WASHINGTON –– A defiant President Donald Trump said Friday he was willing to testify under oath about his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey.
“One hundred percent,” Trump said when asked about his willingness to deliver sworn testimony.
He adamantly denied Comey’s claims that he asked him to end the FBI’s investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“I didn’t say that,” Trump said.
And he denied that he asked Comey for his loyalty, though he added: “There would be nothing wrong if I did say it.”
Trump also twice declined to confirm the existence of White House recordings of the conversations.
“I’ll tell you about that sometime in the very near future,” Trump said.
Asked again, Trump said: “I’m not hinting anything. I will tell you over a very short period of time.”
He also offered a blunt assessment Friday of Comey’s testimony before the Senate intelligence panel.
“No collusion, no obstruction, he’s a leaker,” Trump said during a Rose Garden news conference.
He said his team emerged “very happy” after Comey’s testimony.
Trump officially took questions from reporters for the first time in three weeks, standing next to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
The brief news conference –– where each President took two questions from the press –– comes the day after James Comey’s bombshell Capitol Hill testimony in which the fired FBI director accused the White House of “lies”.
Trump was publicly silent while Comey testified on Thursday, but tweeted Friday an accusation that Comey –– whom Trump fired in May –– lied under oath.
“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication,” Trump tweeted, “and WOW, Comey is a leaker!”
Trump’s comment tracks with Republican talking points about the hearing, where the Republican National Committee and White House urged surrogates to emphasize the fact that Comey clearly said the President was never an explicit subject of the Russia probe during his time at the FBI.
But Comey’s testimony about the President has darkened clouds hanging over the White House.
The former FBI director said Trump’s private comments urging him to drop the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn led him to tell his Justice Department colleagues they needed to be careful. And he said multiple times that he choose to take detailed notes about his interactions with Trump because he worried the White House and President would lie about them if he didn’t.
Trump has remained relatively media shy since the Justice Department tapped former FBI Director Robert Mueller to be the special counsel looking into Russia’s meddling into the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s possible ties to it.
The President last formally took questions on May 18, when he held a bilateral news conference –– similar to the one that will happen Friday –– with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.