James Comey testimony: Trump asked me to let Flynn investigation go

Owen Stevens
June 8, 2017

It was the last time they spoke.

Trump's personal lawyer said Trump was cheered by the testimony. "He said that was what he would do and the call ended". It's possible. But against this backdrop it would seem odd that Flynn would be the one Trump aide whom the president seems to be unwilling to toss under the bus when it made sense to, politically speaking.

However, the Republican president will seize on Mr Comey's vindication of Mr Trump's assertion that he himself was not under scrutiny.

He says: "The President feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda". There have been reports that the president tried to pressure NSA Director Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to publicly push back on the investigation.

Comey will discuss on Thursday five private conversations he had with the president in a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Comey said that once before Trump's inauguration, and again at the January dinner, he assured the president that he was not personally under investigation.

Getting ready for Comey: A primer.

Pence traveled to the Johnson Space Center in Houston to speak at a ceremony for the newest class of astronauts.

"It shows the president was doing everything he could to shut down the Flynn investigation", said Andrew Wright, a professor of criminal law at Savannah Law School.

Turley says in an email that "the comments are grossly inappropriate", but that "we do not indict people for being boorish or clueless".

Below is Comey's opening statement to the Senate committee.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET.

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Trump walked across the South Lawn and made a beeline for a group of tourists who cheered as he exited the helicopter. He then went to the Oval Office.

The president had traveled to Cincinnati to talk about upgrading inland waterways, part of his proposal for rebuilding the nation's infrastructure.

Comey's prepared testimony does not full answer that question, though he does say he asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to help prevent him having any direct communication with the president in the future.

According to Comey's statement, Trump then said something bewildering: "Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know". We have now learned that Comey isn't the only top official whom Trump approached in an effort to free Flynn from his investigation.

"He said 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's prepared statement says.

Comey, who is used to not answering lawmakers' questions about ongoing investigations, is not likely to say anything Thursday that could interfere with, or undercut, the ongoing federal investigation into Russian Federation ties. In that conversation, Comey warned the president-elect of a dossier that was circulating with unsubstantiated allegations against him and his advisers. "I did not say I would 'let this go"'. "I hope you can let this go", Trump said, according to the Comey memo several of his associates shared with reporters.

Comey's statement came hours after two top United States spy agency chiefs skirted questions from the Senate panel about whether the president also "asked" them to intervene in the Flynn probe, while saying they never felt pressured to do so. Comey describes at length a February 14 meeting in the Oval Office in which he believed Trump asked him to drop any investigation of fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.

Mr Comey will say Mr Trump told him: "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go". And the investigation continued. "I expect loyalty" during an "awkward" conversation at a January dinner at the White House, according to The Associated Press.

That Trump and Comey had nine one-on-one conversations in the space of just over three months - as opposed to the two one-on-one chats Comey had with Obama in eight years - is hugely telling. The President returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay...

I replied that I loved my work and meant to stay and serve out my 10-year term as director.

But overall, Comey's testimony portrays Trump as a domineering chief executive who made his Federal Bureau of Investigation director deeply uncomfortable over the course of nine separate private conversations, beginning with their first meeting in early January before Trump was sworn into office.

Other reports by VgToday

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