[LIVE STREAM] Former FBI Director James Comey's remarks, annotated

Andrew Cummings
June 9, 2017

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his interactions with President Trump in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the USA presidential election.

But after Trump made statements to the press that Comey's poor handling of the Russian investigation was behind the firing - and Trump administration spokespeople attacked his stewardship of the FBI - Comey chose to challenge him. "I expect loyalty." At their next one-on-one meeting, held in the Oval Office the day after Trump fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump allegedly pressured Comey to drop the FBI's investigation into Flynn.

The AP reported right before the hearing that an unnamed source said Trump "disputes" Comey's claim that the president asked him for loyalty.

The White House's stated reasons for firing Comey were contradicted by the president himself, raising questions about whether Trump had fired Comey to derail the Russian Federation investigation.

BARS in the United States are opening early today so drinkers can watch James Comey testify about links between team Trump and Russian Federation in a TV "event" being dubbed the Political Superbowl.

Warner goes onto say that Russian cyber attacks were meant to "hijack our most important democratic process: our presidential election".

The first (and only) comment from Trump's newly appointed spokesman and lawyer on all things involving Russia, Marc Kasowitz, hammered home that they feel "totally vindicated". "He is eager to move forward with his agenda".

On May 19, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced Comey would testify before lawmakers. But their counterparts on the House Russia investigation clearly thought the testimony could prove obstruction of justice by Trump.

The president, who often spends hours watching the news alone, will monitor the testimony as time allows in a White House dining room with his legal team and his closest advisers by his side, two aides said.

"Wray. seems to fit the bill for an independent prosecutor career professional type", Ryan said.

The ex-FBI director's testimony recounts his conversations with the apparent precision of a veteran lawman. He also says he did not keep written memos of his interactions with Obama.

Comey gets a midday phone call from now-President Trump inviting him to dinner at the White House that night.

Comey is part of a group giving Trump a counter-terrorism briefing, but the president asks him to stay behind at the end. "I have been very loyal to you, very loyal", Comey says Trump told him, adding cryptically: "We had that thing you know". He is a good guy.

Comey offers only that Flynn is a "good guy". Asked whether the president stood by earlier assertions that he had neither sought Comey's loyalty nor asked for the Flynn investigation to be dropped, she said: "I can't imagine the president not standing by his own statement".

Trump announced on Twitter his plans to nominate Christopher A. Wray, the former assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's criminal division, to be the next Federal Bureau of Investigation director. But senators are still anxious to hear directly from Comey and to question him about details of his conversations with Trump and why he kept those details quiet for months.

Comey faced criticism for his detailed discussion of a case that ended without criminal charges.

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, Trump was acutely aware of the political toll of the investigation, complaining that the probe had left a "cloud" that was "impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country". He said, "I wish him luck". Trump seemed particularly concerned about the alleged piss tape and denied that he had been "involved with hookers in Russian Federation".

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