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Alex Brandon / AP

James Comey testified Thursday that President Trump told him "I need loyalty" and directed him to back off the investigation of Michael Flynn. Trump, via his lawyer, denied both of those claims.

The reactions to those comments exposed a notable split between Trump's inner circle and other high-profile Republicans, many of whom seemed to take Comey's version of events at face value.

Why it matters: As the Russia "cloud" casts a wider shadow across the Trump administration, the president will need his party to remain firmly behind him to avoid disastrous results. While the statements thus far don't indicate that Trump has lost his party, they do indicate that he doesn't have the implicit trust of many top Republicans.

Trusting Trump:
  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy press secretary: "I can definitively say the president isn't a liar."
  • Donald Trump, Jr.: "Today's Winners: @realDonaldTrump, the DOW, America/#MAGA. Losers: Comey, Loretta Lynch, #MSM but especially NYT"
  • Marc Kasowitz, Trump's personal lawyer: "The President also never told Mr. Comey, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty' in form or substance."
  • Dan Scavino, White House director of social media: "#FakeNews @NYTimes confirmed by James Comey."
  • The RNC: "James 'I could be wrong'" Comey. #ComeyHearing #BigLeagueTruth"
  • Katrina Pierson, Trump's national campaign spokesperson: "BREAKING NEWS! #FakeNews gets outed again. #FakeRussianConspiracy costing tax payers millions! #comeyhearings #ComeyDay"
Trusting Comey:
  • Sen. Richard Burr: "I'm on the record saying I trust James Comey."
  • Paul Ryan: "The president's new at this. He's new to government."
  • Chris Christie: "What you're seeing is a president who is now very publicly learning about the way people react to what he considers to be normal New York City conversation."
  • Bill O'Reilly: "That damages the President because no one knows exactly why Trump was disenchanted. The innuendo of a coverup is there."
  • Sen. James Risch: On Comey's opening statement, "This is as good as it gets, and I really appreciate that. Not only the conciseness and the clearness of it, but also the fact that you have things that were written down contemporaneously when they happened, and you actually have them in quotes, so we know exactly what happened, and we're not getting some rendition of it. You're to be complimented on it."
  • Other senators on the committee, including Marco Rubio and John McCain, seemed to be taking Comey's version of events at face value.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.