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Trump flatly denies Comey accusations, willing to respond under oath

Reuters logo Reuters 9/06/2017 Steve Holland

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WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday denied accusations by former FBI director James Comey that he tried to block an investigation into a former national security adviser, adding that he was willing to give his version of events under oath.

Asked by a reporter if he had told Comey to drop a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into former top aide Michael Flynn, Trump said, "I didn't say that."

Comey, who was fired by Trump in May, delivered a scathing indictment of the president on Thursday at a congressional hearing in which he accused Trump of trying to block the investigation into Flynn. Comey also said Trump asked him in January to pledge loyalty to the president, an unusual request that would put in doubt the independence of the FBI.

"I hardly know the man. I'm not going to say I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would do that?" Trump said at joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

Asked if he would be willing to go under oath to give his version of the interactions with Comey, Trump replied, "100 percent."

U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions while addressing a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 9, 2017. © REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions while addressing a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 9, 2017. He said he would be happy to speak to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations that Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election and colluded with Trump's campaign.

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

In the congressional hearing, Comey did not disclose any links between Trump advisers and alleged Russian meddling.

He testified that Trump told him on Jan. 26 that he expected loyalty from the FBI director and the next month urged him to drop the probe into Flynn, the president's former national security adviser.

Trump wrote earlier on Friday on Twitter that the former FBI director had vindicated him by telling the Senate Intelligence Committee that the president had not been personally under investigation in the Russia probe.

With a single tweet, Trump also castigated Comey for giving an account of his conversation with the president to a lawyer who shared it with a news outlet. "Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication ... and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" Trump tweeted in his first comments since Comey's hearing.

Trump stopped short of saying that Comey lied under oath.

Comey's testimony added fuel to critics' accusations that Trump's actions around the Russia probe might have amounted to obstruction of justice.

(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Roberta Rampton, Alison Frankel and Tony Lin; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Frances Kerry and Toni Reinhold)

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