Comey details ‘concerning’ meetings with Trump in prepared statement

Former FBI Director James Comey on Thursday will confirm in vivid detail President Donald Trump‘s reported attempts to influence the Bureau’s investigation into his former national security adviser and demands for loyalty, according to Comey’s prepared remarks released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

Comey is set to testify before the committee on Thursday morning, where he will make his first public statements since Trump fired him on May 9.

In his prepared statement, Comey details several one-on-one conversations he had with Trump. In total, Comey says, he had three in-person conversations and six that took place over the phone.

During a dinner at the White House on Jan. 27, Comey says he told Trump that he “was not ‘reliable’ in the way politicians use the word but that he could always count on me to tell him the truth.”

“A few moments later, the president said, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,’” Comey writes. “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.”

In a private meeting with Trump in the Oval Office on Feb. 14, Comey says Trump requested that the FBI drop their investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who had resigned the previous day after reports revealed he had misled Vice President Mike Pence regarding his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

Comey writes in his statement:

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 continues, saying he interpreted Trump’s remarks to be the president “requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December.” Comey adds that he did not believe Trump was attempting to influence the “broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign.”

“I could be wrong, but I took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn’s departure and the controversy around his account of his phone calls,” Comey continues. “Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency.”

On March 30, Comey says, Trump called him to discuss the Russia investigation, which the president allegedly described as a “cloud.” Trump also, according to Comey, addressed allegations in an unconfirmed dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent that detailed various dirt Russia may hold over the president. Trump allegedly asserted to Comey during the call 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.”

Comey also claims that Trump on multiple occasions asked him whether he was personally under FBI investigation, confirming the president’s claim that Comey reassured him that he was not under investigation.

Read Comey’s full prepared remarks below:

Andrew Couts

Andrew Couts

Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.