Trump accuses Comey of giving untrue testimony

Last Updated Jun 9, 2017 12:54 PM EDT

President Trump on Friday accused fired FBI Director James Comey of making untrue statements in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, but also said he felt vindicated by other parts of Comey's testimony.

Mr. Trump, in a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, said some of Comey's testimony -- such as Comey's recollection of conversations with the president in which Mr. Trump urged him to drop an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn -- were untrue. The president, in his first press conference since Comey's testimony, called Comey a "leaker," but stopped short of calling him a liar. But, at the same time, the president said other parts of Mr. Comey's testimony confirmed what Mr. Trump had already said, such as that he wasn't under criminal investigation. 

Mr. Trump said he would "100 percent" be willing to testify under oath and speak with Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor in the FBI's investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Mr. Trump dodged multiple questions about whether there are tapes of his conversations with Comey. Mr. Trump first brought up the possibility of tapes in a tweet shortly after firing Comey, saying the ousted FBI director, "better hope that there are no 'tapes'" of their conversations.

The president said he would let the media know whether there are tapes in the "very near future," adding that people will be "very disappointed" when they hear the answer to that question.  

Comey on Thursday said he hopes such tapes do exist.

"Lordy, I hope there are tapes," he told the committee. 

For weeks, the White House has hedged on questions from the press about whether such tapes exist, and whether Mr. Trump regularly records conversations in the White House. 

The president again reiterated that he never told Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn. But Mr. Trump also said that, if he had, there would be nothing wrong with that, according to what he had been reading. 

Mr. Trump's personal lawyer is planning to file a complaint against Comey with the Senate Judiciary Committee and Department of Justice Office of Inspector General.

Mr. Trump drew attention for some of his comments on foreign policy issues as well. 

Mr. Trump said he is "committing" the U.S. to Article 5 in NATO, which provides that all NATO allies consider an armed attack on one of its members to be an act of violence worthy of aid. But, asked by a foreign reporter whether he views Russia to be a threat like many neighboring NATO allies do, Mr. Trump failed to answer. 

The president also lashed out against Qatar -- moments after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia and Egypt to ease a blockage on Qatar -- creating a seemingly inconsistent message within the administration. Mr. Trump criticized Qatar for being a "funder of terrorism at a very high level."

Live updates from earlier:


Would Trump testify under oath? "100 percent," he says 

President Trump set himself up to possibly testify under oath about his conversations with Comey and the circumstances surrounding Comey's firing. 

Mr. Trump said he would "100 percent" testify under oath if called upon, and that he would speak with special prosecutor in the FBI's Russia probe Robert Mueller.

"I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you," Mr. Trump told reporters. 

Mr. Trump reiterated that he never told Mr Comey to drop his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. But, if he had, there wouldn't be anything wrong with that, Mr. Trump said. 

Trump says he supports Article 5, but won't criticize Russia

Mr. Trump answered a question about whether he supports Article 5 in NATO, but dodged a question about whether he agrees with many NATO nations that Russia is a threat to security. 

The president said he is "committing" the U.S. to Article 5. That article provides that if a NATO ally is victim of an armed attack, all NATO allies will consider it an act of violence and take necessary actions. 

Mr. Trump ignored the portion of a question about whether he views Russia as a threat, like many NATO nations near Russia do. 

Trump dodges questions on whether Comey tapes exist

President Trump dodged questions about whether tapes of his conversations with Comey exist, saying he would divulge more information about that in the "near future." Mr. Trump stood by his past statements, turning the table on Comey and saying some of the former FBI director's testimony was simply untrue. 

The president also said Comey's testimony confirmed much of what he has said in the past -- such as that he personally wasn't under investigation. 

"No collusion. No obstruction. He's a leaker," Mr. Trump said of Comey and Comey's testimony. 

Trump: Qatar has been a "funder of terrorism at a very high level"

President Trump took a hard line on Qatar, moments after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia and Egypt to ease a blockade on Qatar, creating a seeming messing conflict within the Trump administration. Mr. Trump criticized Qatar for being a "funder of terrorism at a very high level."

The president said Qatar must end its support for extremism, along with "all other nations."

"I won't name other countries," Mr. Trump said. 

Standing by Romania's president, Mr. Trump thanked Romania for its participation in the fight against terrorism. 

"Romania has been a valuable member of the coalition to defeat ISIS," Mr. Trump said.