WASHINGTON (AP) — In a hugely anticipated hearing, fired FBI director James Comey will recount a series of conversations with President Donald Trump that he says made him deeply uneasy and concerned about the blurring of boundaries between the White House and a law enforcement agency that prides itself on independence.
The testimony, Comey’s first public statements since his May 9 dismissal, is likely to bring hours of uncomfortable attention to an administration shadowed for months by an investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
His account of demands for loyalty from the president, and of requests to end an investigation into an embattled adviser, are likely to sharpen allegations that Trump improperly sought to influence the FBI-led probe.
Comey’s detailed and vivid recollections of his one-on-one conversations with Trump were revealed in seven pages of prepared testimony released Wednesday, the day before his appearance before the Senate intelligence committee.
He will 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 Russia ties.
His remarks paint a picture of an FBI director so disconcerted by his interactions with the president that he began keeping written memos of their private discussions, including one he hastened to type out in an FBI vehicle immediately after a Trump Tower meeting.
He’ll tell lawmakers he believed the president was trying to create a “patronage relationship” with him and describe in detail an Oval Office meeting in which Trump urged him not to investigate ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials.