Comey to testify Trump pressed him for 'loyalty'
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 09, 2017,
Jun 09, 2017, 2:13
Comey said he found it very concerning that the president had asked him to drop the probe in to Flynn and so wrote an unofficial note right after their meeting in February to discuss the matter with the FBI leadership as he got the feeling Trump was trying to influence the investigation. The seven-page remarks released Wednesday reveal in dramatic detail, and with a writer's flair, Comey's uneasiness with Trump, who he believed was disregarding the FBI's traditional independence from the White House. On Thursday, Comey is expected to tell Congress that, yes, he did tell President Trump he wasn't under investigation - but that Trump also asked him not to pursue investigating Michael Flynn.
"I had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with his false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December", added Comey, who was sacked by Trump in early May. Even though the then-FBI director assured the President that he was not being investigated, Trump allegedlyasked for that to be made clear to the public.
"Comey. told President Trump he was not personally under investigation".
And Comey said he had so little faith in Trump's truthfulness that he felt compelled to document all of their conversations in writing, something he never did with Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
They also came shortly after two top United States spy agency chiefs skirted questions from the Senate panel about whether Trump asked them to intervene in the Flynn probe, as reported by The Washington Post.
In two-and-a-half hours of congressional testimony, so hotly anticipated that Washington bars opened in the morning to televise it, former prosecutor James Comey built an extraordinary case that the president is a serially dishonest man whose inappropriate interventions in investigative matters may amount to obstruction of justice. Obstruction of justice is a very hard crime to prove.
Axelrad, which hosted similar parties for debates during the 2016 presidential campaign, is opening its taps early for those who want to turn up during Thursday's hearing.
Comey's accusations could further mire Trump's administration in legal difficulties, as special counsel Robert Mueller, appointed by the Justice Department after Comey was sacked, and several congressional committees investigate alleged Russian efforts to influence the election. "He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda", Kasowitz said in a statement. At a news conference May 18, the President was asked whether he had asked the FBI director to pull the plug on the Flynn component of the Russian Federation investigation.
Bruce Green, a professor at Fordham University School of Law, said it would be hard to show Trump meant to impede the Flynn investigation.
In another part of the testimony which has already been disclosed to the public, Comey claimed Trump demanded his "loyalty".
While the choice captured headlines early in the day, it was quickly overwhelmed by the advance release of Comey's testimony. Trump supposedlydiscussed a "cloud" that he asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation director to lift. When asked to respond to Comey's account of Trump asking for loyalty, he insisted, "I'm not going to talk about hypotheticals". But he added: "Again, I take the president's words".
Then-candidate Trump excoriated Comey last summer for deciding not to prosecute Clinton over her handling of government emails, then praised him when he reopened the issue in October just days before the election.
Comey related his sense of foreboding when he was asked by Trump to remain behind after after a wider meeting of White House and national security officials in the Oval Office. They've also questioned why Comey did not raise his concerns about Trump publicly or resign.
Trump has called the investigation a "witch hunt".
"I'm not familiar with it", he said.
Trump managed to keep himself from tweeting during Comey's testimony.