The 5 biggest moments from James Comey’s Senate testimony
Former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, delivering his first public remarks since he was fired by President Trump early last month. Comey cast a harsh light on his interactions with Trump, which he differentiated from his communications with former President Barack Obama. He discussed the president’s demand for “loyalty,” getting pressure to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Trump’s criticism of Comey and the FBI after his firing.
Here are the highlights:
Comey on Trump’s “lies, plain and simple”
Comey hit the ground running with his opening statement, taking issue with Trump’s explanation for his firing, and describing the administration’s claims of an FBI in disarray as “lies, plain and simple.”
Comey: I was concerned Trump “might lie”
Here’s Comey’s answer to committee chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, on why he felt compelled to document his conversations with Trump:
Comey: “I was fired because of the Russia investigation”
The ex-FBI director said he believed he was fired “in some way to change … the way the Russia investigation was being conducted” and that, given the necessity of independence of FBI investigations, it was a “very big deal.”
Comey: “Lordy, I hope there are tapes”
Comey recalled Trump’s now-infamous tweet threatening the existence of tapes of their conversations:
Comey leaked his own memo hoping to spur special counsel appointment
Comey revealed that after Trump tweeted about the possible existence of tapes, he asked a “close friend” to leak contents of one of his memos to a reporter in the wake of his firing. The close friend was later confirmed to be Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman. Comey added that he hoped the leak would spur the appointment of special counsel.
Comey: FBI knew facts that would make Sessions’ involvement in Russia probe “problematic”
At one point in the hearing, Comey said that he and the FBI leadership knew that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was about to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, which he did on March 2. But Comey said he also was aware of facts that would make Sessions’ involvement in the Russia investigation “problematic,” a hint that there may be more revelations to come.