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Student Allegedly Brought Tainted Cupcakes to Winsted School


A student allegedly brought in tainted cupcakes to a school in Winsted on Wednesday, the principal said. 

The principal of the Gilbert School in Winsted said the batter of cupcakes brought into the school was tainted with an unconfirmed non-drug substance. 

The cupcakes were given out to a few students, Principal Alan Strauss said. 

School officials said they contacted Winsted Police who helped collect evidence obtained by the school.

Strauss said at least two sets of parents spoke with police.

It is unclear if any charges were pressed. 

"We take all matters of disrespect, any violations of one's space or rights, or any forms of harassment very seriously and we are vigorously investigating this incident," Strauss said.

It is unclear what the tainted fluid is. 

Photo Credit: AP

Fountains, Faucets at 2 Waterbury Schools Shut Down


Fountains and faucets in two different Waterbury schools were shut down Wednesday after lead test results came back at levels higher than the federally allowed limit.

While the city is testing water systems in every school, three faucets at Wendell Cross Elementary School were over the limit and two fountains at Walsh Elementary were over the federally regulated limit of lead allowed in drinking water. The Wendell Cross faucets were in the nurses bathroom and the teachers’ lounge, areas that are not accessible to students.

Until a permanent solution can be found, teachers will be provided with bottled water. In some of the tainted faucets, staff have been instructed to let the water run before using it.

When looking for lead, there are two types of tests: One to measure the first water out of a fountain, or stagnant water, and another after the water runs for 60 seconds. In each tainted faucet or fountain, it was the stagnant water where lead was found.

A recorded message was sent out to parents across the school district after 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Let me stress that there is no issue with the quality of the water. The issue is with the pipe structure of the schools,” said the unidentified school employee in the message to parents.

“We want to reassure the public that there is no public health issue here,” said Waterbury interim Chief of Staff Robert Brenker. “Whenever people hear that four letter word, ‘lead’, they get scared and I understand that.”

Brenker said the faucets were shut down immediately after getting the test results on Tuesday afternoon. He said it was done out of an abundance of caution.

“The level that was found is significantly lower than anything that would cause an issue,” Brenker said.

The school district is testing every school and has results from about 80 percent of them, according to Brenker.

Parents outside Walsh Elementary wanted more information from the school.

"It is scary," said Ashanti Rivera, who has two young children attending Walsh. “You never want anything to happen to your kids and you know how dangerous lead poisoning can be.”

The tests came as a response to a 2016 NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation which reported that Waterbury had not tested school water in six years. School officials agreed to test schools in response to NBC Connecticut's requests.

Experts will come in and recommend to the city the best "next step" in find the source of the lead and cleaning it up.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Town Council Votes on Tax Hike in Groton


The town council in Groton voted to raise the town's tax rate.

There will be an 8.7 percent tax rate increase in the city to budget for the coming fiscal year. That means the mill rate has increased from 21.73 mills to 23.63 mills.

Town councilor, Diane Barber, said it was a struggle to make the decision in the first place because the state budget is still in the works and it’s unclear exactly how much Groton will lose in state aid.

The a 6-2 vote was made by town councilors Tuesday night.

Barber voted for it and said at this point, it doesn’t seem like the town had much of a choice. She said she is worried about the potential cuts to schools in the district.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know what’s going to happen with the state on how much they’re cutting us on the education budget so I call this budget a what if budget,” Barber said.

The Groton Board of Education originally asked for about $77.7 million, but the cuts mean about $2.8 million less for the next fiscal year.

Pleasant Valley Elementary School will close by the end of the year – sending about 300 children to other schools in the area.

Superintendent Michael Granier said some children will be transferred to the two magnet schools in town – Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School or Marine Science Magnet High School.

"We then took a neighboring school, Charles Barnum, and we created an additional classroom per grade so that about 100, 140 students could go to that school," Granier said.

Charles Barnum School is where Rebecca Rivera of Groton will have to send her daughter, who is a first grader.

“I didn’t know what would happen if she didn’t get into those and I didn’t want her to go to a school far away in Mystic,” Rivera said.

The superintendent says the 30 staff members from Pleasant Valley have nearly all been placed to work at other schools in the district.

The $425,000 it costs to operate the elementary schools, such as supplying paper and pencils, has also been cut by 15 percent.

The goal for the superintendent is that once there’s a definite number on how much funding Groton will receive from the state for the town’s Board of Education’s budget, the town can hopefully restore money in areas where funding was cut.

School Officials Fight for a New Dodd Middle School


The Cheshire Board of Education and Town Council are proposing a new 185-thousand square foot facility at Cheshire Park to be the new Dodd Middle School.

On Wednesday night, Cheshire school leaders opened the doors to the middle school on Park Place, to show taxpayers exactly why they believe a new building is necessary.

"Currently, right now, we cannot fit all our 7th and 8th graders, even one grade of 7th grade, into the cafeteria," Dodd Middle School Principal Michael Woods said. 

"A lot of these aging pieces we are having difficulty finding the parts for... we have some classrooms that are extremely hot some and some classrooms that don't have heat at all."

According to the Board of Education, the building which would house sixth, seventh and eighth grade students has a $106 million price tag and $70 million of that would be the responsibility of the town.

"It would be nice to get a new facility so this is something we can prepare our kids better for," Woods said.

Some critics want to know what would come from construction of a new building. Neighbors are also concerned what will happen to the old school building. 

The board feels the issues outweigh the benefits and unanimously voted to move forward with the state grant application process. 

The town council will meet on June 27 to vote on the grant application and if it will go to referendum. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

UK Polls Open After Campaign Dominated by Brexit, Attacks


The polls opened across Britain early Thursday in the snap election dominated by Brexit negotiations and recent terror attacks, NBC News reported.

Prime Minister Theresa May called for the election in hopes of increasing her Conservative Party's majority in Parliament, which could help her in the negotiations with the European Union.

May said she wants to build a "stronger, fairer and more prosperous Britain." While Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he wants to govern "for the many, not the few."

Voters are choosing 650 lawmakers for the House of Commons. Polling stations close at 5 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Shock Video Shows Cops Kick Burning Bystander After NJ Chase


An innocent man was beaten by cops after a police chase and shooting that ended in a fiery crash in Jersey City Sunday night, prosecutors say.

The man seen on video being kicked by officers on Tonnelle Avenue turned out to be a bystander who suffered burns in the crash -- not the driver that police officers were pursuing, according to the Hudson County prosecutor's office. 

"Our investigators have reviewed the video and we believe with certainty that this man is the bystander from West New York who suffered burns, not Leo Pinkston, the individual pursued by police," said a spokesman for the prosecutor's office. 

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop says he wants the officers fired.

"This is unacceptable," he tweeted Wednesday. "We're IDing officers. We'll pursue termination + criminal charges as appropriate." 

Prosecutors are continuing to investigate the video, and prosecutors are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to contact them at 201-915-1345. 

The police chase began at Ocean and Cator avenues after 11 p.m., when the driver, identified as the 48-year-old Pinkston, fled police during a traffic stop. Cops pursued him down Tonnelle Avenue, and Pinkston got into a minor crash when he tried to move between two lanes of traffic.

That's when Jersey City police opened fire, though it's not clear if anyone was hit by the bullets, authorities said. Pinkston kept going until he crashed into a utility pole a few blocks away and his vehicle burst into blames. 

Another man happened to be driving along Tonnelle Avenue at the time of the chase, and was critically injured when Pinkston's vehicle combusted, authorities said at the time. Prosecutors now say that was the man in the video being kicked by cops.

A neighbor, Tom Evans, said he watched from his balcony as two cars slammed into the utility pole, then saw emergency responders struggle to pull someone out of a burning car. 

Witness Eric Roberto told News 4 New York he witnessed the officers kicking the injured man and dragging him into the street. He captured video of the encounter. 

"They didn't help him, they just started kicking him and grabbing him," Roberto said. "I don't think they treated him the right way, and that's not how you treat any human in this world." 

The video shows officers kicking the innocent bystander who was on fire. 

The Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association, a union representing Jersey City police officers, said the officers were trying to put out the flames and get the man to safety. 

"Taking swift action isn't always elegant, but this video clearly shows that the officers acted quickly to extinguish the flames, and pull this man out of harm's way," JCPOBA President Carmine Disbrow said in a statement. 

A spokeswoman for Jersey City says city officials are working with prosecutors to identify the officers in the video. The city will seek termination of the officers, "in addition to any possible criminal penalties in appropriate cases," said Jennifer Morrill. 

The burned bystander is being treated for his injuries. His family told News 4 New York that he has severe burns and fractured ribs, and that he's going into surgery on Thursday.

"When I saw the images of my son being massacred, it was indescribable. He was just leaving home for work," the victim's father, Tomas Felix, said. 

Meanwhile, Pinkston is also being treated at a hospital and faces charges of aggravated assault and eluding. Prosecutors didn't immediately say why police initially tried to stop him, nor did they say why he may have fled. 

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop is calling for the officers to be fired. 

"I don't think there's any explanation that would justify their actions," Fulop said. "The entire pursuit that was previous to that fiery crash had questionable judgment calls from the officers, from the shootings to continuing to pursue the car." 

Photo Credit: Erik Roberto

Five Facts to Know About FBI Director James Comey


In two successive revelations delivered on Monday, FBI director James Comey confirmed in a testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that his federal agency is investigating the 2016 Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia and that there is no evidence of Obama wiretapping Trump Tower before or after the election.

As NBC News reported, Comey, who 11 days before the November election called for a re-examination of Hillary Clinton's email server, was blamed by some Democrats for their nominee's loss to President Donald Trump. 

But before being thrust into the spotlight, the 56-year-old and father of five had a long career as a federal prosecutor. Read on for five facts to know about director Comey.

Photo Credit: Mike Groll, AP (File)

Timeline: What Led to Former FBI Director Comey's Firing


President Donald Trump abruptly fired James Comey as director of the FBI in the midst of the law enforcement agency's investigation into whether Trump's presidential campaign was connected to Russian meddling in the election. In a letter to Comey, Trump said the dismissal was necessary to restore the public's trust and confidence.

Often lauded for his independence, Comey had come under intense scrutiny in recent months for his role in the agency's investigation into the email practices of Trump's opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, including a pair of letters he sent to Congress on the matter in the final days of last November's election.

A look at key moments in Comey's tenure and the lead-up to Trump's decision to fire him.

Sept. 4, 2013: Comey is sworn in to office as the seventh director of the FBI. He was nominated for the post by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate.

July 5, 2016: Holds news conference to announce that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, over her email practices as secretary of state, but criticizes Clinton and her staff for being "extremely careless" in their handling of classified material.

July 5, 2016: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump calls the FBI's decision not to bring criminal charges against Clinton the greatest example yet that the system is "rigged."

July 7, 2016: Comey vigorously defends the decision not to prosecute Clinton over her use of a private email server as secretary of state. Under an onslaught of Republican criticism, Comey says that to charge Clinton would have been unwarranted and mere "celebrity hunting."

Oct. 28, 2016: Days before the election, Comey informs Congress by letter that he was reopening the investigation into Clinton's email practices based on new evidence, citing the discovery of emails on a laptop used by a top Clinton aide. Justice Department officials warned Comey against sending the letter, saying that doing so would be inconsistent with department policy meant to avoid the appearance of prosecutorial interference or meddling in elections.

Oct. 28, 2016: Trump reacts to FBI's decision to investigate new messages related to Clinton's emails, telling a campaign rally that he has "great respect for the FBI for righting this wrong."

Nov. 6, 2016: Comey tells Congress in a follow-up letter that a review of newly discovered Clinton emails has "not changed our conclusions" that she should not face criminal charges.

Nov. 6: Trump criticizes Comey's second letter to Congress, saying Clinton was being protected by a "rigged system" and pronouncing her "guilty," despite the FBI's conclusion that criminal charges were unwarranted.

Nov. 8, 2016: Trump is elected president.

Nov. 12, 2016: During a telephone call with top campaign donors, Clinton blames Comey for her defeat by Trump. Clinton said her campaign was on track to win the election until Comey sent the letter to Congress on Oct. 28.

Nov. 13, 2016: In a CBS "60 Minutes" broadcast after the election, Trump said he hadn't decided whether to keep Comey.

Jan. 6, 2017: Comey is among a group of four top U.S. intelligence officials who briefed then-President-elect Donald Trump on their conclusions that Russia meddled in the presidential election on his behalf. Trump told The Associated Press by telephone after the meeting that he "learned a lot" but declined to say whether he accepted their conclusion about Russia.

Jan. 22, 2017: Two days after taking office, Trump appears to single out Comey at a White House reception to thank law enforcement officers and others that helped during the inauguration. Trump called Comey over to where he was standing in the Blue Room to offer a handshake and a partial hug, then commented that Comey has "become more famous than me."

March 8, 2017: During a cybersecurity conference at Boston College, Comey said he planned to serve his entire 10-year term, quipping, "You're stuck with me for another 6½ years."

March 20, 2017: Comey testifies to Congress that the FBI has been investigating possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials since July, the same month he held an unusual news conference to discuss the investigation into Clinton. Comey had previously refused to acknowledge the parallel Trump investigation, and his disclosure enrages Democrats who already blamed Comey for costing Clinton the presidency.

March 20, 2017: Comey testifies at the same hearing that the FBI and Justice Department have no information to substantiate Trump's unsubstantiated claim on Twitter that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him before the election.

May 2, 2017: Clinton again lays part of the blame for losing the election on Comey's Oct. 28 letter. "If the election were on Oct. 27, I would have been your president," she tells a women's luncheon in New York.

May 3, 2017: Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey insists that he was consistent in his handling of the separate investigations into Clinton and Trump. Comey also said it made him feel "mildly nauseous" to think his actions in October might have influenced the election outcome. But he told senators: "I can't consider for a second whose political futures will be affected and in what way. We have to ask ourselves what is the right thing to do and then do it."

May 9, 2017: Comey sends Congress a letter correcting his prior sworn testimony regarding emails handled by longtime Clinton associate Huma Abedin. Comey had told Congress that Abedin had sent "hundreds and thousands" of emails to her husband's laptop, including some with classified information. The two-page, follow-up letter said that, in fact, only "a small number" of the thousands of emails found on the laptop had been forwarded there while most had simply been backed up from electronic devices.

May 9, 2017: Trump abruptly fires Comey. "It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission," Trump states in a letter addressed to Comey.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

DC Bars Break Out the Covfefe for Comey Hearing Parties


Forget sports bars — it's going to be all about politics at watering holes in the nation's capitol when fired FBI Director James Comey testifies before Congress.  

Several Washington, D.C., bars are hosting viewing parties for Comey’s testimony before the Senate intelligence committee on Thursday. Yes, that is the most Washington thing ever, though some bars in cities across other time zones are reportedly opening early for watch parties. 

"Starting at 10 a.m. anytime Donald Trump tweets about the hearing we will give a free round of drinks to everyone that's in here," said Ashley Saunders, general manager at Union Pub on Capitol Hill.

Even if that means hundreds will turn out, "it'd be great," she said. 

Shaw’s Tavern in D.C.'s Shaw neighborhood will open at 9:30 a.m., allowing attendees to view the 10 a.m. hearing on the bar’s five TVs.

What has been dubbed “The Comey Hearing Covfefe” will last until 12:30 p.m.

“Come on... you know you want to watch the drama unfold this Thursday,” a Facebook post by the bar reads.

The bar will feature $5 "Russian Vodka Flavors" and $10 “FBI” sandwiches, which consist of fried chicken breast, bacon and iceberg lettuce on a toasted bun.

Early morning patrons can also enjoy a $10 “FBI” breakfast: French toast, bacon and ice cream.

Rob Heim, Shaw's general manager, said this isn't the first time politics has been a big draw for the bar. 

"We definitely had more people for election night than the Super Bowl," he said.

The hearing is Comey’s first congressional appearance since he was fired by President Donald Trump last month. The testimony comes amid investigations by the FBI and congressional committees into the scope of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In a statement to the intelligence committee released on Wednesday, Comey detailed a handful of one-on-one interactions with Trump that he said made him uneasy. The president had demanded his loyalty, had tried to create a "patronage relationship," and asked him to back off an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Comey alleged. Comey also confirmed Trump's assertion that he assured him Trump was not a target of the FBI's investigation into Russia's meddling and possible collusion by Trump's campaign.

At Duffy's Irish Pub in D.C., a large screen TV on the patio and 15 TVs inside will tune patrons in as lawmakers press Comey on his prepared testimony.

Duffy's will serve "Covfefe cocktails" and is located at 2106 Vermont Ave. NW in the district's U Street Corridor.

A third bar, The Pug, said in a Twitter post Monday they will open at 11 a.m., but, "given the gravity of Thusday's Comey hearings," their TVs will be showing HGTV or Law and Order re-runs.

The Pug is located at 1234 H St. NE.

Back at the Union Pub, Saunders took a political tact herself in talking about the fixture's clientele. Her customers are both pro- and anti-Trump, she said. 

If you find any other bars hosting viewing parties for the hearing, click here to let us know

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Session Ends Without a Budget Agreement


Connecticut state lawmakers worked until midnight, but ended the session with unfinished business, including a budget. 

Lawmakers said last week that they would not come to an agreement in time and decided that their new deadline to come up with a budget compromise is June 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. 

At the last minute, lawmakers breathed new life into lockbox legislation that aims to protect transportation funds from being spent on other projects. Since that will require a constitutional amendment, voters will have to decide whether to approve it during the next statewide election.  

The House also gave final approval to a plan to bury parts of Interstate 84 and Interstate 91 in underground in tunnels.  

Legislation also passed to allow a third casino to be built in East Windsor.  

Lawmakers also agreed to update the way the government refers to older adults and people with disabilities, including changing language such as “elderly” to “older person” and “deaf” to “hearing impaired.” 

What did not pass was a protection of women’s health benefits if the Affordable Care Act is overhauled. The legislation passed the Senate unanimously, but was pulled off the floor of the House after one lawmaker tried to amend the measure with an abortion-related proposal.

The session also wrapped up without the passage of bills to create tolls, give college aid to students of undocumented workers and legalize the use of recreational marijuana. 

While lawmakers hope to have a budget passed by June 30, the end of the fiscal year, some said it could take much longer for both sides to come to an agreement on how to cover the multi-billion-dollar deficit.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2 Transported After Crash on Wilbur Cross Parkway


Two people were transported to the hospital after a crash on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Hamden this morning. 

The crash was on the southbound side of the road past exit 60, according to the Hamden Fire Department.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File

1 Dog Dead, 1 Injured in Bloomfield Pit Bull Attack


Police are investigating a pit bull attack in Bloomfield Wednesday that killed one dog and injured another. 

Police said the pit bulls were loose and the attack happened just before 11 a.m. on Lincoln Terrace. 

Animal control has the pit bulls and police said they believe they know who the dogs’ owners are because the dogs had collars on.

Photo Credit: AP

Jordan Spieth to Play in Travelers Championship


Pro golfer Jordan Spieth is coming to Connecticut to play in the Travelers tournament.  

This will be the debut at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell for the two-time major champion who is currently number 6 in the Official World Golf Ranking. 

"Jordan has quickly become one of golf’s biggest stars,” Travelers Championship Tournament Director Nathan Grube said in a statement. 

“Having Jordan here for the first time definitely adds a level of excitement to our tournament,” Grube said. 

Spieth, a 23-year-old from Dallas, is a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour and was named the tour’s player of the year in 2015. 

Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk and Russell Knox, the 2016 Travelers Championship winner, will also play. 

The 2017 Travelers Championship will be held June 19 to 25. Learn more here on this year’s tournament.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Window Washer Accused of Stealing $25,000 Watch


A man hired to clean windows at a Glastonbury residence is accused of stealing a $25,000 watch. 

Police said a resident called authorities who investigated and determined that 37-year-old Jorge David Otero-Vega, of Hartford, stole the watch. 

Otero-Vega was charged with first-degree larceny. 

He was released on bond and is due in court on June 28.

Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police

Body Found in Burning SUV in Bridgeport


A body was found inside a burning SUV in Bridgeport on Wednesday night. 

Police said firefighters found the body after putting the fire out near Houston and Dodd avenues. 

The name of the person found and the cause of the fire have not been released.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigate 30 Overnight Burglaries in West Hartford


Police are investigating around 30 burglaries in West Hartford overnight, including a home break-in as the residents were sleeping. 

Police said burglars entered vehicles and garages in the Farmington Avenue, Garfield Road, Sunset Terrace, Tunxis Road, Mountain Road, Ridgewood Road, Sedgwick Road, Lemay Street and Rosedale Road areas and took loose change, bikes and electronics. 

Burglars also went into an unlocked back door of a house on Long Lane Road as the residents were sleeping and stole a 55-inch TV and other electronics, police said. 

Police urge residents to lock their homes and vehicles. They said it seems unlikely that the car burglaries and home burglary are connected, but detectives will be following up. 

Anyone with information or home security video should call the detective division at (860) 570-8870. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Amazon Could Bring Thousands of Jobs to North Haven


The North Haven Board of Selectman will vote on a tax incentive agreement for Amazon to redevelop the town’s former Pratt and Whitney site during a special meeting Thursday night, according to the agenda published on the town’s website.  

If the selectmen approve the agreement, the worldwide online retailer plans to redevelop the vacant site at 409 Washington Ave. into a new distribution center and warehouse. 

The new distribution center would bring 1,800 to 3,500 jobs and several million dollars in tax revenue to North Haven, a source with direct knowledge of the deal said. 

The 168-acre property has been vacant for 22 years, according to the source. 

A resolution on the building permit fee abatement agreement is also on the agenda for the public meeting at 7 p.m. at the North Haven Town Hall at 18 Church Street. 

Amazon already has a fulfillment center on Old Iron Ore Road in Windsor and a sorting center on Research Parkway in Wallingford. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Comey Hearing: What Does 'Hope' Mean?


During Former FBI Director James Comey's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Sen. James Risch (R-ID) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) offer their differing view of what the word "hope" means when it comes to implying a direct order.

'Lordy, I Hope There Are Tapes,' and Other Top Comey Moments


James Comey, the former FBI director forced from his job by President Donald Trump, gave his much anticipated testimony to the Senate intelligence committee Thursday morning, and immediately accused the Trump administration of lying and the president of firing him over the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election. The question now: Are there tapes of his meetings with the president?

Here are some of the top moments of the sometimes startling hearing.

"Those Were Lies"

Comey, whose written testimony was released in advance of his appearance, opened the hearing by saying the Trump administration had lied to the American people about the FBI when it said that the agency was in disarray and poorly led and that its agents had lost confidence in their director.

"Those were lies, plain and simple," Comey said.

The former FBI director said that he understood that despite his 10-year term he could be dismissed by the president at any time for any or no reason, but he also said Trump told him several times that he was doing a good job, and he was puzzled by Trump’s explanations over why he was fired.

"The shifting explanations confused me and increasingly concerned me," Comey said.

Comey later said that he wrote memos after his conversations with Trump because he thought they would eventually become public and he was concerned about the nature of the person he was dealing with.

"I was honestly concerned that he might lie," Comey said.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary, said in response: "I can definitely say the president's not a liar."

"Lordy, I Hope There Are Tapes"

After Trump tweeted on May 12 that "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" Comey said his reaction was the opposite.

"Lordy, I hope there are tapes," he said.

Comey went on to say that if there were tapes he would want them to be made public.

"Release all the tapes," he said. "I'm good with it."

Sanders said after Comey's testimony that she did not know of any taping system at the White House and joked that she would check under the couches.

Why had Comey not told the president that the request was inappropriate? Comey said that maybe if he had been stronger, he would have.

"I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in," Comey said.

Trump kept off Twitter during Comey's testimony but his son Donald J. Trump Jr was tweeting in his defense.

"So if he was a 'Stronger guy' he might have actually followed procedure & the law?" Donald Trump Jr. wrote. "You were the director of the FBI, who are you kidding?"

Comey Leaked His Memo
Comey testified that he woke up in the middle of the night and thought, "Holy cow, there might be tapes." And if there were, he needed to get his memo concerning fired national security adviser Michael Flynn out into the "public square," he said.

Comey said that he asked a friend at Columbia Law School, later identified as professor Dan Richman, to leak the memo to a reporter in the hopes that it would prompt a special counsel. On May 16, The New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt wrote an article about Trump's request to Comey that he back off the investigation into Flynn.

"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," Comey wrote the president asked him. "He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."

On May 18, the U.S. Justice Department named former FBI chief Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate any Russian interference in the election.

Donald J. Trump Jr.'s response: "Once again he's right way before anyone else sees it... and they found another leaker today."

Trump's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, accused Comey in a statement of "unauthorized disclosures" of "privileged communications" he had with the president.

"A Little Shakespeare"
Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent, asked Comey whether he felt Trump was giving him a directive when he said he hoped Comey could "let this go."

Yes, Comey answered. "It rings in my ear as kind of, 'Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'"

"I was just going to quote that," King said. "In 1170, December 29, Henry II said, 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest,' and then the next day he was killed, Thomas a Becket. That's exactly the same situation."

The men were quoting a line Shakespeare gave Britain's Henry II, frustrated with his nemesis, the archbishop of Canterbury, with whom he battled over the rights of the Catholic Church. Becket was assassinated.

But Donald Trump Jr. wrote that there would be no doubt if his father had issued an order.

"Knowing my father for 39 years when he "orders or tells" you to do something there is no ambiguity, you will know exactly what he means," Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.

Trump's lawyer, Kasowitz, later said that the president had "never, in form or substance," directed Comey to stop investigating Flynn.

The Specter of J. Edgar Hoover
At a Jan. 6 meeting, Comey briefed Trump on a salacious and unverified dossier compiled by a former British intelligence official that included claims about Trump and prostitutes — accusations Trump has strenuously denied.

Comey called the encounter a "J. Edgar Hoover-type situation."

"I didn’t want him thinking that I was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way," Comey said.

Sessions' Involvement "Problematic"

Comey let out some tantalizing information about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from any investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the presidential election.

Speaking of the FBI's leadership, Comey said, "We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic. And so we were convinced, and I think we'd already heard that the career people were recommending that he recuse himself, that he was not going to be in contact with Russia-related matters much longer, and that turned out to be the case."

"They're Coming After America"
Comey emphasized he had no doubt that Russia had interfered in the U.S. presidential election last year, with purpose and sophistication and driven from the top of the government. Countering Trump, who has repeatedly dismissed the allegation as a hoax and fake news, Comey called it as "un-fake as you can possibly get."

"There is no fuzz on that," he said.

Comey went on to deliver an impassioned plea that the country see the Russian behavior as a threat to America, which he described as a "big messy wonderful country where we fight with each other all the time, but nobody tells us what to think, what to fight about, what to vote for except other Americans."

Russia is a foreign country trying to shape how Americans think and vote, he said.

"That is a big deal," he said. "And people need to recognize it. It's not about Republicans or Democrats. They're coming after America, which I hope we all love equally."

Photo Credit: AP

Republicans, Democrats Dig in After Comey Hearing


Democrats and Republicans took to social media to share reactions to fired FBI Director James Comey's hearing on Capitol Hill, as President Donald Trump remained silent.

Republicans focused on the revelation that Comey told the Senate intelligence committee that after his firing he gave a memo about Trump to a friend to leak to the press. They also seized on Comey's remarks that he felt "queasy" over then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch's instruction to refer to the FBI's probe into Hillary Clinton's emails as a "matter" not an "investigation."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), in speaking with an NBC News reporter after the testimony, said he believes that there must not be an obstruction of justice case to be made, because if there were, special counsel Robert Mueller would not have allowed Comey to testify.

"Mueller has concluded, in my own mind, that there's not going to be an obstruction case, because he wouldn't allow Comey to testify. If you really believe you had an obstruction of justice case, would you let the only and best witness go through this?"

Democrats expressed concerns about Trump's desire for influence over the former FBI director, with some saying they believed Trump would be investigated for obstruction of justice.

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters during a press conference that ran concurrently to the hearing that Trump was "not a liar."

House Speaker Paul Ryan also defended Trump during a separate press conference and said, "The president’s new at this."

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., referred to the Trump administration as a "cloud," and tweeted: "Trump and his team brought their own cloud in with them. It’s not the investigation that’s the cloud. It’s their own actions #ComeyDay."

"Today, Comey testified he was directed to drop a case involving National Security Advisor, and fired to alter course of Russia investigation," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said.

Trump drew support from his son Donald Trump Jr. and other Republicans.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tweeted: "We learned: Comey leaked stuff to press;he was too weak to stand up to @POTUS and rolled over from pressure from AG Lynch; yes he got fired!"

Meanwhile, Trump Jr. went on a Twitter tirade against Comey's testimony.

Here's more Republican reaction:

Democratic reaction:

Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
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