Comey statement: Trump expected 'loyalty,' called Russia 'a cloud' that impaired ability

Former FBI Director James Comey will say in his opening statement to a congressional hearing that President Donald Trump told him, "I need loyalty".

It was during that conversation that Comey said the president asked him what could be done to "lift the cloud" of investigation that was damaging his administration.

"Director Comey's statement reconfirmed what the president has been saying all along - he was never under investigation", Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna RomneyMcDaniel said shortly after the Senate Intelligence Committee released Comey's testimony.

He will also describe a March 30 phone call during which the president prodded him to do something about the Russian Federation investigation and clearing him from suspicion of involvement. Collins said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" that she wants to hear from Comey about Trump's contention in a letter announcing his firing that Comey had informed Trump three times that he wasn't a subject of the investigation. "I expect loyalty" during a January dinner.

Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee starting at 10:00 a.m. ET on Thursday in one of the most highly-anticipated events on Capitol Hill in years. His prepared statement was released Wednesday afternoon. The lengthy prepared testimony backs up, in Comey's own words, a series of news reports since Trump fired him last month - that his interactions with Trump left him uncomfortable and he asked Attorney General Sessions not to be left alone with him, that certain requests caused him to fear for the FBI's independence amid an investigation into possible connections between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, and that he demurred when asked to pledge his loyalty.

Mr Trump asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation director during the discussion in the Green Room whether he wanted to stay in his job, Mr Comey will testify. Trump had initially cited Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server during the campaign as the reason he fired Comey, but he acknowledged just two days later in an interview with NBC News that the Russian Federation investigation was a factor. Intelligence committee members wanted to know about news reports claiming Trump had asked Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Adm. Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, to publicly state that there was no evidence of collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Comey describes nine one-on-one conversations with Trump in four months.

"You're going to see a different Jim Comey", Judge Napolitano said on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday.

Among the encounters Comey describes is a January 27 dinner at the White House that he viewed as an attempt by the president to "create some sort of patronage relationship".

Comey said his practice of keeping written meeting records began after his encounter with Trump before the inauguration.

But Matt Schlapp, Chairman of the American Conservative Union played down the impact of Comey's testimony.

  • Zachary Reyes