Trump claims ‘total and complete vindication’

James Comey
FILE - In this July 8, 2015, photo, FBI Director James Comey testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Comey spoke July 22 on the threat posed to the U.S. by the Islamic State Group at the Aspen Security Conference in Aspen, Colo. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey (all times local):

6:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is asserting that fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to Congress represents “total and complete vindication” in the Russia case.

Trump, who did not post on his Twitter account as Comey appeared before the Senate intelligence committee Thursday, sent a tweet at daybreak Friday. In the post, the president said: “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindcaiton … and WOW, Comey is a leaker.”

Trump was referring to Comey’s revelation that he had passed on to a friend a written memo he’d made detailing a meeting with Trump at the White House — and had asked a friend to give it to a reporter for the New York Times.

During much of the increasingly heated debate surrounding the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s role in the election, Trump has chafed over news leaks, arguing that news organizations had not given them proper attention.

5:20 a.m.

A senior Russian lawmaker has dismissed the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey as insignificant.

Comey, who testified before a Senate committee on Thursday, asserted that President Donald Trump had fired him to interfere with an investigation of Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign and reaffirmed the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the election.

Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the information policy committee at the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, dismissed Comey’s testimony as a “big bubble,” adding that it “will not help Trump’s adversaries to start impeachment proceedings.”

Russian officials have vehemently denied any role in hacking attacks on the Democratic National Convention and voter-registration databases.

4:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump will take questions from reporters a day after former FBI Director James Comey accused him of lying in stunning testimony.

Trump has scheduled a joint news conference for Friday afternoon with visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

He’ll also be participating in an infrastructure event at the Department of Transportation and holding meetings with his Romanian counterpart before departing for New Jersey, where he’ll spend the weekend at one if his properties.

Comey asserted Thursday that Trump fired him because of the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Comey also bluntly accused the White House of spreading “lies, plain and simple.”

Trump has been unusually silent on Twitter and declined to answer shouted questions from reporters Thursday about the testimony.

3:35 a.m.

Former FBI Director James Comey has laid bare months of White House distrust in highly anticipated testimony before Congress.

Comey accused the administration of spreading “lies” and bluntly asserted that President Donald Trump had fired him to interfere with an investigation of Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign. His gripping account of interactions with Trump underscored the discord that soured their relationship.

Facing a Senate committee Thursday, Comey portrayed Trump as dismissive of the FBI’s independence. He also made clear that he interpreted Trump’s request to end an investigation into his former national security adviser as an order coming from the president.

Comey also revealed that he’d orchestrated the public release of information about his private conversations with the president. He said it was an effort to further the investigation.

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