President Donald Trump has broken his silence on the James Comey hearing, declaring that the nearly three hours of Senate testimony from the former FBI director on Thursday amounted to “total and complete vindication” of his actions after winning the election in November.
Trump sent a tweet at 6:10 a.m. ET that also criticized Comey for his admission that he leaked information to the media via an intermediary in an effort to force the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of collusion during the 2016 election cycle between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials. Comey’s gambit worked as another former FBI director, Robert Mueller, was named last month as a special counsel to the Justice Department to lead an independent probe.
There had been speculation that President Trump would offer his commentary on Comey’s testimony in real time on Twitter, but he waited until early Friday morning to weigh in.
“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” the President wrote.
Thursday’s hearing transfixed much of the nation as Comey answered questions from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee about his dealings with Trump and his assertion that Trump pressured him to drop his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his ties to Russian officials. The Senate is investigating the broader question of Russian interference in the U.S. election. Trump and his associates have strongly denied there was any such collusion.
Comey, who was fired by Trump on May 9, repeatedly stated that Trump has lied in his accounts of their interactions. He blasted the President and members of his administration for what he described as a campaign to “defame” him and the FBI. Comey also asserted there was no doubt that the Russian government directed a sophisticated campaign to influence the 2016 election through hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s email system as well as through other cyber-malfeasance.
“There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever, the Russians interfered in our election,” Comey said.
The Comey has hearing generated a tidal wave of media coverage and analysis that will undoubtedly continue for many days. About 45 minutes after his tweet about the hearing, Trump sent another message praising Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” morning show, which is known to be among his favorite news programs.