NewsPublic Affairs / June 8, 2017

Watch: Comey Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday morning. Senate intelligence committee, James Comey2017-06-08T00:00:00-04:00

Associated Press

The Latest on developments involving fired FBI Director James Comey (all times EDT):

10:50 a.m.

Former FBI director James Comey says he thought during a January dinner with President Donald Trump that the president was "looking to get something" in exchange for allowing him to stay on as FBI director.

Comey is describing his views that the president was trying to create a type of "patronage relationship" at the start of the Trump administration.

The ousted FBI head is testifying that the president told him before the dinner he hoped he would stay as director.

Comey says law enforcement leaders aren't "supposed to be peeking out to see whether your patron is pleased or not with what you're doing."

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10:40 a.m.

Former FBI Director James Comey says he was concerned Donald Trump would "lie" about the nature of his first conversation with him.

Comey says Trump's behavior was new to him and led him to think, "I gotta write it down and I gotta write it down in a very detailed way."

During the meeting, Trump asked if he personally was under investigation. Comey says he told him he was not at that time.

Trump fired Comey in May. At the time, Comey was leading an investigation into Russia's election meddling and ties with the Trump campaign.

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10:35 a.m.

Former FBI Director James Comey says that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch urged him to refer to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails a "matter" instead of an "investigation."

Comey says in his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that he was confused by the request and it was one of the reasons he felt the need to publicly announce his findings in the Clinton email case.

Comey says the other major factor was Lynch's meeting with former President Bill Clinton on the tarmac of an Arizona airport. Comey says he had to announce his findings to protect the credibility of the FBI and the Justice Department.

10:25 a.m.

James Comey says President Donald Trump's administration spread "lies, plain and simple" and "defamed" him and the FBI.

The former FBI director opened his Senate testimony Thursday by stating that the administration's explanations for his firing confused and concerned him. He didn't say what the lies were.

The ousted FBI director says at the start of his high-profile Senate hearing that President Donald Trump had repeatedly told him he was doing a great job. Comey says he told the president he planned to serve out his full 10-year term.

Comey is testifying before the Senate intelligence committee. His remarks are his first public statements since his firing on May 9, which came as he was leading an FBI investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

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10:20 a.m.

Former FBI director James Comey says that shifting explanations of his firing confused and concerned him.

The ousted FBI director says at the start of his high-profile Senate hearing that President Donald Trump had repeatedly told him he was doing a great job. Comey says he told the president he planned to serve out his full 10-year term.

Comey says he was "confused" by the explanation that his decisions during the 2016 election was the reason he was fired by Trump.

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10:18 a.m.

Former FBI Director James Comey has begun his much-anticipated congressional testimony under oath.

Comey is expected to recount a series of interactions with President Donald Trump in the weeks before his firing that he will say made him uncomfortable.

Those include a January dinner in which he says Trump asked him for his loyalty, and a White House conversation weeks later in which he says Trump asked him to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey is testifying before the Senate intelligence committee. His remarks are his first public statements since his firing on May 9, which came as he was leading an FBI investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

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10:15 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner says President Donald Trump's pressuring of former FBI Director James Comey and other government officials to downplay the Russia investigation is inappropriate.

Warner says it's not "how a president of the United States behaves."

Warner, of Virginia, is the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee. The panel is hosting Comey for his first public account of his interactions with the president before he was dramatically fired.

In his prepared opening remarks, Comey describes a series of uncomfortable interactions with the president.

10:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump will dispute key parts of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony.

That's according to a person close to the president's legal team.

The person says the president disputes Comey's claim that he asked him for loyalty. Trump also disputes Comey's account of a conversation about the investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.

The person demanded anonymity because the person is not authorized to be named in a discussion about legal strategy.

—Julie Bykowicz

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10:00 a.m.

Former FBI Director James Comey has arrived in a Senate hearing room where he will deliver long-awaited testimony about his dramatic firing.

Senators will ask Comey about his interactions with President Donald Trump before he was fired in May.

Comey says he had a series of uncomfortable conversations with Trump. He says Trump asked him for a pledge of loyalty and pushed him to "lift the cloud" of the Russia investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the probe into his campaign's ties with Moscow.

Comey's remarks are his first since he was fired.

___

9:52 a.m.

President Donald Trump's outside counsel Marc Kasowitz will be at the White House Thursday to monitor fired FBI Director James Comey's testimony to Congress.

The president is expected to watch some of Comey's remarks to lawmakers. His public schedule is largely clear until the afternoon.

Kasowitz is a longtime Trump lawyer. He was recently tapped to handle all inquiries related to the investigations into possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russia — a move intended to distance the White House from the FBI and congressional probes.

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7:30 a.m.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee says former FBI director James Comey's account of his conversations with the president about the Russia investigation are "disturbing."

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia will emphasize at Thursday's committee hearing that the American people need to realize that what happened was that a president asked an FBI director to drop an ongoing investigation into a former national security adviser.

Warner released excerpts of his opening remarks to the committee early Thursday ahead of the hearing.

Warner says that in violation of clear guidelines put in place after Watergate to prevent any whiff of political interference by the White House in FBI investigations, President Donald Trump also called Comey twice to ask him to lift the cloud of the Russia investigation over his White House.

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6:45 a.m.

A Senate Democrat is cautioning members of Congress against asserting too hastily that President Donald Trump has engaged in acts that could constitute obstruction of justice in the investigation of Russian meddling in last year's election.

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware says, "I think we have to be careful about making legal conclusions" and argues that lawmakers should not be "getting in the way" of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

But Coons also tells MSNBC in an interview, hours before fired FBI Director James Comey's Capitol Hill appearance, that he believes Trump's words and deeds go "right up to the line" of legality. The senator adds that statements about the Russia probe attributed to Trump by Comey raise the question of whether the president's actions "meet the legal standard for obstruction of justice."

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6:05 a.m.

The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee says former FBI Director James Comey's testimony on President Donald Trump's conduct "is certainly evidence of interference or obstruction."

Comey is testifying Thursday that Trump urged him to back off from his investigation into Michael Flynn's contacts with Russians. Comey's written statement released ahead of his testimony said Trump had described the Russia investigation as a "cloud" that was interfering with his job. Comey is testifying that he gave Trump no such assurance. Trump fired him last month.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, made his assessment Wednesday in an interview with The Washington Post. Schiff added that even if Trump's actions met the legal test for obstruction, in practical terms it was less likely that the Republican-controlled Congress would move to remove him.

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3:45 a.m.

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.

 

 

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