Things to know about James Comey’s testimony
Assurances to an incoming president that he was not under federal investigation. A president’s unprecedented request for loyalty from an FBI director. A “very concerning” request from the president to end an investigation into a devoted presidential appointee. Lawmakers hungry for answers and frustrated by the reticence of national-security executives to provide them.
It’s been a month of extraordinary drama since President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, rife with leaked details of private memos detailing awkward interactions with the president and the rare appointment of a special counsel to alleviate concerns of White House interference in an ongoing investigation.
A day before Comey’s much-anticipated testimony before the Senate intelligence committee, the former FBI director’s prepared remarks were officially released, bringing into public view new details in the Trump-Comey saga.
Today’s testimony before the Senate intelligence committee is expected to be his most dramatic yet.
The official release of Comey’s remarks on Wednesday afternoon came shortly after the conclusion of testimony from Comey’s former national-security peers who refused to answer senators’ questions about their own interactions with Trump. There have been reports that the president tried to pressure NSA Director Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to publicly push back on the investigation.
The former director’s prepared remarks answered many of the looming questions:
Did the president ask Comey for his loyalty? Yes. “I didn’t move, speak or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed,” Comey said in his written testimony.
Did the president ask Comey to stop investigating his former national-security adviser, Michael Flynn? Yes. “I had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December,” Comey said.
How often did Trump and Comey communicate with each other before he was fired? Nine times, Comey said. “Three in person and six on the phone.”
After one of these encounters, did Comey actually tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he did not want to meet with the president alone again? Yes. “I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me,” Comey said.