After strong testimony from former FBI Director James Comey on Thursday, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) gave his impressions after asking questions as a part of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
On the line, whether President Donald Trump asked to end the investigation into former General Michael Flynn. The request at the center of the controversy could mean he attempted to obstruct the larger investigation into possible collusion with the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 election.
“I took it as this is what he wants me to do. I didn't obey that but that's the way I took it,” Comey told the committee after explaining a private conversation he had with Mr. Trump.
According to his testimony and reports, Comey was the only one left in the room with the president after Mr. Trump asked senior officials to exit.
Lankford defended the President's unorthodox style, writing it off as a common practice for a business man who’s unfamiliar with the norms of Washington D.C. However, Lankford ultimately criticized the President’s actions.
“It is very inappropriate though for a president to be able to say to the director of the FBI, ‘Hey, I hope you can let this go,” the senator said paraphrasing the President’s conversation.
One day later, Mr. Trump rebuked Comey’s claims he had lied about interactions between himself and the former FBI director.
“No collusion, no obstruction, he's a leaker,” Mr. Trump said about the former law enforcement chief during a joint press conference with the Romanian President on Friday.
Mr. Trump said Comey lied under oath and alluded to the existence of taped conversations, while criticizing him for leaking personal memos. Something Senator Lankford is also surprised by.
“It was a little stunning to be able to hear the director of the FBI say’ I was upset after I got fired and I thought the President was going to release something out so I proactively got out and released something,’” Lankford said
In the latest polling by ABC News/The Washington Post, 56 percent of Americans think the President is trying to impede the investigation into Russia. But Lankford says that's just wrong.
“I disagree with the 56 percent that believe the president is trying to impeded that and I think Jim Comey does too. Now saying that I'm on the investigative team and we're working through the facts and we have not stopped.”