WASHINGTON — President Trump began Monday as he has started so many other presidential mornings — by unleashing a blistering Twitter attack on critics who suggested his 2016 campaign colluded with the Russians.
By the afternoon the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, had systematically demolished his arguments in a remarkable public takedown of a sitting president.
Even a close ally of Mr. Trump, Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California and the House Intelligence Committee chairman, conceded that “a gray cloud” of suspicion now hung over the White House by the end of the day’s hearings.
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In midafternoon came a tweet from Mr. Trump’s official @potus account: “FBI Director Comey refuses to deny he briefed President Obama on calls made by Michael Flynn to Russia.” A dour and disapproving Mr. Comey instantly fact-checked the tweet when it was read out loud to him. “No,” he said. “It was not our intention to say that today.”