting Qatar flights to transit their airspace.   Those countries didn't choose to do that without a firm prod.

Makes no sense at all. The biggest financers of terrorism are the countries he is supporting now, especially SA.

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Just now, stevenl said:

Makes no sense at all. The biggest financers of terrorism are the countries he is supporting now, especially SA.

I think you will find that Qatar is recognized as the biggest sponsor of terrorism, and the surrounding countries don't want any heat put on them, so this action is self serving, but they didn't do it without being prodded.........severely.   I agree that Saudi Arabia is said to finance terrorism, but they have OIL, so he'll lay off them for the time being.

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8 minutes ago, F4UCorsair said:

 

He has just acted in the best interests of the United States on his visit to the middle east.   He laid it on the line....stop financing terrorism, and as a consequence, Qatar is being isolated, none of the neighboring countries are permitting Qatar flights to transit their airspace.   Those countries didn't choose to do that without a firm prod.

 

See this link

 

http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/qatar-airways-could-be-relying-on-international-precedent-going-back-70-years-to-keep-flying/news-story/a647c8af47ffab6c766961fc57360ce2

 

They're currently operating some flights, through one other countries' airspace in violation of directives, but that could stop very suddenly.

 

:cheesy::cheesy::cheesy:

Man, you really live in the Trump fantasy world!

Edited by dutchisaan
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