Fired FBI Director James Comey plans to testify today that President Donald Trump pressed him for “loyalty” and tried to get him to shut down an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn‘s ties to Russia.
But he’ll also say part-time Palm Beach resident Trump wasn’t personally the target of an investigation.
Comey is scheduled to read his prepared testimony for the Senate Intelligence Committee — then face questions from Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and other committee members — beginning at 10 a.m.
Trump’s schedule today includes a lunchtime speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a 3:30 p.m. “infrastructure summit” with governors and mayors. So the president could have plenty of opportunities to watch Comey and offer commentary on his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account.
Comey says in his 7-page remarks that he felt Trump was making “an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship” and that he was uncomfortable with Trump’s requests for one-on-one meetings and conversations.
But Comey also says he didn’t interpret Trump’s Flynn request as an effort to end “the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign.”
And Comey confirms Trump’s claim that the FBI director assured him three times that Trump wasn’t personally under investigation.
By Comey’s account, those assurances came on Jan. 6, Jan. 27 and March 30..
The private assurances weren’t enough for the president. Comey says Trump wanted him to lift the Russian “cloud” over his presidency by declaring publicly that Trump was not personally the target of an investigation.
“I did not tell the President that the FBI and the Department of Justice had been reluctant to make public statements that we did not have an open case on President Trump for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change,” Comey’s testimony says.
Trump’s critics say Comey’s testimony shows the president tried to interfere with the Russia investigation and compromise the independence of the FBI.
But the president’s personal lawyer was claiming victory Wednesday.
“The president is pleased that Mr. Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the president was not under investigation in any Russian probe,” said a statement from attorney Mark Kasowitz. “The president feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda.”