Ex-FBI Director James Comey: Donald Trump asked me to 'let go' of investigation into Mike Flynn

Former FBI director James Comey will say in his opening statement to a congressional hearing that President Donald Trump told him "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty" during a January dinner.

Mr Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence committee on Thursday.

His prepared statement was released on Wednesday afternoon.

In the statement (reproduced below), Mr Comey says he and Mr Trump dined together privately in January.

During the meal, he says Mr Trump asked him if he wanted to stay in his role as FBI director.

Mr Comey says he replied that he wanted to serve out his 10-year term and "was not on anybody's side politically".

He says Mr Trump then made his statement about loyalty.

Mr Trump abruptly fired Mr Comey last month.

Mr Comey also says he informed Mr Trump in early January that he was not personally under investigation in the bureau's Russia counter-intelligence investigation.

Mr Trump was then president-elect.

Mr Comey says that the decision to give Mr Trump that assurance came after consultation with top bureau officials.

He says he documented their meeting afterwards by typing up notes on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower "the moment I walked out of the meeting".

Mr Comey added that it was "very concerning" when Mr Trump asked him to back off an investigation of former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

He says Mr Trump asked him to stay behind in the Oval Office after a meeting with a larger group, and as they stood near a grandfather clock, Mr Trump described Mr Flynn as a good guy who had been through a lot.

Then the president said to Mr Comey: "I hope you can let this go."

Mr Comey said that he immediately prepared a memo documenting the February exchange, and the investigation continued.

The prepared statement confirms some of what has already been reported publicly in the media, but the information has not previously come directly and publicly from Mr Comey.

AP


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