Comey testimony watched by an estimated 19.5 million viewers

The line at Shaw's Tavern in Washington D.C.               CBS News

Almost 20 million television viewers tuned in Thursday to watch former FBI Director James Comey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his relationship with President Trump, the Nielsen ratings service said Friday. Comey alleges Trump repeatedly pressed him for his "loyalty" and directly pushed him to "lift the cloud" of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the probe into his campaign's Russian Federation ties.

The television networks shut down their regular program flow to broadcast live the nearly three-hour-long filing of the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director regarding his multiple talks with the United States president before the Donld Trump dismissed him in May.

"An estimated 19.5 million people tuned in to watch Former FBI Director James Comey's testimony to US Congress in Washington, DC, on Thursday, June 8, 2017", Nielsen stated in the release on Friday.

Nielsen did tally ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, HLN and MSNBC.

Fox News placed first Thursday in terms of cable-news audiences, Nielsen reported. While the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January attracted some 30.6 million viewers, the audience recorded by Komei's hearing is very good for a one-day broadcast. Ratings for viewers who watched the proceedings online are also expected soon.

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