James Comey’s full testimony released ahead of tomorrow’s hearing

Ahead of tomorrow’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI Director James Comey and the Senate Intelligence Committee have released the transcript of his remarks.

His full testimony, which is viewable at this link, details memos that Comey kept after meetings and phone calls with the president. There are three meetings and six phone calls detailed in his testimony.

Testimony includes a January 27 dinner with President Donald Trump in which Trump asked repeatedly for “loyalty,” as well as a March 30 call in which Trump asked Comey what could be done to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation, and a request to “letting this go” with respect to the investigation of Michael Flynn, “a good guy” who “has been through a lot.”

Comey says the one-on-one nature of the January 2y dinner implied that “the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship.”

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The conversation allegedly began after Trump asked Comey about his future as FBI Director, and whether he wanted to stay on. Comey allegedly told the President that he loved his work and planned to stay on for the ten-year term.

He also told President Donald Trump that he was not “reliable” in the political sense of the word, but that he was honest.

Comey’s testimony then says that Trump told him “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” Comey then says the two looked at each other in silence, and that they returned to the subject later in the dinner.

“I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.”

When Trump returned to Comey’s “loyalty,” Comey responded again that he’d provide honesty.

“That’s what I want, honest loyalty,” President Trump allegedly said.

They agreed on that.

In closing his notes on the dinner, Comey writes:

“It is possible we understood the phrase ‘honest loyalty’ differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further […] The term – honest loyalty – had helped end a very awkward conversation and my explanations had made clear what he should expect.”

Comey first met President Donald Trump in his capacity as FBI Director, in a meeting that he says took place on January 6 at Trump Tower in New York City. There, he says he met with Trump and others in the American intelligence community.

After the briefing, Comey says he “remained alone with the President-Elect to brief him on some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled” during an assessment of “Russian efforts to interfere in the election,”  including the mostly unverified “dossier” of opposition research that would be published by Buzzfeed on January 10.

Comey writes that he believed two things were important in his first meeting with then-President-Elect Trump: notifying Trump of the existence of the infamous “dossier” compiled by former British intelligence official Christopher Steele and assuring him that he was not personally under counter-intelligence investigation, so as to avoid embarrassing Trump and/or catching him off-guard.

Trump would later reportedly ask Comey to investigate the dossier in an effort “to prove it didn’t happen” and was adamant that he “had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia.” This is a direct quote from Comey’s testimony.

Trump would allegedly ask Comey to back off from investigating Michael Flynn’s undisclosed meetings with Russians just days after he’d been fired by the Administration, in a meeting Comey says took place on February 14.

“The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, ‘He is a good guy and has been through a lot.’ He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.’ I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.’ (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would ‘let this go.'”

Comey’s full testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee can be viewed and read here. He is scheduled to testify starting at 10:00am EST on June 7, 2017.

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