"Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI's role as an independent investigative agency".
Washington is gripped. Bars are open early, lines to get into the hearing are long, and a television station spent the morning staking out Comey's house.
Did the President's request for "loyalty", your impression that the one-on-one dinner on January 27th was "at least in part" an effort to create some sort of patronage relationship, or his March 30th phone call asking what you could do to "lift the cloud" of the Russian Federation investigation in any way alter your approach or the FBI's investigation into General Flynn, or the broader investigation into Russian Federation and possible links to the campaign?
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia asked Comey the key question: "Do you believe this rises to obstruction of justice?" "I had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December", Comey said. Comey also said he told the president that he was not the subject of an FBI investigation.
He'll testify under oath that Trump repeatedly pressed him for his "loyalty" and directly pushed him to "lift the cloud" of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the probe into his campaign's Russian Federation ties.
Former FBI Director James Comey accused the Trump administration Thursday of spreading "lies, plain and simple" about him and the FBI in the aftermath of his abrupt firing, in dramatic testimony that threatened to undermine Donald Trump's presidency.
The Senate Intelligence Committee posted Comey's explosive seven-page statement on its website Wednesday afternoon, ending speculation about what Comey would say to the panel on Thursday.
Many Democrats blame Comey for Clinton's loss, leading Trump to apparently believe they would applaud him for firing Comey last month.
In that testimony he had already disclosed that Trump demanded his "loyalty" and directly pushed him to "lift the cloud" of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the FBI probe into his campaign's Russian Federation ties.
"If what Director Comey says in his opening statement is true, if the president directly urged him to drop the investigation into [former national security adviser] Mike Flynn", host Rachel Maddow said".
"I repeatedly told him I did intend to stay and serve out the remaining six years of my term".
-Did the president ask Comey for his loyalty? Yes.
Maybe Comey has a good answer for this; he is reported to be a meticulous note-taker and case-builder, meaning he could have been gathering evidence for the right time. A Comey associate has said he obtained Mueller's permission to testify.
When asked by a committee member why he never told Trump his request was inappropriate, Comey said he was too "stunned" by their conversation to respond more forcefully.
"The president appeared to threaten him in their last phone call on April 11: "(Trump said), '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.' ...
His aides wouldn't say whether the president will offer his trademark commentary on Twitter - or instead leave the rebuttal to a rapid-response team the White House assembled to blast out push-back to Comey's assertions. John McCain, R-Ariz., have called the news reports and Comey's testimony "troubling". "I was so stunned by the conversation I just took it in".
- Comey started making notes on his meetings with Trump, the moment he left their first encounter: "I began to type it on a laptop in an Federal Bureau of Investigation vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Trump said: "'He is a good guy and has been through a lot ...
Earlier Wednesday, Trump announced that he planned to nominate Christopher Wray, a former Justice Department official, as Comey's successor. Pundits have compared the gravity of Comey's hearing to major historical events like the Army-McCarthy hearings and Anita Hill's testimony about Clarence Thomas.
4. Can senators extract more from Comey in public?
Depending on the length of Comey's testimony and the nature of the information that is revealed to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the networks may decide to move whole episodes over to their usual slots tomorrow.
After Comey was sacked, the President tweeted "James Comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"