WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS NEWS) – Former FBI director James Comey will say in public testimony Thursday that President Trump asked him to “lift the cloud” over him and the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Comey’s seven-page opening statement, released Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee at Comey’s request on the eve of his hearing, reveals key details about his interactions — a total of nine in-person meetings and phone calls — with Mr. Trump since early January. Comey wrote memos about each of those interactions, a step he did not take with Mr. Trump’s predecessor for the two conversations he had with former President Obama.
The former FBI director will confirm earlier reports that Mr. Trump asked that Comey drop the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, a day after his resignation, and Comey will also confirm that the president requested a pledge of loyalty.
The former FBI director met one-on-one on Jan. 6 with then-President-elect Trump after briefing him with other intelligence agency leaders on Russian meddling in the election at Trump Tower. Comey will say in his opening statement that he had previously discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether to be prepared to assure Mr. Trump that the FBI wasn’t investigating him.
“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,” Comey will say Thursday.
During a phone call between Comey and Mr. Trump on March 30, Mr. Trump asked why he testified at a congressional hearing on the Russia probe the previous week.
“I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those Congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump,” Comey will say Thursday.
Mr. Trump has referred to the fact that Comey has told him that he is not under investigation — mentioning it in his lette in May and in an interview.