Many in GOP unshaken by Comey's testimony against Trump

Comey admitted that Trump did not order him in so many words to stop investigating Russian meddling in last year's presidential election.

Comey said he refused on all points, told senators of the detailed memos he had written after his conversations with Trump and said he hoped those conversations were taped because he is confident of their veracity.

He also branded the president a liar and said Trump urged him to abandon the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. And he said multiple times that he choose to take detailed notes about his interactions with Trump because he anxious the White House and President would lie about them if he didn't. Asked whether Trump's behaviour amounted to obstruction of justice, Comey replied: "That's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work towards".

More seriously, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer voiced the growing concern among Trump allies that the president is digging himself into a legal hole, offering this advice to the president: "You have not been vindicated".

Standing with the president of Romania, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partner, Trump at last confirmed his commitment to the alliance's mutual defense pact, Article 5, uttering words he deliberately did not say when he spoke at NATO's gathering in Belgium last month.

Comey drove that message home when asked how we could move beyond the he said-he said situation. "I think it's frankly insulting that that question would be asked".

Trump and his outside attorney, Marc Kasowitz, have zeroed in on this and lambasted Comey for ordering the "leaks".

During his Thursday testimony, Comey said he hoped Trump would produce the tapes if he had them.

Trump, speaking alongside Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in the Rose Garden, also said he was "100%" willing to testify under oath to dispute claims Comey made before the Senate committee.

If such material exists, they want the White House to provide it by June 23. But, as The New York Times editorial board correctly argued, "Mr Comey wasn't suggesting Mr Trump was ... inexperienced".

In his public testimony, Mr Comey did not disclose any links between Trump advisers and alleged Russian attempts to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an issue that has distracted from White House policy goals such as overhauling the United States healthcare system and cutting taxes.

"I was sacked in some way to change, or the endeavour was to change, the way the Russian Federation investigation was being conducted", Comey said on Thursday at a Senate hearing.

The ploy worked. The Russia investigation is now being handled by a high-powered special prosecutor. "I was so stunned by the conversation, I just took it in". "I was sacked in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russian Federation investigation was being conducted".

House Speaker Paul Ryan, perhaps the political figure most diminished by Trump's presidency so far, continued to make excuses for him, explaining away everything on the basis of Trump being "new to this".

During a discussion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, Comey disclosed that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, an Obama administration appointee, instructed him to refer to the issue as a "matter", not an "investigation".

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