Comey confirms Trump told him to drop probe on his NSA Flynn

Claudine Rigal
Juin 8, 2017

Comey said he told Trump "you will always get honesty from me".

"I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those Congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump", Comey will say Thursday. He notes that he never had any one-on-one conversations over the phone with former President Barack Obama.

-Did the president ask Comey to stop investigating his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn? Yes.

Flynn is a central figure in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. "The term - honest loyalty - had helped end a very awkward conversation and my explanations had made clear what he should expect". I said that was the way his request should be handled.

In response to news reports of Trump's request Comey drop the investigation into Flynn, administration officials wondered why Comey had not informed Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the interaction if he was so concerned about it. Comey said he did not tell Sessions because he expected the attorney general to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe, which he did two weeks later.

The Russia scandal has gripped Washington, and the city is on the edge of its seat in anticipation of Comey's first public appearance since Trump fired him last month.

Comey, in his testimony, will confirm a number of sensational news reports that have surfaced about his interactions with Trump. Network television stations will live broadcast the hearing.

The outside lawyer Marc Kasowitz said Trump is pleased that Comey - whose prepared testimony ahead of Thursday's Senate intelligence committee appearance became public Wednesday - has finally publicly confirmed that the President was not under investigation in any Russian probe.

They also came shortly after two top United States spy agency chiefs had skirted questions from the Senate panel about whether Trump asked them to intervene in the Flynn probe, as the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

In his testimony, Comey said he offered Trump an assurance that he was not under investigation during a January 6 briefing held with the President-elect at Trump Tower.

In it Comey made clear he was uncomfortable discussing an ongoing investigation with the president, even as he assured Trump that he himself was not a target of the probe.

"Comey said he told Trump he was not "'reliable' in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth". As I wrote in the memo I created immediately after the dinner, it is possible we understood the phrase "honest loyalty" differently, but I decided it wouldn't be productive to push it further. "During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower. without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance".

A few moments later, the president said, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty". Three were in person and six were on the phone. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Comey's testimony was being reviewed.

The seven-page remarks reveal in dramatic detail and with a writer's flair Comey's uneasiness with Trump, who appeared to disregard the FBI's traditional independence from the White House. "I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me", Comey said.

This fits with Trump's claim - which, oddly enough, was inserted into Comey's firing letter - that Comey had told him he was "not under investigation".

"President Trump was right", said RNC Chairwoman McDaniel.

Asked if Trump acted appropriately, Republican Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr said: "I don't think that from what I've read there's anything of wrongdoing, but I will match that with his verbal testimony, and weight it against the evidence of our investigation to date". "I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren't, and because it was very hard to prove a negative".

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