Comey testified: Where we go from here

Brandon Rittiman has the latest.

Former FBI Director James Comey spent Thursday morning testifying about his meetings with President Donald Trump and the investigation into Russian hacking during the 2016 election. 
 
If you missed Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, you can read a recap by clicking here.
 
Here are some of the major lingering questions following Comey's testimony:
 
1. Is President Trump under investigation now?
  • Comey is out of the job, so he doesn’t know what's happening now.
  • There are two issues with the potential to put the President at legal risk: obstruction of justice (by allegedly trying to close an open FBI investigation) and collusion with Russia.
  • Comey's answer on obstruction of justice: It's not his place to say.
  • Comey’s answer on Russia: He couldn’t answer in public.*
 
*Comey did say repeatedly that during his time at the FBI, Trump was not personally under investigation.
 
2. On the accusation of obstruction: Are there tapes?
  • Comey begged for the White House to release any tapes of his conversations with the president. He said he thinks they’ll bear out what he’s saying — that Trump tried to pressure him into dropping the Flynn investigation.
  • The White House didn't comment directly, but Trump's attorney Marc Kasowitz wrote in a statement that Trump "never pressured Mr. Comey."
 
3. Is “I hope” evidence of a crime?
  • Comey quoted the President as telling him in a meeting, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
  • Republican Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) implied that telling someone you “hope” that something will happen might not be enough to prove obstruction of justice. He asked Comey if he knew of a case where that ever held up in court. Comey said he didn’t know one offhand. Well, there is one. You can read about it here.
 
4. Can the President order an investigation stopped for any reason he wants?
  • Comey said the President has the legal right to order investigations started or stopped since he heads the executive branch, but there are checks meant to prevent that.
  • The real question is what would the U.S. Supreme Court say if that’s what President Trump tried to do?
 
5. Did former Attorney General Loretta Lynch pressure Comey?
  • The former FBI director said Lynch asked him to call the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails a “matter” instead of an “investigation.” 
  • Comey also said it made him "queasy," but he didn't comment on whether that request amounted to a crime. Much in the same way he declined to comment on whether Trump's requests amounted to a crime.
 
6. When does Attorney General Jeff Sessions take the hot seat?
  • Sessions was involved in Comey’s firing—but he was supposed to recuse himself from all things Russia.
  • Comey also said that Sessions appeared to have reservations when the President asked him to leave so he could speak to Comey alone. Would Sessions back that up?
 
7. What’s in the other Comey memos?
  • We don’t know, but the special prosecutor has them. Several members of the Senate Intelligence Committee expressed their wishes to see those memos as soon as possible.
 
8. Will anyone else corroborate Comey's testimony?
  • Comey mentioned about half a dozen people who either saw his memos, were present for part of a phone conversation with the president or discussed Comey's conversations with the president. We will have to wait and see whether these people testify and what they have to say.
 
 

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