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Washington • U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Thursday that fired FBI Director James Comey's sworn testimony before a Senate committee validated President Donald Trump's arguments that he is not under investigation and was a win for the White House and a loss for Democrats hoping there was something more damaging that would emerge.

"It's a bad day in that we're not talking about health care or taxes or other pertinent issues — these things are a distraction — but the danger of President Trump doing something illegal or nefarious, I think, there was nothing there that would bolster those claims," said Chaffetz, the outgoing chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee who had hoped to question Comey himself.

Comey, whom Trump fired in May, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the White House told "lies, plain and simple" about him after he was let go and added that there was "no doubt" he was jettisoned because of the FBI's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties to Trump's associates.

"The endeavor to change the way the Russia investigation was conducted — that is a big deal," Comey said in a highly anticipated hearing.

Comey acknowledged that he did tell Trump, as the president has said, that he was not under investigation and did so without being specifically asked, a point that Chaffetz said backed the president's side of the story.

"It's wholly understandable President Trump would want the public to know that," Chaffetz said.

Comey's remarks were phrased in past tense, and since his ouster from the FBI, he may not know about the current, ongoing investigations.

Despite repeated questions by senators, Comey wouldn't say whether he thought the president had obstructed justice in trying to halt an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn or firing the FBI director, saying that was up to special counsel Robert Mueller, also a former FBI director.

Comey said it was clear to him that the Russia probe was why he was let go by the president.

"I know I was fired because something about the way I was conducting the Russia investigation was putting pressure on him," Comey said.

Chaffetz has requested all of Comey's memos concerning meetings with Trump, then-President Barack Obama and the attorneys general who have served since Comey was appointed in 2013. The FBI had until Thursday evening to respond to Chaffetz's request but the Oversight Committee had not received a reply.

Chaffetz said Thursday's hearing "corroborated" Trump's version of events more than it damaged him.

"There are some outstanding questions that need to be addressed," the Utah Republican said, "but overall I think this is a story without much evidence of criminal wrongdoing."

Chaffetz has resigned from Congress, effective at month's end, and Republican leaders on Thursday chose South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor, to take over the Oversight Committee. Gowdy takes over the gavel next week.

"I'm really going to have to leave that up to Trey Gowdy," Chaffetz said when asked about whether Oversight would continue investigating Comey's firing or anything related to the Russian probe.

Democrats had a much different take on Comey's testimony, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., saying that "America is stunned."

"The 'cloud' hanging over this administration has just gotten a whole lot darker," Schumer said.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Comey's testimony was "illustrative and alarming."

"His statements speak volumes, and it is imperative that the special prosecutor and Congress' intelligence committees continue their thorough investigations," Hoyer said of the multiple probes now opened into Russia's meddling and possible Trump ties. "The American people deserve the truth, and we must gain a full understanding of Russia's efforts to undermine our democracy."