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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

Colin Powell, former secretary of state, dies from COVID complications at 84

Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. Secretary of State, died from complications of the coronavirus, his family announced Monday. He was 84.

What they're saying: "He was fully vaccinated," the Powell family said. "We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment."

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP senator calls for senility test for aging leaders

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, told me during an "Axios on HBO" interview that he favors cognition tests for aging leaders of all three branches of government.

Why it matters: Wisdom comes with age. But science also shows that we lose something. And much of the world is now run by old people — including President Biden, 78 ... Speaker Pelosi, 81 ...  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70 ... and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO blames predecessors for manufacturing woes

Axios on HBO

When it comes to Intel's recent manufacturing problems, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger places the blame squarely on his predecessors — many of whom he notes were not engineers deeply steeped in chip technology, as he is.

Why it matters: Gelsinger has announced a broad plan to reinvigorate Intel by doubling down on manufacturing. However, the strategy depends on the venerable semiconductor giant recovering from recent stumbles.