Merkley: 'Comey’s testimony painted a profoundly disturbing portrait of President Trump'

Sen. Jeff Merkley talks about James Comey's testimony.

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon's junior senator shared his reaction to the testimony of former FBI director James Comey - and weighed in on why Oregonians should care about this issue.

Sen. Jeff Merkley spoke with reporter Tom Adams on Thursday after Comey's testimony was televised nationwide.

Oregon's senior senator - Sen. Ron Wyden - sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee and had an opportunity to question Comey directly.

Merkley outlined what he saw as the three biggest issues addressed in Thursday's hearing.

Merkley said he sees the "foundation for obstruction of justice" in President Trump's actions, as described by Comey.

But he said the investigation needs to be given time to uncover all the facts.

Reflecting on Watergate, Merkley said the underlying issue - Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, and whether any Americans coordinated with the foreign power - is more serious than the burglary that eventually led to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

We asked: Why should Oregonians care about this issue?

You can watch the complete interview here:

Merkley also released a written statement after Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee:

“Director Comey’s testimony painted a profoundly disturbing portrait of President Trump and this administration.

“Director Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the administration made statements about his firing that were ‘lies, plain and simple.’ He said that he had felt compelled to take detailed notes on all of his interactions with the President specifically because he was concerned the President would not tell the truth about those interactions.

“Additionally, Director Comey confirmed that President Trump had directly asked him for ‘loyalty’—a completely inappropriate request—and that President Trump had pressured him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn.

“It is notable that Director Comey presented his rendition of facts with great confidence, and said of the possible existence of tapes of his conversations with President Trump, ‘I hope there are tapes.’

“President Trump may want the ‘cloud’ that is hanging over him to go away, but instead, this cloud seems to be growing darker every day. The special counsel’s investigation remains critically important, and we must follow the facts wherever they lead.”

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