Former FBI chief to testify Trump tried to influence Russia probe

Orient Net - VOA | 2017-06-08 15:58 Damascuss

A combination photo shows Donald Trump (L) and FBI Director James Comey in Washington on July 7, 2016 (Photo: Reuters)
Fired FBI Director Jim Comey will tell a Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday that President Donald Trump asked him for loyalty during White House conversations concerning the agency’s handling of investigations into current and former administration officials, including the president himself.

The committee released an advance copy of Comey's seven-page opening statement a day before his scheduled appearance. This came shortly after the Director of National Intelligence and other top intelligence officials refused to answer the committee's questions about Comey and the Russia investigation.

In his statement, he offers explosive details and accounts of five separate conversations he had with Trump, including strong suggestions the president tried to influence FBI investigations.

“The president said, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,' ” Comey recounted about one White House meeting. “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.”

Statement to committee
In his prepared remarks, Comey said he told Trump three times that he was not a subject of the FBI investigation into whether his associates had improper contacts with Russian government officials.

In another passage, Comey will testify that Trump asked him on February 14 to "let go" of the investigation into Michael Flynn, who had been fired as national security adviser the previous day. "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go." Comey quotes Trump as saying. "He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."

Trump last month flatly denied pressuring Comey to close or back down from the Flynn investigation. "No. No. Next question," he replied to a reporter's question.The president also rejected allegations that his associates colluded with Russia to influence last November's presidential election, calling it a "witch hunt."