It may be Infrastructure Week at the White House, but former FBI Director James Comey's testimony and President Trump's own words have trampled the administration's message as it pushes to fix roads, bridges, ports and tracks across the country. As Comey tells it, he did not know he would be dining exclusively with the president-and as they sat down alone together, Trump demanded that he pledge his loyalty.
"I was also confused by the initial explanation that was offered publicly that I was sacked because of the decisions I had made during the election year".
"I didn't move, speak or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed", Comey said of the exchange.
By relying on the RNC, a bare-bones White House staff stands to reap the benefits of the party's existing network of surrogates, state parties and elected officials to help defend Trump ahead of the "outsized coverage" anticipated around the Comey testimony, the RNC official said.
"Those were lies, plain and simple", Comey bluntly told the committee.
Comey told the committee that deliberations with senior FBI leadership about whether or not to tell the president he was not personally under investigation beginning in January, before he was inaugurated, was not unanimous.
Comey said he had indeed seen Trump's tweet last month suggesting that the president had "tapes" of their conversations - and that if those did exist, they would corroborate his testimony.
In his "Closer Look", Seth Meyers kept the theme going with his own comparison: "So Trump invited Comey to a dinner without telling him who would be there, and then it turned out to be just the two of them", the Late Night host said.
Trump triggered a political firestorm on May 9 when he dismissed Comey, who was heading an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into allegations of Russian meddling into the 2016 USA presidential election. But that didn't stop him from reflecting wistfully on his job in his opening statement, calling it the "honor of my life".
Asked what he planned to order at Shaw's, he said: "I'd like to get a white Russian". I hope you can let this go.' I replied only that "he is a good guy.' ..."
He later said one of the reasons he began memorializing all of his conversations with Trump - which he had not done with President Obama - was because he "was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting".
Trump did not directly address Comey's testimony in his remarks, but told supporters "as you know, we're under siege". You realize that Trump probably bitched to Coats and Rogers the way he bitched to Comey.
Orlando Lopez, 32, a self-employed Lyft driver, said he took time off as well. Comey documented his meetings and calls with Trump immediately afterward in a series of detailed memos.
The FBI has refused to hand over Comey's memos to Congress, citing an ongoing investigation. John McCain, R-Ariz., have called the news reports and Comey's testimony "troubling".
But one of the more questionable talking points could be the notion that Trump's decision to fire Comey - who was at the helm of the Russian Federation investigation that had the President fuming - was borne out of patriotism.
The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is holding the hearing. Angus King (I-Maine), who said, "I don't think [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is a Republican or a Democrat". Several experts have said the opening statement is evidence that the president obstructed justice, since the FBI was conducting an investigation into the Trump team's potential ties to Russian government officials at the time Comey was sacked.
Comey used part of his opening statement to assure the public that "the FBI is honest, the FBI is strong and the FBI is and always will be independent". But Trump later said he was thinking of "this Russian Federation thing" when he fired Comey and would have dismissed him without the Justice Department's input. Asked if he regretted not asking Comey to resign, Trump said "it's not too late". Trump asked why Congress had just held a big hearing on the investigation, at which Comey had testified. Marco Rubio, why he didn't alert White House officials or the White House Counsel's Office about what he believed were inappropriate conversations with Trump and a breach of protocol.