‘Lordy, I hope there are tapes’ Former FBI Director James B. Comey’s congressional testimony was a minute-by-minute news dump. Here are some of the key moments.
Comey said the White House lied about why it f ired him.
The start of Comey’s testimony was tense when he accused the Trump administration of lying about its reasons for firing him.
“Those were lies, plain and simple,” he said. “I am so sorry the FBI workforce had to hear them. And I am so sorry the American public was told them.”
Comey wrote memos after his conversations with President Trump because he was worried the president would lie.
Comey said he started documenting his private talks with Trump in January, in large part because of the “nature of the person.”
“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meetings,” he said.
Comey orchestrated a leak about the memos.
Comey said he gave a “good friend ... who’s a professor at Columbia Law School” the contents of his memos to share with a reporter.
Comey said he wouldn’t speak publicly about the Trump dossier.
Comey said he would only answer questions in closed session about a salacious dossier on Trump that was posted online in January. The dossier, written by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, alleged that Russian officials had incriminating information on Trump that they would use as future blackmail. The allegations have not been confirmed.
Former President Clinton’s Arizona airport meeting with then-Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch was crucial to Comey’s decision to publicly announce the results of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices.
The meeting between the former president and Lynch prompted Comey to announce the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State. Comey said he was concerned because Lynch told him to refer to the criminal investigation as a “matter,” as Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had described it. He agreed to do so but said the media immediately understood it was an investigation.
Comey took Trump’s “hope” as a directive.
Comey’s opening statement detailed a conversation he had with the president in February, when Trump said he hoped Comey would back off the investigation on former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
“I hope you’ll let this go,” he said Trump told him.
Comey said he took that “hope” as a directive because it was the president speaking, but decided to ignore it.
Comey said there was no doubt that Russia meddled in the U.S. election.
The former FBI director said there’s “no fuzz” in the evidence that Russian intelligence agencies deliberately and repeatedly interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
If Trump has tapes, Comey wants them released.
In May, after news accounts reported Comey’s memos, Trump suggested that he had secretly recorded his conversations with Comey, tweeting: “James Comey better hope there are no ‘tapes.’ ”
“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey said Thursday.
Comey repeatedly gave his consent to release any White House recordings of his conversations with Trump, if they exist, saying, “The president surely knows if he taped me.”
Comey won’t publicly discuss the FBI investigation of Flynn, or possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election.
He said he could discuss the ongoing investigations only in the committee’s closed session that followed the morning public hearing.