Tuesday 21 January 2020

‘Trump demanded loyalty and denied any involvement in Russia or with Russian hookers’, Comey to tell Senate

  • Comey to give detailed statement to Senate committee
  • Ex-FBI director kept detailed memo after conversations with Trump
  • Had nine one-on-one conversations with Trump
  • Claims Trump asked him for 'loyalty' and to drop Flynn investigation
  • Trump told Comey he had 'nothing to do with Russia and was not involved with hookers'
U.S. President Donald Trump sits during a meeting with Republican Congressional leadership at the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump sits during a meeting with Republican Congressional leadership at the White House in Washington
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former FBI director James Comey has said Donald Trump asked him to ‘let go’ the investigation into Michael Flynn and said he ‘expected loyalty’.

In an extraordinary statement due to be given by ex-FBI director to the Senate Intelligence Committee details five of his private interactions with the president will be read into the public record.

Mr Comey said his nine conversations with Trump over the course of four months. This compared with two private ones he held with President Obama.

After his first private encounter with Trump Mr Comey said he immediately recorded the details in a memo, which he shared with FBI leadership.

This became his standard practise.

These are the details from each encounter Comey will discuss in the Senate.

January 6 briefing

Comey says he first met Trump on January 6 in Trump Tower in New York to brief him and others about an assessment concerning Russian efforts to interfere with the election.

At the conclusion he said he remained alone with Trump to brief him on "some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled during the assessment".

He said discussions were held ahead of the briefing as to whether Comey should be prepared to assure the then president-elect that the FBI was not investigating him personally.

"That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting...I offered that assurance".

January 27 dinner

 The pair dined alone on January 27 in the Green Room in the White House.

Comey said that during the dinner Trump asked him if he wanted to stay on as Federal Bureau of Investigation director. Comey said he became concerned that Trump was trying to create "some sort of patronage relationship."

In the statement Comey added: "That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch."

During the White House dinner he said Trump returned the "salacious material" he had previously briefed him on.

He said Trump again "expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them".

February 14 Oval Office meeting

The pair again spoke privately after a briefing in the Oval Office with security and intelligence personnel. Trump asked Comey to stay behind.

Mr Comey added that it was "very concerning" when Mr Trump asked him to back off an investigation of former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

He says Mr Trump asked him to stay behind in the Oval Office after a meeting with a larger group, and as they stood near a grandfather clock, Mr Trump described Mr Flynn as a good guy who had been through a lot.

Then the president said to Mr Comey: "I hope you can let this go."

Mr Comey said that he immediately prepared a memo documenting the February exchange, and the investigation continued.

March 30 phone call

During the call Trump called the Russian investigation "a cloud", Comey will tell the committee.

"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.

"He asked what we could d to "lift the cloud".

"I responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn't find anything, to our having done the work well. He agreed, but then re-emphasized the problems that this was causing him,” the statement reads.

The president “finished by stressing ‘the cloud” that 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,” Comey says.

April 11 phone call

This phone call consisted of the president requesting that Come “get out2 that he is not personally under investigation. This request had been passed to the Acting Deputy Attorney General Comey told him and added that the request should be made in the traditional way.

“He said he would do that and added, “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.”

Comey said he did not ask Trump to expand on what “that thing was”.

“That was the last time I spoke with President Trump ,” Comey’s statement concludes.

The prepared statement confirms some of what has already been reported publicly in the media, but the information has not previously come directly and publicly from Mr Comey.

Additional reporting by agencies

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