Liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews said Thursday the accusation that President Trump directly colluded with Russia to interfere in the U.S. election "came apart" following former FBI Director James Comey's testimony in front of Congress.
In his written and spoken testimony on Thursday, Comey said that he never felt that Trump had tried to impede the FBI's investigation into Russia, even that the president had encouraged it and he suggested that former national security adviser Mike Flynn wasn't at the heart of the investigation.
"The assumption of the critics of the president, of his pursuers, you might say, is that somewhere along the line in the last year is the president had something to do with colluding with the Russians … to affect the election in some way," Matthews said on MSNBC, following the testimony.
"And yet what came apart this morning was that theory," Matthews said, listing two reasons why. First, he said Comey revealed that "Flynn wasn't central to the Russian investigation," and secondly, he said that kills the idea that Flynn might have been in a position to testify against Trump.
"And if that's not the case, where's the there-there?" Matthews said.
In his testimony, Comey confirmed media reports that Trump had asked him if he could drop the FBI investigation into Flynn and that the president had asked for his "loyalty." But Comey also asserted that he had told Trump that he was not personally under any investigation and that the president had encouraged the Russia investigation, even if it implicated any of his associates.
The hearing lasted nearly three hours and was followed by additional closed testimony in the Senate.