June 7 (UPI) — Former FBI Director James Comey plans to tell a Senate panel that President Donald Trump asked him to end an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to his prepared remarks.
Comey submitted a seven-page opening statement on Wednesday, a day ahead of his appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In the statement, Comey recalled nine one-on-one conversations with Trump in four months – three in person and six on the phone.
He met privately with Trump in the Oval Office on Feb. 14, one day after Trump fired Flynn.
“‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,'” Comey quoted Trump as saying. “‘He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.'”
Comey wrote, “I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.’ “
“I did not say I would let this go.”
Afterward he wrote up details of the meeting.
“I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership. I had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December,” Comey wrote. “I did not understand the president to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. … Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency.”
He added: “The FBI leadership team agreed with me that it was important not to infect
the investigative team with the president’s request, which we did not intend to abide.”
On March 30, the president called Comey and “described the Russia investigation as ‘a cloud’ that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country.”
Comey wrote: “I told him I would see what we could do, and that we would do our investigative work well and as quickly as we could.”
On April 11, he said Trump called him and asked him what was being done to note that the president was not personally under investigation.
“‘I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know,”’ Trump told Comey, according to the written testimony. “I did not reply or ask him what he meant by ‘that thing.’ ”
Comey added: “That was the last time I spoke with President Trump.”
Before Trump was sworn in, Comey met with him at Trump Tower on Jan. 6, where Trump asked him to publicly announce that he was not under personal investigation in the probe of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally,” Comey wrote. “That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.”
This confirmed a key claim that Trump has made — that Comey told the president he was not under investigation. Trump noted that in a letter in which he fired Comey on May 10.
Comey said he documented the conversation.
“To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting,” he wrote in the testimony.
Comey also said Trump told him at the White House in their private White House dinner conversation on Jan 27: “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”
Comey wrote that “I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.”
“‘You will always get honesty from me,”’ Comey said he told the president.