Comey to tell Senate committee he found Trump request to end Flynn investigation ‘very concerning’

James Comey
AP Photo

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.

Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday. His prepared statement was released Wednesday afternoon.

Here are some key excerpts:

The president and I had dinner on Friday, January 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Green Room at the White House. … It turned out to be just the two of us, seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room. Two Navy stewards waited on us, only entering the room to serve food and drinks.

I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my 10-year term as director. And then, because the setup made me uneasy, I added that I was not “reliable” in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth. I added that I was not on anybody’s side politically and could not be counted on in the traditional political sense, a stance I said was in his best interest as the president.

A few moments later, the president said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” 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 …

Near the end of our dinner, the president returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay, adding that he had heard great things about me from Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions and many others. He then said, “I need loyalty.” I replied, “You will always get honesty from me.” He paused and then said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” … As I wrote in the memo I created immediately after the dinner, it is possible we understood the phrase “honest loyalty” differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further. The term – honest loyalty – had helped end a very awkward conversation and my explanations had made clear what he should expect….

Trump abruptly fired Comey last month.

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