In the room with Comey and Trump: Two alpha males face off

Claudine Rigal
Juin 8, 2017

In the testimony, the former FBI chief, who was sacked by Trump last month, said the President asked him to back off his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and asked what could be done to "lift the cloud" of the investigation.

Comey stays behind in a conference room to speak privately with Trump after intelligence officials brief the president-elect in his NY headquarters about explosive findings that the Russians tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Comey will tell the panel that in a series of meetings and phone calls, Trump demanded his loyalty and asked him to back off investigating an aide's reported ties to Russian Federation, tactics that Democrats say point to obstruction.

Trump denies that he was ever involved with "hookers in Russia" (Comey's paraphrasing) and tries to get Comey to publicly announce that Trump is not a target of the FBI's investigation.

"You have the president of the United States talking to the director of the F.B.I., not just about any criminal investigation, but one involving his presidential campaign", said Matthew S. Axelrod, an Obama administration Justice Department official, told The New York Times.

"I had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with his false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December", added Comey, who was sacked by Trump in early May.

On Feb. 14, Trump reportedly asked Sessions, Vice President Mike Pence, and other senior White House officials to leave the Oval Office so that he and Comey could have a one-on-one chat about Flynn.

Trump declared the days of spending on other nations are over: "It's time to rebuild our country" and to "put America first", he said.

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.

The conversation is odd from the start: Trump asks whether Comey wants to keep his job even though the Federal Bureau of Investigation director had twice before told Trump he wanted to stay on.

President Donald Trump is ignoring questions about James Comey's prepared testimony before the Senate Intelligence committee.

Comey said he "could be wrong" about that interpretation of Trump's comments.

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

Comey's testimony was publicly released intentionally Wednesday by the Senate intelligence committee at Comey's request, a Senate intelligence committee source said.

In the statement, Comey says he and Trump dined together privately in January. Some may attempt to divert attention from Comey's remarks about Trump by focusing on two issues they've repeatedly seized on: leaks and revealing the names of Americans in intelligence reports.

"He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn't happen", Comey wrote. "He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it". "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". Trump understood, Comey said, "but then re-emphasized the problems this was causing him".

"It would have been quite another matter to fire (Comey) if (Comey) had said, 'Yes, you are under investigation, ' " said Rep. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Republican leadership team. Trump then said in a subsequent interview that he had fired Comey because of how the Russian Federation investigation is being handled.

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