As ousted former FBI Director James Comey wrapped up his blockbuster testimony on Capitol Hill on Thursday, the characteristically outspoken president started speaking at a religious event in DC.
During his roughly 40-minute speech at the Faith and Freedom conference, President Donald Trump didn’t mention Comey at all.
Instead, he stayed on message and spoke of his administration’s accomplishments so far and highlighted goals for the future like passing an infrastructure bill, tax cuts, 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 reported Wednesday that Trump’s advisers were keeping him busy Thursday morning in order to prevent him from attacking Comey ahead of his hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
At the hearing, Comey said the Trump administration tried to “defame” him and the FBI by spreading “lies, plain and simple,” after the president fired him on May 9. Most of the testimony centered around Comey’s interactions with Trump up until 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 – 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, 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 that he believes he and his supporters are 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.”