President Trump’s New York lawyer, Marc Kasowitz appeared at the National Press Club on Thursday to talk about the James Comey hearing and deliver a few remarks on the hearing that captivated the nation. It was a hectic few hours for news crews trying to cover the busiest day in Washington since the Women’s March and Inauguration in January. Reporters were packed tightly in the press club, roughly 1.5 miles from the Hart Senate Office Building where James Comey testified earlier in the day.
Kasowitz, who heads up the New York-based firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, finally appeared at 2:29 p.m. and was introduced as “President Donald Trump’s personal attorney.” The seasoned litigator began with the talking point that Trump’s supporters have settled on — that the president himself was never personally under investigation. Kasowitz stated, “Mr. Comey has finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told President Trump privately; that is, that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference.”
The lawyer went on to note, “Mr. Comey’s testimony also makes clear that the president never sought to impede the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election.” In his opening statement, Comey claimed that Trump never specifically referred to Russia, but said, “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.” Comey repeated that line during Thursday’s Senate Intelligence Hearing.
On two key quotes, Kasowitz directly contradicted Comey. He declared, “The president never suggested that Mr. Comey ‘let Flynn go’…he did say to Mr. Comey ‘General Flynn is a good guy.'” Moments later, Trump’s attorney stated that Comey’s assertion that Trump said “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty” is false. Kasowitz stated, definitively, “He never said it in form, he never said it in substance.” Comey’s recording of Trump’s so-called “loyalty request” was one of the bombshells of his prepared statement. The former FBI director wrote that after Trump asked for his loyalty, he “didn’t move, speak, or change [his] facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed.”
Kasowitz then criticized Comey’s decision to leak his memos detailing one-on-one meetings with Trump to the press. In the hearings, Comey admitted that he gave a copy of his memos to a friend, a professor at Columbia University, and instructed him to leak them. The former FBI director also said that he hoped the information might engender calls for a special prosecutor to look into the Trump campaign. Kasowitz stated that “it is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications. Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers.”
The New York attorney closed with returning to his talking point, “In sum, it is now established that the president was not being investigated for colluding with or attempting to obstruct and investigation…the president feels completely vindicated and is eager to continue moving forward with his agenda.”
The White House seems to be very calculated in their statements recently. President Trump has not tweeted all day and his deafening silence has not gone unnoticed. Similarly, Kasowitz read from a prepared statement and on a number of occasions, the veteran attorney slipped up in his reading of the remarks. He left the press room to shouted questions from reporters, despite announcing at the beginning of his appearance that no questions would be answered.