James Comey testimony: What will former Federal Bureau of Investigation director tell Congress?

The California newspaper dedicated a large portion of its front page to Comey's prepared written testimony, released released earlier Wednesday, in which Comey confirmed President Donald Trump had asked him for "loyalty " and asked Comey to drop the FBI's investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Comey did not say whether he thought the president's actions amounted to obstructing the investigation - an issue lawmakers are expected to highlight Thursday in their questions. Apparently, Comey's testimony doesn't worry him. Nine times, Comey said.

According to Comey, he and then-President-elect Trump met in person for the first time on January 6, 2017, at Trump Tower in NY.

Although several senior White House aides have been identified as being under investigation for their links to Moscow, there has never been any suggestion that Mr Trump was personally involved in any compromising collusion with the Russians. "James Comey has the quiet confidence and a track record of knowing how to dominate, how to direct the story", said Karen Greenberg, the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University.

It was after this that Comey chose to begin documenting his conversations with the president, despite it not being his practice before.

Comey does not detail every conversation he and Trump had - why not, and what did he omit from his statement? However, there were only two phone calls and three in-person meetings mentioned in his report.

The first meeting with Trump after the inauguration occurred on January 27, during a private dinner at the White House that Comey came to view as an attempt by the president to "create some sort of patronage relationship".

It was during this part of the conversation that Trump allegedly said, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty".

His account of demands for loyalty from the president, and of requests to end an investigation into an embattled adviser, are likely to sharpen allegations that Trump improperly sought to influence the FBI-led probe.

When the details of this dinner was first reported, the White House disputed the details of this conversation.

"He trusts his conscience and he's not afraid to stand up to people who he thinks are wrong", she said.

Comey also describes at length a February 14 meeting in the Oval Office in which he believed Trump asked him to back off an investigation into Flynn.

That's among the talking points the RNC is providing to Trump backers ahead of Comey's testimony on Capitol Hill Thursday.

"He then said, 'I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go".

In a bombshell revelation on the eve of his hotly anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill, Comey said Trump had raised the sensitive Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the USA election in multiple discussions, leaving him deeply uneasy over whether the president was attempting to interfere.

In the phone call, Trump asked why there had been a congressional hearing about the Russian Federation probe.

United States bars are offering US$5 (S$6.90) Russian vodka drinks, "impeachmint" cocktails and free drinks with every presidential tweet to draw crowds on Thursday to watch fired FBI Director James Comey's televised testimony to Congress. He supposedly stressed that he had been "very loyal to you, very loyal", to Comey. "During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President Elect Trump's reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance".

  • Larry Hoffman