In the run up to the highly anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, speculation swirled as to how Trump might respond. But the president remained silent on Twitter – his preferred medium – Thursday morning and throughout Comey’s nearly three hour public testimony.
Instead, his response came from his attorney Marc Kasowitz, whom Trump hired last month to help him navigate the controversies and potential legal threats of the FBI’s investigation into Russian election meddling.
“Kasowitz was able to persuade the president that he would not give a Washington-style, tepid defense,” a top Republican close to the White House told the Post.
“Trump’s big charge with his staff is that they don’t defend him aggressively. And Kasowitz convinced him that not only will I defend you, but I will attack Comey where there’s room to.”
Kasowitz delivered a scathing rebuke of Comey’s assertion that Trump once asked him for a pledge of loyalty and pressed him to end his agency’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. He embraced, however, Comey’s acknowledgement that he told Trump three times that he was not the subject of an investigation.
While Trump’s schedule was mostly clear in the morning, he also held a meeting with national security adviser H.R. McMaster, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to the Post – a potential distraction from Comey’s testimony on Capitol Hill.
But Trump’s Twitter silence on Thursday may not hold up. A White House aide told the Post that the president is likely to watch post-hearing coverage on television, which could spur reactions on Friday or over the weekend.