By Laura SydellThe Washington PostBy Laura SydillPublished Aug 14, 2018 12:38PM EDTBy Karen DeYoungPublished Aug 13, 2018 10:18PM EDTPresident Donald Trump said Sunday that he would seek to investigate former FBI Director James Comey before stepping down, saying the former chief of staff had mishandled the bureau’s investigation into him.
The statement by the president, who had not publicly spoken about the investigation since he fired Comey last week, came after Comey told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that he believed Trump had obstructed justice in firing him.
In a statement Sunday, Trump’s spokesman, Marc Lotter, called the former FBI director’s allegations “absurd” and said that he had not asked Comey for his loyalty.
“As I have said before, I do not remember discussing any conversations about the president’s firing with Mr. Comey,” Lotter said.
“He never asked me for my loyalty.
I do believe he was trying to undermine the special counsel’s investigation.”
Lotter said that Trump would also ask Comey to testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees, and that he hoped Comey would cooperate.
Trump also told reporters he would resign or be impeached if he is found guilty of obstruction of justice, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Comey has faced bipartisan pressure over the probe into the president for months, and his testimony has sparked an intense national debate over the FBI’s independence and independence from the Trump administration.
“I want to see if there are any violations,” Lotters said.
Lotter was asked if Comey had ever suggested he was under investigation, and Lotter replied: “He was not a person that was discussing with me, but he was not talking about it.”
Lotters said the president had asked Comey to “keep the investigation going,” and Lotters noted that the FBI was investigating whether Trump obstructed Justice Department ethics laws by firing Comey.
“It is also a violation of the Hatch Act to obstruct justice,” Lotting said.
“So it is a violation to have an obstruction of Justice investigation.”
The Justice Department has declined to confirm whether Comey is cooperating.
Comey has said he would cooperate with the investigation, which was led by the special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
But in a letter to Congress last week Comey said he had “not personally discussed” the investigation with Trump.
The president has repeatedly said he has no plans to resign, and the White House did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.