‘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.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Colleen Shalby colleen.shalby @la­times.com

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.

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