Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], June 8 : Former FBI director James Comey is all set to appear before the Senate Select Committe on Intelligence on Thursday, wherein he will say that President Donald Trump asked him about the former national security advisor Michael Flynn and to "see your way clear to letting this go," according to a copy of his opening remarks posted online.
According to CNN, Comey's testimony was publically released intentionally a day before the actual by the Senate intelligence committee at Comey's request, a Senate intelligence committee source said.
Comey, in his testimony, says that he spoke privately with Trump nine times and took detailed notes of his encounters in declassified memos.
In his written statement, Comey describes a March 30 phone call where he said that Trump stressed "the cloud of the Russia investigations was interfering with his ability to make deals for the country and said he hoped I could find a way to get out that he wasn't being investigated." But Comey determined it would be "bad to publically state Trump was not under investigation, because if that changed and Trump became a subject of the probe, he would have to say so in public." Comey then goes on to elaborate upon what Trump told him during their first dinner in January.
"The President began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI Director, which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to," Comey says in the statement.
"I added that I was not on anybody's side politically and could not be counted on in the traditional political sense, a stance I said was in his best interest as the President." "A few moments later, the President said, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.' 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," he adds. "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.
The term -- honest loyalty -- had helped end a very awkward conversation and my explanations had made clear what he should expect." "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.'" The President signalled the end of the briefing by thanking the group and telling them all that he wanted to speak to me alone.
I stayed in my chair. As the participants started to leave the Oval Office, the Attorney General lingered by my chair, but the President thanked him and said he wanted to speak only with me.
The last person to leave was Jared Kushner, who also stood by my chair and exchanged pleasantries with me.
The President then excused him, saying he wanted to speak with me, Comey states. He adds, "When the door by the grandfather clock closed, and we were alone, the President began by saying, 'I want to talk about Mike Flynn.' Flynn had resigned the previous day.
The President began by saying Flynn hadn't done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but he had to let him go because he had misled the Vice President.
He added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify." "The President then made a long series of comments about the problem with leaks of classified information -- a concern I shared and still share.
After he had spoken for a few minutes about leaks, Reince Priebus leaned in through the door by the grandfather clock and I could see a group of people waiting behind him.
The President waved at him to close the door, saying he would be done shortly. The door closed. 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,'" he says further.
"The President returned briefly to the problem of leaks. I then got up and left out the door by the grandfather clock, making my way through the large group of people waiting there, including Mr.
Priebus and the Vice President." Comey then talks about an April 11 morning phone call, "where Trump had called him and asked what he had done about his request that I 'get out' that he is not personally under investigation." "I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back.
He replied that the cloud was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. He said that perhaps he would have his people reach out to the Acting Deputy Attorney General. I said that was the way his request should be handled. I said the White House Counsel should contact the leadership of DOJ to make the request, which was the traditional channel." "He said he would do that and added, "Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know." I did not reply or ask him what he meant by 'that thing.' I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General.
He said that was what he would do and the call ended. That was the last time I spoke with President Trump," he concluded..