“I would expect him to hew pretty closely to facts and events”, said Jack Sharman, a partner at Lightfoot, Franklin and White and former special counsel to a congressional committee that investigated former president Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Comey’s instincts, he wrote, were that both the setting and the conversation “meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship”.
The president then initiated a conversation about Flynn. “Because we typically look for someone who is going to be independent, but also that that position is treated independently”.
But Comey determined it would be bad to publicly state Trump was not under investigation because if that changed and Trump became a subject of the probe, he would have to say so in public. Trump’s abrupt firing of Comey outraged Democrats, who believe he was improperly trying to halt a probe that has hung over his presidency since his first day in office. Those seven pages contain little that hasn’t already been revealed but are rife with disturbing details of Donald Trump’s effort to obstruct the Russian Federation investigation.
“The express discussion of loyalty is disconcerting”, and could heighten speculation that the “president was trying to exert some pressure or at least exert some influence over the Russian Federation investigation”, Gerhardt said. This may be the most critical point in Comey’s testimony.
After the meeting, the president asked everyone to leave. Comey says he has passed Trump’s earlier request on to the acting deputy attorney general but hasn’t heard back yet.
Reacting to the prepared testimony on Wednesday evening, Trump’s private legal counsel on the Russian Federation inquiry, Marc Kasowitz, said the president was “pleased” Comey had confirmed he was not in investigators’ crosshairs.
The hearing comes a day after Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA Director Mike Rogers refused to tell the committee if Trump had asked them to intervene with Comey on the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe, as reported, even though they testified that they felt no pressure to do so. “I hope you can let this go.’ I replied only that ‘he is a good guy’”. Comey agrees Flynn is “a good guy” but refuses to drop the probe. For example, Comey said he assured Trump that he wasn’t being investigated personally, with the understanding that there wasn’t an open counter-intelligence case on the president. Comey will deliver them formally tomorrow before the committee, during a televised session starting at 10 a.m. There haven’t been previous reports that Trump made the same request of Rogers-but Rogers also refused to deny that such a request had occurred.
The governor called it “normal, New York City conversations”. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. “Nor could they tell the truth without dramatically undermining Trump’s administration”.
The world is expected to watch as Comey testifies under oath.
Comey’s testimony describes other uncomfortable interactions with the president, which Comey took to documenting in writing immediately after they happened.