Ex-FBI chief James Comey testifies about conversations with Trump

News articles previously reported that the FBI opened an investigation into Flynn's work as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the Trump administration's transition to the White House. He cited "information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals".

"I don't know I would go that far".

"He told me repeatedly that he had talked to lots of people about me and had learned that I was doing a great job".

"I take the president at his word that I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation", Comey said. When Trump abruptly dismissed Comey last month, the president effectively freed the former director to publicly air some of the most potentially damaging information to his young presidency.

"Honestly, no. I think it was the best way to try to protect the justice institution, including the FBI", Comey said.

"Those were lies, plain and simple".

Later in the questioning, Comey said: "There should be no fuzz on this. The FBI will be fine without me". I mean, it's the President of the United States, with me alone, saying, "I hope this". "I had one one-on-one meeting with President Bush but I didn't feel with president Bush the need to document it in that way".

The White House's initial explanation for Comey's firing was his handling of the Clinton email investigation.

Comey wrote that Mr. Trump told him, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go". And the dinner was an attempt to build loyalty.

"What the president whispered in my ear was, I really look forward to working with you". "If the election were on October 27, I would be your president", Clinton said last month.

Wright said there were other damaging details in Comey's testimony, including that Comey did not document his conversations with former President Barack Obama but "felt compelled" to do so after his first conversation with Trump.

And he pointed to Trump's own public remarks to NBC that he was thinking about the Russian Federation investigation when he made a decision to fire him.

Comey also said he had a friend share one of his memos, which are unclassified, with The New York Times to help inspire the appointment of a special counsel. But, he also added, there is a question of whether the "aggregate pattern of behavior" that culminated in his firing could be seen very differently.

"At the end of this, will some people jump up and down and say there's an obstructing offense?" asks another source.

But whether a sitting president may be indicted while in office is an open question.

US TV channels cancelled scheduled programmes to air the appearance at 10am Eastern Time (3pm BST) on Thursday - which has been likened to past congressional scandals including Watergate.

Comey said that after inauguration, the president whispered in his hear that he was "really looking forward to working" with the Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

By the time he was sacked, Mr Comey had been overseeing the probe into possible coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign for months.

Comey also replied affirmatively to Burr's question about whether the special counsel "could find evidence of criminality that has not tied to the 2016 elections, possible collusion, or coordination with Russian Federation?"

  • Larry Hoffman