President Donald Trump dismissed the notion of asking for a loyalty pledge on June 9 during a press conference, despite asking voters to pledge their loyalty to him (video below).
Trump told journalists that he never asked former FBI Director James Comey to pledge his loyalty, notes Mediaite: "I hardly know the man. I’m not going to say, 'I want you to pledge allegiance.' Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath?"
CNN showed a clip of Trump at a campaign rally telling his supporters to pledge their loyalty on March 5, 2016, before the GOP primary vote in Florida:
Let's do a pledge!... Can I have a pledge, a swearing? Raise your right hand. I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever... will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president.
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Comey recalled in his written statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8 that Trump asked for loyalty: "He then said, 'I need loyalty.' I replied, 'You will always get honesty from me.' He paused and then said, "That's what I want, honest loyalty.' I paused, and then said, 'You will get that from me,'" reports CNN.
Trump's personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, told reporters on June 9 that Trump never asked for Comey's loyalty, reports ABC News.
"The president also never told Mr. Comey, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,'" Kasowitz said. "He never said it in form and he never said it in substance. Of course, the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving in an administration."
Kasowitz is reportedly planning to file a complaint against Comey with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Inspector General for leaking a memo that he (Comey) gave to his friend and Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman, notes HuffPost.
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Kasowitz said the memo was "privileged," but the memo was not classified information and Trump did not claim any executive privilege over discussions between himself and Comey.
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California told CNN on June 9 that Trump's press conference was "clownish," reports Mediaite:
It’s a sad time in America. You compare what we saw yesterday -- a sobering, serious testimony from James Comey about his interactions with the president -- and then a clownish performance by a reality show star who isn’t acting presidential, didn't sound presidential, and didn't look presidential. It is unfortunate to see him stand in the rose garden and really take this in an un-serious way.