Ex-FBI Boss Comey Heads To The Senate

Danny Woods
June 8, 2017

President Trump's presidency is set to face its toughest test yet Thursday, as James Comey, the former FBI Director, testifies before Congress about the conversations that led to his unceremonious firing last month.

Comey, fired by President Donald Trump last month while leading a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Russian meddling in last year's USA presidential election, was slated to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).

Lieberman is a senior counsel at the law firm that President Trump has retained to represent him in the Russian Federation investigation, which Lieberman cited as the reason for withdrawing from the FBI director search.

Comey's detailed and vivid recollections of his one-on-one conversations with Trump were revealed in seven pages of prepared testimony released Wednesday, the day before his much-anticipated appearance before the Senate intelligence committee. Mr. Comey makes it clear how uncomfortable the President made him feel, how it was clear Mr. Trump did not appreciate the independence an Federal Bureau of Investigation director is supposed to have.

Here are his full prepared remarks, annotated by NPR journalists.

But Trump's tweeting will have to take place between talks at a religious conference, though, since he's attending the Faith & Freedom Coalition and is supposed to give a speech at around the same time as Comey's hearing.

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

Comey's statement avoided legal conclusions, generally providing "the most benign. interpretation" of Trump's words, as UC Hastings Law Professor Hadar Aviram observed.

Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, asked about Trump's request for loyalty from Comey, said it was "very, very critical" that Federal Bureau of Investigation directors remain "independent".

So the demand among senators Thursday for Comey to elaborate on his written statement and the past accounts in the Washington Post and New York Times may prove intense.

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Trump had fired Flynn the previous day in a controversy over contacts between the retired general and the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Comey had been leading the FBI investigation into Russian hacking and influence in the 2016 presidential campaign and any possible role the Trump campaign may have played in those alleged Russian efforts.

Comey skips over Trump's exact response, but says that "based on President-elect Trump's reaction", he assures Trump that his personal conduct isn't under investigation. Some legal experts said Comey's account could bolster such a case.

"I feel the weight and responsibility of getting it right and conveying the details", she said. He asked what we could do to 'lift the cloud.' I responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn't find anything, to our having done the work well.

In that exchange, said Carpenter of SMU, "I think Trump is implicitly threatening his job if he doesn't provide loyalty".

"He's going to continue moving forward with exactly what the people of this country elected him to do".

Yet elsewhere in his statement Comey describes Trump's anxiety about the burden that larger investigation was creating for him.

According to Comey, Trump told his close advisers, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Jared Kushner, to leave the room so he could speak to Comey privately.

"FBI directors are supposed to be independent", Ryan said of the Trump-Comey interactions.

"The FBI leadership team agreed with me that it was important not to infectthe investigative team with the president's request, which we did not intend to abide", he writes.

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