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James Comey on Trump: 'I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting'

Comey was testifying today before the US Senate.

Source: Vox/YouTube

FORMER FBI DIRECTOR James Comey has begun his strong testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Under questioning about the nature of his meetings with US president Donald Trump.

Comey said:

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting.”

Comey said he chose to write notes on each of their eight meetings as he felt he would need a record.

“I knew that there might come a day when I needed a record of what happened, not just to defend myself but to defend the FBI,” said Comey.

In one of their conversations, Comey said that Trump dismissed Jared Kushner and the attorney general before he brought up the investigation into the Russian ties of ex-national security advisor Michael Flynn.

In his opening statement released yesterday, Comey said that Trump said to him:

I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy.

Under questioning, Comey said that Trump did not explicitly direct him to drop the investigation into Flynn.

However, he said he took it to mean a direction for him to drop the investigation.

When questioned over why someone should believe his testimony over Trump and the White House’s, Comey said:

Why would he kick so many other people out of the office?

When asked why he did not immediately tell the president that “it was wrong” for him to request that, Comey said:

I was so stunned … I just took it in

When questioned over whether Trump’s potential recordings of their conversations, Comey said:

Lordy, I hope there are tapes.

Comey said he asked a friend to leak the contents of his memo about meetings with Trump.

He said that he felt that releasing the details of his private conversations with the president might prompt the appointment of a special counsel in the case.

He said he made the decision after Trump tweeted that he had the tapes.

Comey says the contents of the memo were released to a reporter by a close friend of his who is a professor at Columbia law school.

Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz plans to make a statement following the congressional testimony of Comey.

In his brief opening marks, Comey said that he had no doubt about Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Comey Source: Andrew Harnik

He also said that the White House had chosen to defame him after he was abruptly fired.

Comey said he believed he was fired over the Russia investigation and that he felt that was a “big deal”.

Comey made the statements as he testified today before a public session of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He had already released his opening statement last night, and did not repeat it today. But he made a number of brief remarks.

In these remarks, Comey said the “shifting explanations” around why he was fired “confused me and increasingly concerned me”.

Comey said the White House chose to defame him and the FBI following these. He apologised to his former colleagues that he never got to say goodbye to them.

He was abruptly fired last month.

Tweets 

In relation to Comey’s testimony, Donald Trump’s son – Donald Trump Jr – has been tweeting fiercely in opposition.

Questioned

In response to questioning, Comey talked about the Russia investigation while he was head of the FBI.

He said he first became aware of Russian cyber interference in the US, in “late summer 2015.”

“There was a massive effort,” he said.

In relation to meetings with Trump, Comey said he felt that Trump was “looking for something” for “granting my request” to stay as FBI director.

In his opening statement last night, Comey said that he had eight one-on-one conversations with President Trump in his time as FBI director.

In these conversations, Comey said that Trump had asked him to drop an investigation into former US national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Trump Russia Probe Source: Alex Brandon

Trump also asked Comey for his “loyalty” and to “lift the cloud” of the FBI Russia investigation. Comey told Trump a number of times that he wasn’t under direct investigation by the FBI.

Opening the hearing, Richard Burr, the chairman, Republican senator from North Carolina, said he looked forward to hearing Comey’s testimony.

He said he “very much appreciates” Comey’s candor.

Burr asked Comey to clarify a number of issues in relation to his conversations with Trump.

Vice-chair Mark Warner said the committee was there today “because a foreign adversary attacked us right here at home”.

He said it was important to determine what role Russia had in the 2016 presidential election.

“This is not a witch hunt. This is not fake news.”

Read: Fired FBI director James Comey says Trump urged him to drop investigation into Russia ties of former advisor

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About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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