As the ousted FBI director wrapped up his blockbuster testimony on Capitol Hill on Thursday, the characteristically outspoken president who fired him started speaking at a religious event a few miles away.
During his roughly 40-minute speech at the Faith and Freedom conference on Thursday, President Donald Trump didn’t mention James Comey.
Trump stayed on message and spoke of his administration’s accomplishments so far and highlighted goals for the future such as passing an infrastructure bill, cutting taxes, and repealing the Affordable Care Act. Trump’s speech fit into his administration’s planned “infrastructure week,” which was meant to showcase an important part of the president’s agenda amid Comey’s testimony.
Politico had reported Wednesday that Trump’s advisers were keeping him busy Thursday morning to keep him from attacking Comey before his hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
At the hearing, Comey said the Trump administration tried to “defame” him and the FBI by spreading “lies” after the president fired him May 9. Most of the testimony centered on Comey’s interactions with Trump leading up to his abrupt firing.
A source close to Trump told Reuters on Thursday morning that the president disputed two key points Comey made in the prepared, written remarks Comey submitted for the record on Wednesday — that Trump asked him to “let go” of the FBI investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and that Trump asked for his loyalty.
Comey underlined these points as he answered senators’ questions in the nearly three-hour hearing Thursday, adding that he took meticulous notes after every interaction with Trump because Comey “was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of” their meeting.
In his speech at the conference, Trump did allude to attacks he believed he and his supporters were under.
“We’re under siege … but we will come out bigger and better and stronger than ever,” Trump said. “We will not back down from doing what is right … We know how to fight, and we will never give up.”