tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC June 8, 2017 3:30pm-4:01pm PDT
tonight, breaking news from washington. the fallout. new reaction coming in after fired fbi director james comey testifies before the american people about his meetings with president trump. what he says about the president and the white house. >> those were lies, plain and simple. >> and tonight, comey's on the president's alleged request. the moment he said the president asked everyone in the oval office to leave the room. and on the president's threat that there could be tapes. >> oh, lordy, i hope there are tapes. also, trump fires back. the white house saying trump is not a liar. comey tonight -- the new va lance just
released. outrage tonight. police beating a man who was simply a bystander and not the driver they have been pursuing. and america strong. the boy, the flag and his words when no one was looking. >> announcer: this is a special edition of abc "world news tonight" with david muir. reporting tonight from washington. and good evening even from washington. we begin with the blockbuster testimony on capitol hill. the most anticipated hearing in many years here. fired fbi director james comey and his stunning claims, in his word against the president's. under oath, comey revealed he began taking notes after his first meeting with president trump. he took those notes because he feared trump could later lie about their meets. he did skriebd their dinner at the white house. when the president asked everyone else to leave the room and the request about retired general michael flynn that
followed. we begin with abc's pierre thomas leading us off. >> reporter: today, with the eyes of the nation upon him, former fbi director james comey emerged from seclusion to tell his story. >> director comey, you are now under oath. >> reporter: in his first public appearance since being fired by president trump, comey describes his reaction to his abrupt dismissal. >> the shifting explanations confused me and increasingly concerned me. he had repeatedly told me i was doing a great job and he hoped i would stay. >> reporter: comey accused the white house of smearing his name. >> the administration then chose to defame me, and more importantly the fbi, by saying that the organization was in disarray. that it was poorly led. that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. those were lies, plain and simple. >> reporter: comey describes his growing unease with the president, starting with their first one-on-one meeting at trump tower. as soon as it was over, comey
got into his fbi vehicle parked outside and began taking notes on his laptop. >> what was it about that meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record? >> a combination of things. i think the circumstances, the subject matter and the person i was interacting with, i was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting and so i thought it really important to document. >> reporter: from comey's perspective, his one-on-one interactions with the president only grew more troublesome. >> oh, and there's james -- he's become more famous than me. >> you've seen the picture of me walking across the blue room. and what the president whispered in my ear was "i really look forward to working with you." >> reporter: one week after the inauguration, a private dinner at the white house, the president has said before that comey wanted it. >> that dinner was arranged. i think he asked for that dinner. >> did you in any way initiate that dinner? >> no. he called me at my desk at lunchtime and asked me was i free for dinner that night.
he said how about 6:30? i said whatever works for you, sir. then i hung up and i had to call my wife and break a date with her, i was supposed to take her out to dinner that night. >> that's one of the all-time greatest excuses for breaking a dinner date. >> in retrospect, i love spending time with my wife. i wish i had been there that night. >> reporter: it was at that dinner that comey claims the president told him "i need loyalty. i expect loyalty." comey said he promised only to be honest. the president said "honest loyalty." that's where they left it. and then, what was to comey the most troubling interaction of all. a february 14th meeting in the oval office, with comey, the president and his top advisers. at the end, the president tells comey to stay, ordering everyone else out of the room, including attorney general jeff sessions and jared kushner. >> my impression was something big is about to happen. i need to remember every single word that is spoken. my sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be
leaving, which is why he was lingering. and i don't know mr. kushner well. but i think he picked up on the same thing. so i knew something was about to happen that i needed to pay very close attention to. >> reporter: when they were alone, comey claims the president asked him to back off the investigation into fired national security adviser michael flynn, saying "he is a good guy and has been through a lot, i hope you can let this go." senators on both sides asked about that wording, the president saying "i hope you can let this go." >> i took it as a direction. he's the president of the united states with me alone, saying "i hope this." 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. >> but why didn't you stop and say, mr. president, this is wrong. i can not discuss this with you? >> that's a great question. maybe if i were stronger, i would have. i was so stunned by the conversation that i just took it in. look, i've seen the tweet about
tapes. lordy, i hope there are tapes. >> reporter: three months later, comey was fired. he says he quickly wanted to get his side of the story out, and he mrand to use those detailed memos of those one-on-one conversations with trump. >> i asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. i didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons. but i asked him to because i thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. >> do you believe this will rise to the obstruction of justice? >> i don't know. that's bob mueller's job to sort that out. >> reporter: but there's no question in comey's mind about one thing -- why lost his job. >> you're summarily fired. without any explanation or anything else? >> there's an explanation. i just don't buy it. it's my judgment that i was fired because of the russia investigation. i was fired in some way to change or the endeavor was to change the way the russia investigation was being conducted. that is a very big deal. >> pierre thomas live with us here at the capitol tonight.
james comey reveals he has given those memos about his private meetings with the president over to special counsel robert mueller. is he investigating those nature of those meeting and mueller has the memos and is assessing them. comey was making the case that mueller should investigate the encounters with the president to see if a crime was committed. president trump was watching james comey's testimony. his team declaring victory. the white house today saying the president is not aa liar. remember, the president once threatened in a tweet, there could be tapes. after comey said, if there are tapes he welcomes them. the white house was then asked, do they exist? abc's jonathan karl tonight. >> reporter: toward the end of comey's testimony, the president
took the stage at event with christian conservatives, no mention of comey, but he did level some of the same charges at his political opponents as they level at him. >> they will lie, they will obstruct, they will spread their hatred and their prejudice. but we will not back down from doing what is right. >> reporter: later, at the white house we tried to ask him about the big hearing. >> thank you all very much, thank you. >> mr. president, any reaction to comey's testimony? >> thank you very much. >> any reaction at all? >> do you think he told the truth? >> reporter: but while the president was mum, his personal lawyer, marc kasowitz was not. >> mr. comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told president trump privately. that is, that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe into russian interference. >> reporter: it's something the president had been asking comey to say publicly for months. today he finally did.
>> the president of the united states was not under investigation, is that a fair statement? >> that's correct. >> so that's a fact we can rely on. >> yes, sir. >> reporter: although, he could not say whether the president is now, or will be under investigation. but kasowitz hotly disputed almost everything else comey had to say, effectively accusing him of lying about his conversations with the president. >> the president never suggested that mr. comey, quote, let flynn go, closed quote. the president also never told mr. comey, quote, i need loyalty. i expect loyalty, closed quote. he never said it in form, and he never said it in substance. kasowitz also keyed in on comey's admission that he asked a friend to leak the memos he wrote about his conversations to "the new york times." >> mr. comey has now admitted
that he's one of these leakers. >> reporter: tapes which would show definitively who's telling the truth. >> if he did my feelings aren't hurt, release all the tapes. i'm good with it. >> jonathan karl joins us from the white house. jon, back to that threat the president's tweet saying james comey better hope there are no tapes. tonight, comey's memos have been turned over the special counsel. is there pressure at the white house to do the same with these tapes. >> reporter: at least answer definitively the question, whether or not the president taped his conversations. that was a question that came up at today's white house briefing. the answer from the deputy press secretary was, i have no idea. a question that she and sean spicer will get over and over again in the coming days. >> jon, our thanks to you. two more legal questions tonight. one about the president and one about james comey as well.
i want to bring in dan abrams. on this issue of michael flynn, the alleged request we heard about in the oval office. saying to comey, i hope you can let it go. comey pressed on that today. the president saying i hope, not i order you let it go. here's the moment comey was pressed on that point. how do you take it, dan. >> well, look, i think the way james comey took it is fairly clear, he took it as a dire directive, an order from the president and it's an order that he said that he would ignore. why didn't he do something about it? he didn't want to derail the russia investigation. a bit of a bombshell, they specifically left open the possibility of investigating the president himself for that comment down the road. >> on the issue of james comey leaking his own memos, it happened. the white house now targeting comey about the leak, does he face anything for this? >> well, certainly face
criticism from some, secretly leaking to someone. it's not a crime that it wasn't classified. he specifically wrote these memos that they would be unclassified in case he ended up in this exact situation in front of which exact committee. >> dan, thank you here on capitol hill, reaction pouring in at this hour. senators on both sides, who say after comey's testimony they're now demanding answers from president trump. here's abc's mary bruce. >> reporter: comey, they're saying it vindicated the president. retreating their partisan quarters. democrats saying they heard evidence that the president tried to torpedo the russia investigation. >> that certainly sounds like obstruction of justice to me. >> reporter: but republicans disagree. >> did you see any evidence of that. >> no.
mr. comey was very careful to say there were awkward conversations, conversation that were uncomfortable and inappropriate. >> reporter: defending those interactions the speaker of the house. >> the president's new at this, he's new to government so he probably want steeped in the long-running protocols. >> reporter: tonight one thing both parties can agree on -- this is far from over. >> this is not where near the end of our investigation. >> mary bruce live with us. on the issue of these tapes, has congress yet tried to subpoena or request these tapes? >> david, at least one committee has already asked for any tapes, but the white house has said they need more tape to respond to their requests. if any tapes do exist, lawmakers will want to hear them especially after comey's testimony today. >> they need more time to respond whether or not the tapes
exist. >> exactly. >> mary bruce with us. we continue here on this issue and you heard james comey say he's convinced he was fired because of the russia investigation. comey said the way he was handling it was irritating to the president and putting pressure on the president. should americans be worried? did the president ever ask james comey what more could be done to protect americans from russia med ling? >> do you have ever doubt that russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections? >> none. >> do you have any doubt that the russia government was behind the cyber intrusion in the state voter files? >> no. >> do you have any doubt that officials of the russian government were fully aware of these activity and no doubt. >> did the president in any of those interactions that you've shared with us, today, ask you what you should be doing or what our government should be doing
or the intelligence community to protect america against russia interference in our election system. >> i don't recall a conversation like that. >> never? >> no. >> let's get to our chief investigative correspondent, brian ross. he said he doesn't recall the president ever asking him about what the government should do to protect the americans from russia intrusion. >> it has left them stunned tonight. more than a year and half since the u.s. realized what the russians were up to and more troubling for them, the russians will be back for the 2018 and the 2020 elections with a vengeance and so far, no sign the white house is doing anything to stop them. >> brian, thank you. overaes tonight from iran, new and stunning images from the terror attack in tehran. gunmen armed with pistols running after them. 12 people killed in the attack there.
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aleve direct therapy. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ sfx: engine revving ♪ (silence) ♪ next tonight here, police accuse of beating an nint bystander by accident. instead of the driver they were pursuing. abc's eva pilgrim with their explanation tonight. >> reporter: tonight, disturbing new video, a man escaping from a fiery car wreck, engulfed in flames, ripping off his clothes. >> a car on fire.
>> new jersey police approach, guns drawn. one officer kicks him, then another, before the group of officers drags him into the street. police were in a high-speed chase, but the man they repeatedly kicked, 28-year-old miguel feliz, turns out was not the suspect they were pursuing. that man was 48-year-old leo pinkston, he had slammed into feliz's car. a police union representative says the video shows the officers putting out the flames. >> those did not look like helpful hands and we'll go through the process for a termination. >> david, tonight feliz, a young father, is in critical condition. prosecutors are investigating possible criminal charges against the officers. david. >> eva, thank you. when we come back -- the major headline involving the former nsa contractor involved with leaks. and the news coming in, the deadly church bus crash, emergency cruews on the scene a this hour. king about what to av,
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finally tonight here, america strong. the 7-year-old boy from utah and his pledge. here's abc's steve osunsami. >> reporter: it's a moment of patriotism caught on a doorbell camera at a home in utah. last week, eight-year-old wyatt warner was riding his motorbike through his neighborhood to meet a friend. >> i was going to see if my friend elliot could play. he's one of my best friends. >> reporter: but what happens when he gets to the home, and sees this u.s. flag, is what's
warming the hearts of millions of americans online. >> i pledge the allegiance to flag, of the united states of america. >> i thought about all the people who died for our country >> reporter: even his mistake is precious. >> when i was saying the pledge, i said with liberty and school because we usually said it so much in school. >> reporter: he going into the third grade and tells us he's a proud american. >> one nation, under god, indivisible and justice for all. >> we hope to see you right back here tomorrow night.