James Comey

Former FBI director James Comey’s first appearance on Capitol Hill since his abrupt ousting a month ago marks one of the most consequential congressional hearings in years. Critics accuse Mr Trump of attempting to obstruct justice and make comparisons to the Watergate scandal that toppled Richard Nixon. Our DC bureau correspondents followed the testimony and the Senate intelligence committee questioning as it unfolded.

Key points

  • Comey said he took the Trump request to drop a Mike Flynn investigation as a “direction”. He later quoted Henry II, saying the gist of the request was who will rid me of this meddlesome priest
  • Comey testified that Trump and others in the administration lied when they said FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey
  • Discussing the Trump suggestion that there were tapes of their conversations, Comey said “Lordy, I hope there are tapes”
  • Comey acknowledged he orchestrated a leak about his Trump conversations in hope of triggering a special counsel appointment.
  • Read the account of the hearing here

 

Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump was so concerned about her health that he sent a car to take her to a dinner they both attended last night. “Actually it was a hearse,” she joked. Trump said that Clinton had accidentally bumped into him and said: “Pardon me.” He politely replied: “Let me talk to you about that after I get into office.” Read more

Republican nominee Donald Trump speaks a

The final US presidential debate was marked by Donald Trump’s refusal to pledge that he would accept the US election result if he loses. In a fierce exchange, Hillary Clinton called her Republican opponent a “puppet” of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. There was everything to fight for: Mrs Clinton led by 7.2 points in the polls ahead of the debate and was on track to get 49.1 per cent of the national vote, based on a two-way race, according to a Real Clear Politics average of recent polls. The FT’s DC bureau delivered the action and reaction, while Patti Waldmeir filmed voters in a Republican stronghold in Wisconsin, and Charles Clover gave the view from Beijing, all curated by US online news editor Emiliya Mychasuk. 

At the end of a disastrous week, Donald Trump is doubling down on the put-downs.

The polls are showing the damage wrought by the video of him talking in lewd terms about groping women, followed by accusations from multiple women who said he had assaulted them. With those tumbling numbers in the background, the billionaire’s response on Friday was to ramp up attacks on his accusers. Read more

Candidates Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Hold Second Presidential Debate At Washington University

The second US presidential debate brought the expected volley of accusations and insults but came to an unexpectedly dignified close in final remarks by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The action and reaction is followed here by the FT DC bureau team, led by Barney Jopson and Courtney Weaver, while Anna Nicolaou recorded the mood among supporters at the Trump Tower bar, curated by US online news editor Emiliya Mychasuk. 

Two pieces of espionage dominated the campaign on Friday – and both are likely to provide fodder for Sunday’s second debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

One’s about Russia and the other is about Trump talking, well, dirty. To deal with the not-suitable-for-work one first, the Washington Post has unearthed audio and video that shows Trump bragging “in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women”. Read more

Views Ahead Of The First Presidential Debate At Hofstra University

The much-awaited showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is the first of the three presidential debates comes as the latest polls show the Republican and Democratic candidates for the White House neck and neck with only 43 days until the November 8 election. Our DC bureau track the action and reaction.
 

Hillary Clinton has no shortage of attack lines to throw at Donald Trump in next Monday’s debate, but if one was going to be “you haven’t even unified your own party” it just became a little less viable. Read more

Donald Trump ended another turbulent week sarcastically. Yesterday we covered the Republican’s out-there statement that Barack Obama was the “founder of Isis”, an unambiguous claim that he repeated multiple times while turning down invitations to retract or revise it. But today he said we shouldn’t have taken it so seriously after all. “They don’t get sarcasm?” he tweeted of CNN (and the rest of us) who covered it.

Aside from Trump’s ability to dominate a day’s news cycle, the episode also highlighted a couple of other things. One is what Newt Gingrich, a steadfast Trump ally, described as the imprecision of his language. “He sometimes uses three words when he needs 10,” Gingrich said, exasperatedly. The other is that Mr Trump is ramping up the time he spends bashing the media. Reporters like myself have been getting emails from the campaign highlighting a daily “media bias offender”. Read more

It’s possible to become inured to Donald Trump’s outlandish statements. Trump perhaps knows that the bar for attention is gradually rising, but he has made a huge splash with his latest effort – a claim that Barack Obama is “the founder of Isis”.

Yes, that’s as barefaced as it came. Trump did not mean to say Obama was an “enabler” of Isis, or that he created the messy environment from which Isis emerged. He meant to say what he said: Obama founded Isis. Read more

It is a question often raised by Donald Trump’s seemingly glib or off-the-cuff opinions on minefield subjects that other politicians would avoid: “What does that mean?”

Today it was Barack Obama who was asking it, as he was quizzed at a press conference on Trump’s suggestion that this year’s election could be rigged. “That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t make any sense,” the president said, before mentioning kids who lose playground games and say they were cheated. Read more

So long, Philly. Democrats are streaming away from their party convention and heading home for the final 15-week sprint to the presidential election on November 8. It’s going to be brutal.

Hillary Clinton left most of her party with a spring in its step after a rousing speech (by her standards) on Thursday night. Bill Clinton seemed to have a great time, judging by the fun he had with the balloons that fell from the ceiling. Read more

The dream script for Democrats in Philadelphia tonight would have Hillary Clinton closing out their convention with a rousing crescendo. But can she manage it as she accepts the party nomination?

Democrats have already savoured speeches from their party’s most talented orators – Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden – who set a high bar. Clinton is not a natural speechmaker and John Podesta, her campaign chair, predicted to the New York Times: “Maybe she doesn’t hit those soaring notes.” Read more

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Donald Trump is renowned for knowing how to dominate a news cycle, but did he really intend to dominate today’s? As the delegates at the Democratic convention cool down from the blistering Philadelphia heat outside, ahead of speeches tonight from Barack Obama, Tim Kaine and others, Trump has garnered a big chunk of attention for himself with his latest Russian turn.

In a press conference, he urged Moscow to track down and hand over tens of thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server which have yet to be released. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said.

 Read more

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Boring? That’s what many predicted the Democratic convention would be after last week’s Republican drama in Cleveland. How wrong they were. Instead, the Democrats are off to a raucous, rollicking start that is giving party chiefs reason to bury their heads in their hands.

Just a couple of hours into the Philadelphia convention, the party unity that Democratic leaders want to cement by the end of this week appears thin on the ground. Read more

Just a few months ago the idea that Britons would vote to leave the EU seemed implausible. But to the shock of the world, that’s what they just did. A short while back the idea of Donald Trump as president seemed equally inconceivable. Does the Brexit vote tell us we should now upgrade the odds of him winning? Read more

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The party host has confirmed it was a great night, thanked everyone for coming, and wished you all a safe journey home. But one guest is still clinging to the drinks table and opening himself a new bottle of beer. That guy is Bernie Sanders.

On Thursday the Vermont senator took his refusal to officially admit that the good times were over to a poignant new venue: the White House. Read more

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Okay, Hillary, you’re giving it a shot.

In yesterday’s newsletter I said Hillary Clinton had not found an effective line of attack on Donald Trump. Today she was a different person, throwing everything at him in her first all-out assault on the Republican presidential nominee.

We’ll still have to see whether the mud sticks, but it was fierce stuff as she assailed him for being “temperamentally unfit” and pushing a “dangerously incoherent” foreign policy, as Demetri Sevastopulo reportsRead more

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With Hillary Clinton casting around for an effective attack line on Teflon Donald Trump, Barack Obama had another shot at the task for her on Wednesday.

The president went for the “false consciousness” approach, telling the middle-class they were deluding themselves if they thought Trump’s economic policies would help them rather than the mega-rich. Read more

Every presidential nominee over the past four decades has released his tax returns for all to devour, but Donald Trump says his effective tax rate is “none of your business”. That snippy response to an ABC interviewer’s question dominated the presidential news.

He did say “you’ll see it when I release it’, then added something that has got less attention: “I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.” That’s hardly unusual coming from a canny billionaire, but it carries a certain irony as Trump doesn’t seem to think it’s OK for other businesses to do the same thing. Read more