WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer plans to file a complaint early next week about former FBI Director James Comey’s disclosure of conversations with the president, a person close to the legal team said on Friday.
Lawyer Marc Kasowitz will file the complaint with the Justice Department’s inspector general and will also make a “submission” to the Senate Judiciary and Senate Intelligence committees about Comey’s testimony, said the source, who declined to be identified because the matter was not public.
Comey, in U.S. Senate intelligence committee testimony on Thursday, accused Trump of firing him to try to undermine the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Comey said Trump pressured him to drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and told Comey that he needed his loyalty, even though FBI directors are supposed to work independently from the White House.
Kasowitz disputed those points and attacked Comey for leaking “privileged communications” to the media.
Legal experts have questioned Kasowitz’s contention that Trump’s private encounters with Comey should be considered privileged communications.
Trump back on Twitter
The president broke his silence on Twitter on Friday following explosive testimony by Comey, declaring “total and complete vindication.”
Trump’s Twitter account had been quiet throughout Comey’s testimony accusing the administration of spreading “lies.” But a day after the closely watched hearing, Trump struck back with an early morning tweet: “Wow, Comey is a leaker.”
Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2017
Trump was expected to face journalists later Friday in a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who is visiting the White House.
While Trump might feel vindicated, Comey’s reputation as a truth-teller didn’t seem to take a hit. In his testimony, Comey detailed months of distrust of the president and bluntly asserted that Trump had fired him to interfere with the probe of Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign.
‘Credible, candid and thorough’
House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to brush off the conclusion as Trump being new to the White House, but Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican, said Congress needs to obtain any tapes the president might have of his dealings with the former FBI director. She called Comeyan “honorable individual.”
“I found him to be credible, candid and thorough,” Collins said of Comey on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Also in his testimony, Comey revealed that he’d orchestrated the public release of information about his private conversations with the president in an effort to further the investigation.
Trump’s tweet read: “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication … and WOW, Comey is a leaker.”
Collins, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, said Comey’s motivation “may have been a good one.” But, she said, he was wrong to leak his notes to the public and should have given that document to her panel.