Former White House adviser David Gergen said that Wednesday's release of former FBI Director James Comey's congressional testimony "did do a couple of favors for the White House."
"Very importantly, he released this early," Gergen – who served Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton – told Erin Burnett on CNN.
Comey asked the Senate Intelligence Committee to make the statement public – and the panel posted the seven-page document on its website.
He is testifying before the panel on Thursday.
"There have been leaks," Gergen explained. "But the fact there has been some leaks takes some of the bombshell quality out of this.
"This confirms a lot of what has been said."
He also noted that Comey said that he told Trump three times that he was personally not under investigation for any alleged Moscow ties.
"That's important," Gergen said. "But I think the fact that his gut instinct right from the beginning was that: 'I can't trust this guy. He's trying to use me. This sounds fishy."
In the remarks, Comey said that "I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo," referring to a Jan. 6 meeting with Trump in New York.
"Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward," Comey later said. "This had not been my practice in the past."
The former FBI director also noted that his "instincts" during a private dinner with Trump on Jan. 27, when the president sought the loyalty pledge, led him to conclude that it was "at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship.
"That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch," Comey said.
"It shows a clear pattern of interfering with the investigation," Gergen told Burnett. "Other lawyers may dispute the question of obstruction, but it's a clear pattern."
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