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tv   News Comey Senate Testimony  BBC News  June 8, 2017 3:00pm-5:43pm BST

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this is bbc news. the headlines at 3.00pm. sacked fbi chief, james comey, prepares to give evidence over the trump campaign's links with russia. this is the scene in washington live where the former fbi chief is due to speak. new video emerges of the three london terrorists filmed outside a gym days before the attack. the footage was passed on to police. more arrests have been made in raids in east london by officers investigating the london bridge attack. millions of people are casting their vote in the 2017 general election. the face of one of the very first humans. new remains suggest the history of humanity has to be rewritten. good afternoon and
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welcome to bbc news. one of the most dramatic moments of the trump presidency to date is due to unfold in congress shortly. this is the scene live in washington. we can show you the former fbik director, james comey, who was sacked by mr trump. he is about to give evidence about his relationship with the president. his opening statement has already been published online, in which he says the president repeatedly asked for his loyalty. he also says mr trump urged him to drop an inquiry into his national security adviser michael flynn, who had just been forced to resign. waiting to see as members of congress and plenty of photographers ta ke congress and plenty of photographers take their places. let us bring in oui’ take their places. let us bring in our correspondent laura bicker covering events for us. this has been considered a hot ticket, laura?
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well, the towering, looming figure of the fbi director, james comey, 6 foot 8 in height. he will be walking through the halls of capitol hill sit in front of that committee and give his evidence. why are we fixated on this. he was fired as the man who was investigating whether or not the trump campaign colluded with the russians during the us presidential election. many people have speculated, one — why was he fired? was this a reason that donald trump was trying to put the brakes on that investigation? was he trying to prevent that investigation? and what on earth went went on between the president and james comey. laura, thank you very much indeed. people at home now can seccombe comey taking his seat there. the flashes of the cameras of course as
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people crane in to get a shot before he makes his opening remarks. we are expecting him to make an opening statement, i believe, before questions begin. it looks like that will take a good 15 minutes or so. members of the senate select mel on intelligence taking their places. as has always been the cams case, james comey showing no emotion. that is something he mentioned in his opening statement to this inquiry after the president had asked him to be loyal to him he said he found it difficult to express any emotion and the most uncomfortable few moments that followed. a man doesn't look under incredible pressure, but absolutely is. laura, while they are assembling,
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let us return to laura bicker. a great deal of expectation. you were outlining the key issues. much being made of his demeanour, that ofjames comey. yes. it has been a blockbuster event, autumn the events, all the bars are open early. there are a number of the networks... comey,is about to speak. i appreciate your willingness to appear before the committee today and, more importantly, ithank appear before the committee today and, more importantly, i thank you for your dedicated service and leadership to the federal brew of investigation. your appearance today speaks to the trust that we have built over the years and i'm looking forward to a very open and candidate discussion today. i'd like to remind my colleagues that we will reconvene in closed session at 1.00pm today. i ask that you reserve for that venue any questions that might get into
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classified information. the director has been gracious with his time. we have a time line for his commitment to be on the hill we will do everything we can to meet that agreement. the senate select mel on intelligence exists to certificatify for the american people that the intelligence community is operating lawfully and has the necessaries authorities and tools to accomplish its mission and keep america safe. pa rt its mission and keep america safe. part of our mission, beyond the oversight we continue to provide to the intelligence community and its activities, is to investigation russian interference in the 2016 us election. the committee's work continues. this hearing represents pa rt continues. this hearing represents part of that effort. allegations have been swirling in the press for the last several weeks. today is your opportunity to set the record straight. yesterday i read with
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interest your statement for the record. i think it provides some helpful details surrounding your interactions with the president. it clearly lays out your understanding of those discussions. actions you took following each conversation and your state of mind. i very much appreciate your candour and i think it's helpful, as we work through to determine the ultimate truth behind possible russian interference in the 2016 elections. your statement also provides texture and context to your interactions with the president from your advantage point and outlines a strained relationship. the american people need to hear your side of the story, just as they need to hear the president's descriptions of events. sf these interactions also highlight the importance of the committee's ongoing investigation. 0ur experienced staff is interviewing all relevant parties and some of the
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most sensitive intelligence in our country's possession. we will establish the facts, separate from rapid speculation, and lay them out for the american people to make their ownjudgment. for the american people to make their own judgment. 0nly for the american people to make their own judgment. only then will we asa their own judgment. only then will we as a nation be able to move forward and to put this episode to rest. there are several outstanding issues not addressed in your statement that i hope you will clear up statement that i hope you will clear upfor statement that i hope you will clear up for the american people today. did the president's request for loyalty, your impression, that the one—on—one dinner of january 27th was, "at least in part an effort to create some sort of relationship or is march 30th phone call asking what you could do to lift the cloud of russian investigation in anyway alter your approach or the fbi's investigation into general flynn or the broader investigation into russia and possible links to the
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campaign." in your opinion, did potential russian efforts to establish links with individuals in the trump orbit rise to the level we could define as collusion or was it a counter intelligence concern? there's been a significant public speculation about your decision—making relating to the clinton email investigation. why did you decide publicly to publicly announce fbi recommendation that is the department ofjustice not pursue criminal charges? you have described it as criminal charges? you have described itasa criminal charges? you have described it as a choice between a bad decision and a worst decision. the american people need to understand the facts behind your action. this committee is uniquely suited to investigation russia's interference in the 2016 elections. we also have a unified bipartisan approach to what is a highly charged partisan issue. russian activities during 2016 election may have been aimed at one party's 2016 election may have been aimed at one pa rty‘s candidate, 2016 election may have been aimed at one party's candidate, but as my
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collea g u es one party's candidate, but as my colleagues says frequently, in 2018 and 2020, it could be aimed at anyone at home or abroad. my colleague senator warner and i, have worked to stay in lock step on this investigation. we've had our differences on approach, at times, but i've constantly tress stressed that we need to be a team. i think senator warner agrees with me. we must keep these questions above politics and partisanship. it's too important to be tainted by anyone trying to score political points. with that, again i welcome you director, and i turn to the vice—chairman for any comments he might have. thank you mr chairman. let me start by absolutely thanking all the ebbs m of the committee for the seriousness in which they've taken on this task. mr comey, thank you for agreeing to come testify as pa rt you for agreeing to come testify as part of this committee's investigation into russia. i realise
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that this hearing has been obviously the focus of a lot of washington in the focus of a lot of washington in the lasts few days. but the truth is, many americans who may be tuning in today probably haven't focused on every twist and turn of the investigation. so i'd like to briefing describe, at least from this senator's standpoint, what we already know and what we're sti investigating. to be clear, this investigation is not about relitigating the election. it's not about who won or lost, it sure as heckis about who won or lost, it sure as heck is not about democrats versus republicans. we're here because with a foreign adversary attacked us right here at home, plain and simple. not by guns or missiles, but by foreign operatives seeking to huack by foreign operatives seeking to hijack our most important democratic process , hijack our most important democratic process, our presidential election.
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russian spies engaged in a series of online cyber raids and a broad campaign of disinformation. all ultimately aimed at osowing chaos to undermine public faith in our process , undermine public faith in our process, in our leadership and, ultimately, in ourselves. that's not just this senator's opinion. it is the unanimous determination of the entire us intelligence community. so we must find out the full story. what the russians did. as some other collea g u es what the russians did. as some other colleagues have mentioneded, why they were so successful. we must determine the necessary steps to ta ke to determine the necessary steps to take to protect our democracy and ensure they can't do it again. we have elections this year in 2017, simply put, we cannot let anything
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01’ simply put, we cannot let anything or anyone prevent us from getting to the bottom of this. mr comey, let me say at the outset, we haven't always agreed on every issue. in fact i've questioned some of the actions you've taken. but i've never had any reason to question your integrity, your expertise or your intelligence. you've been a straight shooter with this committee and have been willing to speak truth to power, even at the risk of your own career. which makes the way in which you were fired by the way in which you were fired by the president ultimately shocking. we began this entire process with the president and his staff first denying that the russians were ever involved and then falsely claiming that no—one from his team was ever in touch with any russians. we know that's just not the truth. numerous
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trump associates had undisclosed contacts with russians before and after the election, including the president's attorney general, his former national security adviser and his current senior adviser. that doesn't even begin to count the host of additional campaign associates and advisers who have also been caught up in this massive web. we saw mr trump's caught up in this massive web. we saw mrtrump‘s campaign caught up in this massive web. we saw mr trump's campaign manager forced to step down over ties to russian backedent tease. the national secure adviser, general flynn, had to resign over his lies about engagements with the russians. we saw the candidate himself express an odd and unexplained affection for the russian dictator, while calling for the hacking of his opponent. there's a lot to investigation. —— investigate. director comey pub
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click aacknowledged he was leading an investigation into the trump campaign and the russian government. as the director of the fbi mr comey was responsible for conducting that investigation. which might explain why your‘ sitting now as a private citizen. what we didn‘t know was that at the same time that this investigation was proceeding, the president him seve pearce to have been engaged in an effort to influence or at least co—op the director of the fbi. the testimony submitted for today‘s hearing is disturbing. 0n submitted for today‘s hearing is disturbing. on january 27 submitted for today‘s hearing is disturbing. 0njanuary 27 after sum ovrning mr comey to director, the president seems to have threatened hisjob by telling him "i need loyalty, i expect loyalty." at a later meet, on february 1ath, the president asked the attorney general to leave the oval office so that he could privately ask director comey "to see a way clear to letting flynn
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9°" "to see a way clear to letting flynn go." that is a statement that director comey interpreted as a request he drop the investigation connected to general flynn‘s false statements. think about it — the president of the united states asking the fbi director to drop an ongoing investigation. after that, the president called the fbi director on two additional occasions, march 30th and 11th april and asked him "to lift the cloud on the russian investigation." now director comey denined each of these improper requests. the loyalty pledge, the drop the flynn investigation, the request to lift the cloud on the russian investigation. of course, after his refusals, director comey was fired. the initial explanation for the firing didn‘t pass any smell tests.
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now director comey was fired because he didn‘t treat hillary clinton appropriately. 0f he didn‘t treat hillary clinton appropriately. of course, that explanation lasted about a day because the president himself then made very clear that he was thinking about russia when he decided to fire director comey. shockingly, reports suggest that the president admitted as much in an 0val suggest that the president admitted as much in an oval office meeting with the russians the day after director comey was fired. des paraging our country‘s top law enforcement official as a "nutjob" the president allegedly suggested that his firing relieved great pressure on his feelings about russia. this is not happening in isolation. at the same time the president was engaged in these effort with director comey he was also at least allegedly asking senior leaders of the intelligence
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community to downplay the russian investigation or to intervene with the director. yesterday, we had director coates and admiral rodgers, who were offered a number of opportunities to flatley deny those press reports. they expressed their opinions, but they did not take that opportunity to deny those reports. they did not take advantage of that opportunity. in my belief that is not how the president of the united states should behave. regardless of the outcome of our investigation into the russia links, director comey‘s firing and his testimony raise separate and troubling questions that we must get to the bottom of. again, as i said at the outset, i‘ve seen first—hand how seriously every member of this committee is taking his work. i‘m proud of the committee‘s efforts so far. let me be clear, this is not a witch—hunt. this is not fake news.
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it's witch—hunt. this is not fake news. it‘s an effort to protect our country from a new threat that, quite honestly, will not go away any time soon. mr comey your testimony here today will help us move towards that goal. i look forward to that testimony. thank you. director, as discussed, when you agreed to appear before the committee, it would be under oath. i would ask you to please stand, raise your right hand. do you sold loply swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god. truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you godlj do. please are be seated. you are now under oat. i would just note members —— oath. you will be recognised by seniority for a period up recognised by seniority for a period up to seven—minutes. it‘s the intent to move a to close session no later than1.00pm. you will recognise you have the floor for as long as you might need. thank you, mrchairm.
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floor for as long as you might need. thank you, mr chairm. mr warner. floor for as long as you might need. thank you, mr chairm. mrwarner. i submitted my statement for the record. i will not repeat it here this morning. i thought i would offer brief remarks and welcome your questions. when i was appointed fbi director in 2013 i understood i served at the pleasure of the president. even though i was appointed to a ten—year term, which congress created in order to underscore the importance of the fbi being outside of politics and independent, i understood that i could be fired by a president for any reason or for no reason at all. 0n any reason or for no reason at all. on may 9th when i learned i‘d been fired, for that reason i immediately came home as a private receipt den. but then the explanations the shifting explanations, confused me and increasingly concerned me. they confused me because the president andi confused me because the president and i had had multiple conversations
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about myjob, and i had had multiple conversations about my job, both and i had had multiple conversations about myjob, both before and after he took office, he had repeatedly told me i was doing a greatjob and he hoped i would stay. i had repeatedly assured him that i did intend to stay and serve out the remaining six years of my term. he told me repeatedly that he‘d talked told me repeatedly that he‘d talked to lots of people about me, including our current attorney general and had learned that i was doing a greatjob and that i was extremely well liked by the fbi workforce. so it confused me when i saw on television the president saying that he actually fired me because of the russian investigation and learned again from the media that he was telling privately other parties that my firing had relieved great pressure on the russian investigation. i was also confused by the initial explanation that was offered publicly, that i was fired because of the decisions i had made during the election year. that didn‘t make sense to me for a whole bunch of reasons, including the time
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and autumn the water that had gone under the bridge since those hard decisions had had to be made. that didn‘t make any sense to me. although the law required no reason at all to fire an fbi director, the administration then chose to defame me and, more importantly, the fbi by saying that the organisation was in disarray. that it was poorly led. that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. those were lies, plain and simple. i‘m so sorry that the fbi workforce had to hear them and i‘m so sorry that the american people were told them. i worked every day at the fbi to help make that great organisation better. i say help, because i did nothing alone at the fbi. there are no indispensable people at the fbi. the organisations great strength is that its values and abilities run deep and wide. the fbi will be fine without me. the fbi‘s mission will
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be relentlessly pursued by its peopled and that mission is to provide text the american people and uphold the constitution of the united states. i will deeply miss being part of that mission, but this organisation and its mission will go on long beyond me and long beyond any particular administration. i‘ve any particular administration. i‘ve a message before i close, for my former colleagues at the fbi. i want the american people to know this truth. the fbi is honest. the fbi is strong. and the fbi is and always will be independent. now to my former colleagues, if i may. i‘m so sorry that i didn‘t get the chance to say goodbye to you properly. it was the honour of my life to serve beside you. to be part of the fbi family andi beside you. to be part of the fbi family and i will miss it for the rest of my life. thank you for standing watch. thank you for doing so much good for this country. do that good as long as ever you can.
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senators, i look forward to your questions. director, thank you for that testimony, both oral and the written testimony that you provided to the committee yesterday and made public to the american people. director, did the special council‘s office review and or edit your written testimony? no. do you have any doubt that russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections? none. is do you have any doubt that the russian government was behind the russian government was behind the intrusions and the dnc and dccc systems and the subsequent links of that information? no, no doubt. do you have any doubt that the russian government was behind the cyber intrusion in the state voter files? no. do you have any doubt that officials of the russian government
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we re officials of the russian government were fully aware of these activities? no doubt. are you confident that no votes cast in the 2016 presidential election were altered? i'm confident. when i left as director, i‘d seen no indication of that whatsoever. director comey, did the president at any time ask you to stop the fbi investigation into russian voflt in the 2016 us elections? not to my understand. no. did any individual working for this administration, including the justice department, ask you to stop the russian investigation? no. director, when the president requested that you "let flynn go." general flynn had an unreported contact with the russians, which is
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an offence, if press accounts are right, there might have been discrepancies between facts and his fbi testimony. in your estimation, was general flynn, at that time, in serious legal jeopardy and was general flynn, at that time, in serious legaljeopardy and do you sense the president was trying to obstruct justice or just seek for a way for mike flynn to save face given that he had already been fired? he was in legaljeopardy there was an open fbi criminal investigation with his statements with the russian be contacts and the contacts themselves. that was my assessment at the time. i don‘t think it‘s for me to say whether the conversation i had with the president was an effort to obstruct. i took it as a very disturbing thing. very concerning, but that‘s a conclusion i‘m sure the special council will work towards to understand what the intention was there and whether that is an offence. is it possible as part of
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this fbi investigation the fbi could find evidence of criminality in a is n tied to the 2016 elections, possible collusion or co—ordination with russians in sure. so there could be something thatjust fits a criminal aspect to this that doesn‘t have anything to do with the 2016 election cycle? correct. in any complex investigation, when you start turning over rocks, sometimes you find things that are unbe related to the primary investigation that are criminal in nature. director comey, you have been criticised pub clickically for the decision to present your findings on the email investigation directly to the email investigation directly to the american people. have you learned anything since that time that would have changed what you said or you chose to inform the american people? honestly, no. i mean, it caused a whole lot of personal pain for me. but as i look back, given what i knew at the time, even be what i‘ve learned since, i
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think it was the best way to try and protect the justice institution, including the fbi. in the public domain is this question of the steel dossier. a document that been around now for over a year. i‘m not sure when the fbi first took possession of it, but the media had had it before you had it and we had it. at the time of your departure, from the fbi, was the fbi able to confirm any criminal allegations contained in the steel document mr chairman, i don‘t think that‘s a question i can a nswer don‘t think that‘s a question i can answer in an open setting because it goes into the details of the investigation. director, the term we hear moths often is "collusion" when people are describing possible links
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between americans and russian governmentent tease related to the interference in our election, would you say that it‘s normal for foreign governments to reach out to members ofan in—coming governments to reach out to members of an in—coming administration? governments to reach out to members of an in-coming administration? yes. at what point does the normal contact cross the line? it depends on the context whether there is an effort to keep it covert. what the nature of the requests made of the american by the foreign government are. it‘s a judgment call based on a whole lot of facts. at what point would that recruitment become a counter intelligence threat to our country? difficult to answer in the abg instruct, but when a foreign power is using, especially cohersion or pressure to get a government
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official to act on its behalf and is at the heart of the fbi counter intelligence commission mission. at the heart of the fbi counter intelligence commission missionm you have a document of specific claims that are out there, the fbi would have to, forefor counter intelligence reasons, try to verify anything that might be claimed in there — one, probably first and foremost, is the counter intelligence concerns we have about blackmail? would that be an accurate statement? yes. if the fbi receiving a allegations there is an operation to employ an american on behalf of a foreign power that is the basis on which counter intelligence is open. when you read the dossier what was your reaction given d was 100% directed at the president—elect? not a question i can answer in open setting, mr chairman. 0k. when did you become aware of the cyber
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intrusion? the first cyber, all kind of cyber instrikeses going on, the first russian cyber intrusion i became aware of in the late summer of 2015. in that time frame there we re of 2015. in that time frame there were more targets? yes. there was was a massive effort to target government, near governmental agencies like non—profits. government, near governmental agencies like non-profits. what would be the estimate of how many entities the russians targeted in that time frame? it's hundreds, i suppose it could be more than 1,000. it's suppose it could be more than 1,000. it‘s at least hundreds. suppose it could be more than 1,000. it's at least hundreds. when did you become aware that data had been ex—filtrated? become aware that data had been ex-filtrated? i'm not sure exactly. i think either late 15 or early 16. did you, the director of the fbi, have conversations with the last
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administration about the risk that this posed? yes. share with us, if you will, what actions they took? well, the fbi had already undertaken an effort to notify all the victims. that‘s what we consider theent tease that were attacked as part of this massive spearfishing campaign. we notified them in an effort to disrupt what might be ongoing. then there was a serious of continuing interactions withent tease through the rest of 15 into 16. then throughout 16 the administration was trying to decide how to respond to the intrusion activity that it the fbi, in this case, unlike other cases you might investigate, did you ever have a ccess cases you might investigate, did you ever have access to the actual hardware that was hacked, or did you have to rely on a third party to provide you the data they had collected ? provide you the data they had collected? in the case of the dnc, we did not have access to the
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devices themselves. we had relevant forensic information from a relevant party, a high—class entity that had done the work, but we didn‘t have contact. is that part of the forensics for a counterintelligence standpoint? it is, but it was briefed to me by the people who were my folks at the time, that they had got information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by spring 2016. let me go back very briefly to the decision to publicly go out with your results on the e—mail. was your decision influenced by the attorney general‘s tarmac meeting with former president bill clinton? yes, in an ultimately
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conclusive way, that was the thing that kept it for me, i had to do something separately to protect the credibility of investigation that meant both the fbi and justice department. were there other things that contributed to that that you can describe in an open session? there were other things that contributed to that, one significant item i can‘t, and i know the committee has been briefed on, there have been some public accounts of it that have been nonsense, but i understand the committee has been briefed on classified facts. the only other consideration i can talk about in an open setting is that at one point the attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation, but instead to call ita investigation, but instead to call it a matter, which confused and concerned me. that was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude i had to step away from the department if we were to close the case credibly. my last question you are not only a seasoned prosecutor who led the fbi for years, you
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understand the investigative process. you have worked with this committee closely and we are grateful to you, because i think we have mutually built trust in what your organisation does and what we do. is there any doubt in your mind that this committee can carry out its oversight role in the 2016 russian involvement in the elections in parallel with the now special counsel that has been set up? no doubt. it can be done. it requires conversations, but bob is one of this country‘s great professionals and i‘m sure you can work it out with him to run in parallel. thank you and i will return to the vice—chairman. you and i will return to the vice-chairman. thank you mr chairman. and thank you to james comey for your service. your comments to your fbi family, i know they were heartfelt, and i know that
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even know there are some in the administration who have tried to smear your reputation, you had acting director mccabe and public testimony a few weeks back and public testimony yesterday that reaffirmed the vast majority of the fbi community had great trust in your leadership and obviously trust in your integrity. i want to go through a number of the meetings you referenced in your testimony. we can start with january six in trump tower, where you went with a series of officials to brief the president—elect on the russian investigation. my understanding is you remained after to brief him on some personally sensitive aspects of the information you relate. you said after that briefing you felt compelled to document that conversation and you started documenting it as soon as you got into the car. you have had extensive
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experience at the department of justice and that the fbi. you have worked under presidents of both parties. what was it about that meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record? a combination of things. i think the circumstances, the subject matter and the person i was interacting with. circumstances first, i was alone with the president of the united states, the president—elect, soon—to—be president. the subject matter i was talking about, matters that touch on the fbi‘s core responsibility and relate to the president—elect personally. and then the nature of the person. i was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting and i thought it was important to document. that combination of things i had never experienced before but it led me to believe i had to write it led me to believe i had to write it down in a very detailed way.|j think that's a very important statement you just made. my understanding is, unlike your
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dealings with presidents of either party in your past experience, in every subsequent meeting or conversation with this president, you created a written record. did you created a written record. did you feel you needed to create this written record, these memos, cars they might need to be relied at some future date? sure. ithinki created written records after each of our nine conversations, if not all, then certainly nearly all of them. i knew there might come a day when i might need a record of what happened, not just to defend myself, but also defend the fbi and our integrity as an institution and the independence of our investigative function. that‘s what made this so difficult. a combination of circumstance, subject matter and a particular person. in all your experience, this was the only president where you felt in every meeting you needed to
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document because you felt at some point, using your wits, document because you felt at some point, using yourwits, he might put out a non—truthful representation? asi out a non—truthful representation? as i said in my written testimony, i interacted with president 0bama, i spoke only twice with him in three yea rs, spoke only twice with him in three years, and didn‘t document. with president bush i had one one on one meeting about one national security matter and i didn‘t document that. i sent a quick e—mail to my staff to let them know there was something going on. with president bush i didn‘t feel the need to document in that way, because of that combination of factors wasn‘t present with president 0bama or president bush. i think that is significant. the chairman and i have requested those memos and it is our hope the fbi will give this committee access to the memos so we can read that contemporaneous rendition so we have got your side the story. i know members have said
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and the press have said that if you were... a great deal has been made of the president, whether the president was subject of any investigation. my understanding is prior to the meeting onjanuary investigation. my understanding is prior to the meeting on january six you discussed with your leadership team whether or not you should be prepared to sure then president—elect trump that the fbi was not investigating him personally. my understanding is your leadership team agreed with that. was that decision unanimous? what was the debate? it wasn't unanimous. 0ne was the debate? it wasn't unanimous. one member of the leadership team had the view that although it was technically true, we didn‘t have a counterintelligence case file on the then president—elect trump. his concern was that because we were looking at the potential, and that the subject of the investigation, coordination between the campaign
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and russia, because it was president—elect trump‘s campaign, this person‘s view was that inevitably his behaviour and conduct would fall within the scope of that work, and therefore he was reluctant to make the statement i made. i disagree, i thought it was fair to say what was literally true, there isn‘t a counterintelligence investigation of mr trump, and i decided in the moment to say it given the nature of the conversation. at that moment in time. did you ever revisit that in subsequent sessions? with the fbi leadership team? sure. the leader had the it didn‘t change. his view was still that it was probably, although literally true, his concern was it was possibly misleading because the nature of the investigation was such that it might well touch, and it would touch the campaign, and the person at the head of the campaign would be the candidate. moving to the january 27
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dinnerwhere candidate. moving to the january 27 dinner where you candidate. moving to the january 27 dinnerwhere you said, candidate. moving to the january 27 dinner where you said, the president began by asking me if i wanted to stay on as fbi director. he also indicated that lots of people wanted the job. you go on to say that the dinner itself was seemingly an effort to have you ask him for your job and create some sort of patron interrelationship. the president seems, from my reading of your memo, to be holding yourjob or your possibility of continuing in your job, over your head possibility of continuing in your job, overyour head in possibility of continuing in your job, over your head in a fairly direct way. what was your impression and what did you mean by this notion of patronage relationship? my impression, and it is my impression, i could always be wrong, but my common sense told me that what was going on was, either he had concluded or somebody had told him, that you have already asked james comey to stay and you didn‘t get anything for it and the dinner was anything for it and the dinner was
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an effort to build a relationship. in fact, he asked specifically of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay. what was odd about that, we had already talked twice about it by that point and he said, i very much hope you will stay. i remember sitting here a third one, you see the picture of me walking across the blue room, and what the president whispered in my year was, i really look forward to working with you. that was a few days before you were fired? that was the sunday after inauguration. the next friday i had dinnerand inauguration. the next friday i had dinner and the president begins by wanting to talk about myjob. i sit and think, wait a minute, wanting to talk about myjob. i sit and think, waita minute, you wanting to talk about myjob. i sit and think, wait a minute, you have already asked me to stay three times, talked about me staying. my common sense told me that what was going on is that he‘s looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job. something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the joblj something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job. i was a governor, i had people work for me, but this constant request, quoting you, him saying that he,
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despite you explaining your independence, he kept coming back and saying i need loyalty and i expect loyalty. have you had any of those kinds of requests before from people you have worked for in the government? no. what made me uneasy was, at that point i was director of the fbi. the reason congress created a 10—year term is because the director shouldn‘t feel they are serving with political loyalty owed to any particular person. the statue ofjustice has a blindfold on because you shouldn‘t be peaking out to see if your patron is pleased or not with what you are doing. it should be about the facts and the law. that‘s why i became fbi director, to be in that position. that‘s why i was so easy. director, to be in that position. that's why i was so easy. moving on to february 14. again it seems strange, you were to february 14. again it seems strange, you were in a meeting and your direct superior, the attorney general was also in the meeting, but
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the president asked everybody to leave, including the attorney general to leave, before he brought up general to leave, before he brought up the matter of general flynn. what was your impression of that action, had you seen anything like it before? no, my impression was that something big was about to happen andi something big was about to happen and i needed to remember every word spoken. i could be wrong, but i am 56, i have seen a few things, and my sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn‘t be leaving, which is why he was lingering. i don‘t know mr kushner well but i think he was picking up on the same thing and i knew there was something i needed to pay attention to that was about to happen. i find it interesting that in the memo you wrote after the february 14, you wrote that memo in a way that was unclassified. you affirmatively made the decision to
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write an unclassified memo, so was that because you felt at some point the facts of the meeting would have to come clean and become clear and actually be able to be cleared in a way that could be shared with the american people? i remember thinking this is a very disturbing development, really important to our work. i need to document and preserve it in a way, the committee gets this, but sometimes when things are classified, it tangles them up and it‘s hard to share it with an investigative team. you have to be careful. with good reason. my thinking was that if i write it in such a way where i don‘t include anything that would trigger a classification, it will make it easierfor us to classification, it will make it easier for us to discuss within the fbi and government and to hold onto it in fbi and government and to hold onto itina fbi and government and to hold onto it in a way that makes it accessible to us. it's our hope, particularly since you are a pretty knowledgeable quy: since you are a pretty knowledgeable guy, and you wrote it in a way that its unclassified, the committee will get access to that unclassified
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document. i think it will be imported to the investigation. asking in closing, how many ongoing investigations at one time does the fbi have? tens of thousands. did the president ever ask about any other ongoing investigation? no. did he ever ask about you trying to interfere in any other investigation? no. ithink, again, this speaks volumes. it doesn't even get to the questions around the phone calls about lifting the cloud. i know other members will get to that, but i really appreciate your testimony and your service to our nation. thank you. i'm sitting here and going through contacts in my head. 0ne conversation with the president that was classified, where he asked about an ongoing intelligence investigation, it was brief and entirely professional. he
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didn't ask you to take specific action? no. unlike what he asked you to do with michael flynn and other investigations costa no. —— other investigations? no. we got to your 7—page testimony now part of the record here. i read it, and read it again. all i could think of was, how much i hated the class of legal writing when i was in law school. you were the guy who probably got the a after reading this. i find it clear and concise. having been a prosecutor for a number of years, handling hundreds, maybe thousands of cases and reading investigative and police reports, this is as good as it gets and i really appreciate that. not only the conciseness and clea rness, that. not only the conciseness and clearness, but also the fact you
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have things that were written down contemporaneously with when they happened and you put them in quotes so we know exactly what happened and we are not getting some rendition that‘s in your mind. you are to become fermented. thank you, i had great parents and teachers that beat that into me. that's obvious. the chairman walked you through a number of things that the american people need to and want to know. number one, we all know about the active measures the russians have taken. i think a lot of people were surprised at this. those of us who work in the intelligence community, it didn‘t come as a surprise, but it‘s good the american people know this now because it‘s a serious problem. secondly, i gather from because it‘s a serious problem. secondly, i gatherfrom all of because it‘s a serious problem. secondly, i gather from all of this that you are willing to say now that while you were direct to the president of the united states was not under investigation. that's correct. that's a fact we can rely on. yes. i remember you talked with us shortly after february 14 when
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the new york times wrote an article that suggested the trump campaign was colluding with the russians. do you remember reading the article when it first came out?” you remember reading the article when it first came out? i do. it was about alleged extensive electronic surveillance. that upset you to the point where you went out and survey the intelligence community to see if you were listed in something? that's correct. i want to be careful in an open setting. i will not go further, so thank you. in addition to that, after that, you sort out both republican and democrat senators to tell them that, you didn‘t know where it was coming from, but this wasn‘t the case, this was not factual. do you recall that? yes. again, so the american people can understand, the report by the new york times was not true. is that a fair statement? in the main it was not true. all of you know this, and maybe the american people don‘t, the
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challenge, and i‘m not picking on reporters about writing stories about classified information, is that people talking about it often don‘t know what‘s going on. those of us that do know what‘s going on don‘t talk about it. we don‘t call the press to say, you got that wrong about a sensitive topic. we have to leave it there. i said to the chairman, the nonsense around the july five statement, it is nonsense, but i can‘t explain why it‘s nonsense. those three things we now know regarding the active measures with the president senate investigation and collusion between the trump campaign and the russians. i want to drill down, because my time is limited, to the most recent dust up regarding allegations that the president of the united states obstructed justice. you nailed it down on the page five paragraph three, you put it in quotes, words matter. you wrote down the words, so we can all have the words in front
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of us now. 28 words" say," i hope, and this is the president speaking, i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, letting flynn go. he‘s a good guy. i hope you can let this go." those are his exact words and you wrote them he and put them in quotes? yes. thank you for that. he did not direct you... not in his words, no. he did not order you to let it go? no. he said, i hope. like me, you, improbably hundreds and thousands of cases charging criminal offences, and you have knowledge of thousands of cases where people have been charged, do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction ofjustice, or for that matter, any other criminal offence where they said or thought
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that they hoped for an outcome?” don‘t know well enough to answer. the reason i keep saying his words is, i took it as a direction. he‘s the president of the united states with me alone saying, i hope this. i took it as, this is what he wants me took it as, this is what he wants me to do. i didn‘t obey it, but that‘s how i took it. you may have taken it as direction, but he only said i hope. you don‘t know of anyone who was charged for hoping something.” don‘t as i sit here. was charged for hoping something.” don't as i sit here. i want you to know that i have great respect for you, the senator and i sit on the judiciary committee so we have occasion to have you before us. i know that you are a man of strength and integrity. i really regret the situation we all find ourselves in.
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ijust want situation we all find ourselves in. i just want to situation we all find ourselves in. ijust want to say, let me begin with one overarching question. why do you believe you were fired?” guess i don‘t know for sure. i take the president at his word that i was fired because of the russian investigation, something about the way i was conducting it that the president felt created pressure on him he wanted to relieve. i didn‘t know that at the time, but i have watched his interview and read the press accounts of his conversations, soi press accounts of his conversations, so i take him at his words there. i could be wrong. maybe he‘s saying something that isn‘t true, but i ta ke something that isn‘t true, but i take him at his word based on what i know. talk for a moment about his pledge that you request loyalty. your response to that and the impact you believe it had. i don't know for sure because i don‘t know the president well enough to read him well. our relationship didn‘t get
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off toa well. our relationship didn‘t get off to a great start given a conversation i had to have on january two. this didn‘t improve the relationship. —— on january january two. this didn‘t improve the relationship. —— onjanuary six act. he was asking for something but i don‘t know him well enough to know how he reacted to that. do you believe the russian investigation played a role in why you were fired? yes, because i saw the president say so. let's go to the michael flynn issue. the senator outlined, i hope you could see your way to letting flynn go. he's a good guy, i hope you can let this go. you also say in your written remarks that you understood the president to be requesting that you drop any investigation of flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the russian
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ambassador in december. please go into that with more detail. the context into that with more detail. the co ntext a nd into that with more detail. the context and the president‘s words are what led me to that conclusion. asi are what led me to that conclusion. as i said in a statement, i could be wrong, but flynn had been forced to resign the day before. the controversy around general flynn at that point in time was centred on whether he had lied to the vice president about the nature of his conversations with the russians, whether he had been candid with others in the course of that. that happens the day before, on the 14th the president makes specific reference to that, so that‘s why i understood it to be saying what he wa nted understood it to be saying what he wanted me to do is to drop any investigation connected to flynn‘s account of his conversations with the russians. you are big, you are strong, i know the oval office, and i know what happens to people when they walk in, there is a certain
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amount of intimidation. but why didn't you stop and say, mr president, this is wrong, i can't discuss this with you? it's a great question. maybe if i were stronger i would have. i was so stunned by the conversation that i just took would have. i was so stunned by the conversation that ijust took it in. the only thing i could think to say, because i was playing in my mind so i could remember every word he said, i was playing in my mind, what should my response be. i carefully chose the words. i have seen the tweet about tapes and i hope there are tapes. i remember saying, tweet about tapes and i hope there are tapes. i remembersaying, i agree he‘s a good guy. as a way of saying, i‘m not agreeing with what you have asked me to do. maybe other people would be stronger in that circumstance, but that is how i conducted myself. i hope i will never have another opportunity but ifi never have another opportunity but if i did it again hopefully i would do it better. you describe two phone calls you received from president trump, one on march 30 and one on
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april 11 where he described the russian investigation as a cloud that was impairing his ability as president and asked you to lift the cloud. how did you interpret that, and what did you believe he wanted you to do? i interpreted that as he was frustrated that the russian investigation was taking up so much time and energy. i think he meant of the executive branch, but in the public square in general. it was making it difficult for him to focus on other priorities of his. but what he asked me was more narrow than that. what i think he meant by the cloud, and i could be wrong, but i think he meant the entire investigation is taking up oxygen and focus from things i want to focus on. the ask was to get it out
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that i, the president, is not personally under investigation. after april 11 did he ask you more, ever, about the russian investigation? did he ask you any questions? we didn't speak again after april 11. you told the president, i would see what we could do. what did you mean? it was a slightly cowardly way of trying to avoid telling him, we are not going to do that. i could see what we could do was a way of getting off the phone, frankly. and then i turned and handed it to the acting deputy attorney general.” turned and handed it to the acting deputy attorney general. i want to go into that. who did you talk with about that, lifting the cloud, stopping the investigation back at the fbi, and what was their response? the fbi, during one of the
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two conversations, not remembering exactly, i think in the first my chief of staff was sitting in front of me and heard my end of the conversation because the call from the president was a surprise. i discussed lifting the cloud and the request with the senior leadership team, who, typically, and i think in all of these circumstances it was the deputy director, my chief of staff, the general council, the deputy to the‘s chief counsel, and i think ina deputy to the‘s chief counsel, and i think in a number of circumstances the number three in the fbi and a few of the conversations included the head of the national security branch, that group of us that lead the fbi when it comes to national security. you have the president of the united states asking you to stop an investigation that's an important investigation. what was the response of your colleagues? i think they we re of your colleagues? i think they were as shocked and troubled by it asi were as shocked and troubled by it as i was. some said things that led me to believe that. i don‘t remember exactly, but the reaction was
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similarto mine. exactly, but the reaction was similar to mine. they are all experienced people who had never experienced people who had never experienced such a thing, so they we re very experienced such a thing, so they were very concerned , experienced such a thing, so they were very concerned, so the conversation turns to, what shall we do with this information. that was a struggle for us. because we are the leaders of the fbi. it has been reported to us. i have heard it and shared it with the leaders of the fbi. our conversation was, should we share this with any senior officials at the justice department? share this with any senior officials at thejustice department? the primary concern was, we cannot affect the investigative team. we don‘t want agents and analysts working on this to know the president has asked, and when it came from the president i took it as a direction, to get rid of the investigation, because we will not follow that request. so we decided to keep it away from our troops. but is there anyone else we should tell at the justice department question mark as i laid out in the statement, we decided telling the attorney general didn‘t make sense because we
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believe that he would shortly recuse. there was no other senate confirmed leaders in thejustice department at that point. the deputy attorney general was acting, shortly in that seat, and we decided the best move would be to hold it, keep it in best move would be to hold it, keep itina best move would be to hold it, keep it in a box, document it, as we had already done, and then the investigation will go on and we will figure out what to do with it down the road. is there a way to corroborate? our view at the time was it was our word against the president‘s and there is no way of corroborating. that view was changed when the prospect of tapes was raised. that‘s how we thought about it then. the meeting in the oval office when he made the request about mike flynn, was that the only kindly ask you to hopefully let it go? yes. and as you understood he was not asking generally about the russia and the station but specifically about the jeopardy flint was in? that is howl understood it. and you perceive it
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as an order given the position and setting and the like? yes. did you say anything could president about that not being appropriate or tell the white house counsel that was not an appropriate request and somebody needs to dub the president is that you can‘t do these things? needs to dub the president is that you can't do these things?” needs to dub the president is that you can't do these things? i didn't, no. why? i don't know, ithink you can't do these things? i didn't, no. why? i don't know, i think the circumstances were such that i was a bit stunned and didn‘t have the presence of mind. i do want to make you sound like i‘m captain courageous, i don‘t know if i should of had the presence of mind to save to the present, sir, that‘s wrong, but it did not come to my mind. what came to my mind is be careful what you say and so i said that i agreed flynn is a good guy. so you perceive the cloud to be the russian investigation in general? yes. but the specific ask was that he would tell the american people what you had told him and the leaders of
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congress that he was not personally under investigation? and he was asking to do what you here today? correct. and did you say to be president that it would be inappropriate for you to do so and talked to the white house counsel or anybody so they could talk to him and tell him he could not do this? the first i said, i‘ll feel what we can do, the second time i explained how it should work —— i‘ll see what we can do. and to be clear, for you to make a public statement that he was not under investigation would not have been illegal but he felt it made no sense because it potentially create a duty to correct circumstances changed. we wrestled with it before my testimony when we confirmed there was an investigation and there were two primary concerns, one that it creates a duty to correct which i have lived before and you want to be careful about doing that and second it‘s a slippery slope. if we say the
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president and the vice president aren‘t in the investigating what is the principled basis for stopping? the leadership atjustice said you‘re not going to do that. the leadership atjustice said you're not going to do that. on march 30 during the phone call about general flynn, you said he abruptly shifted and brought up what you said was the mccabe thing. that was that you understand his wife had received campaign money from someone close to the clintons. at the president at any point expressed concern, opposition to mccabe, i don‘t like him because he got money from someone close to clinton? he had asked me in previous conversations about andy mccabe and said in essence, how is he going to be with me as president? he said he was rough on mccabe and mrs mccabe on
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the campaign trail, how is he going to be and i assured the president and it was a total boro and there was no issue. the people at the fbi but... was no issue. the people at the fbi but the president said, remember i never brought up the mccabe thing because you said he was a good guy. did you perceive that to be, i took ca re of did you perceive that to be, i took care of you, i took care of something so now i‘m asking you potentially for something in return? i wasn‘t sure what to make of it, honestly, that is possible but it was so out of context that i didn‘t have a clear view of what it was. on a number of occasions, talking about the general russia investigation on page six of your testimony you say, "he asked what we could do to lift the cloud and you respond that we we re the cloud and you respond that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could and there would be great benefit if we did not find anything to having done the work well and he agreed. he reemphasised
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the problems he was causing." all the problems he was causing." all the facts came out and we found nothing so he agreed that would be ideal but this cloud is still messing up my ability to do my agenda. is that an accurate assessment? yes, he actually went further, he said that if some of my tabloid did something wrong it would be good to find that out. —— if some of my satellites did something wrong. are those the only two insta nces wrong. are those the only two instances in which that sort of back and forth happened when the president was saying, and i‘m paraphrasing it ok, do the russian investigation, i hope it all comes out, i have nothing to do with anything russia, it would be great if it all came out and if people around me were doing things wrong? yes, that was the sentiment he was expressing. it comes down to the president asking for your loyalty
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and you said you would be loyally honest. honestly loyal. he asked you on one occasion to let the mike flynn thing go because he was a good quy: flynn thing go because he was a good guy, and you are aware he said the same thing in the press the next day soi same thing in the press the next day so i imagine your agents read that. i‘m sure they did. so i imagine your agents read that. i'm sure they did. the president's wishes were known to them by the next day when he had a press conference. but the three requests we re conference. but the three requests were number 1am be loyal, number two, let the michael flynn thing go, he‘s a good guy, and number three, can you please tell the american people what the leaders in congress already know which you have told me three times, that i‘m not personally under investigation. those were the three things he asked, yes. this investigation is full of leaks, we have learned more from the newspapers and from our hearings sometimes. do you ever wonder why
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all the things in this investigation the only thing that has not been lea ked the only thing that has not been leaked was the fact that the president was not personally under investigation despite the fact that both democrats and republicans have known that for weeks?” both democrats and republicans have known that for weeks? i don't know, ifind known that for weeks? i don't know, i find matter that are known that for weeks? i don't know, ifind matter that are briefed known that for weeks? i don't know, i find matter that are briefed to the gang of aid are pretty tightly held in my experience. and who are those senior leaders at the fbi knew shed these conversations with? deputy director of my chief of staff, general counsel, deputy directors, chief counsel and more often than not the number three present at the fbi it was the associate deputy director and quite often the head of the national security branch. thank you, mr chairman. you and i have had significant policy differences over the years, particularly protecting americans access to secure encryption. but i believe the timing of your firing stinks. and yesterday
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you put on the record testimony that demonstrates why the odour of presidential abuse of power is so strong. now to my questions. in talking to senator warner about this dinner that you had with the president, i believe january the 27th, all in one dinner the president raised your job 27th, all in one dinner the president raised yourjob prospects, he asked for your loyalty, and denied allegations against him. but all took place over one supper. you told senator warner that the president was looking to "get something" and looking back, did that dinner suggest that yourjob might be contingent on how you handled the investigation?” might be contingent on how you handled the investigation? i don't know that i would go that far. i got
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the sense myjob would be contingent upon how he felt i conducted myself and whether i demonstrated loyalty. i don‘t know if i would go so far to... you said the president was trying to create some sort of patronage relationship. in a patronage relationship. in a patronage relationship. in a patronage relationship is not the underling expected to behave in a manner consistent with the wishes of the boss? yes, or at least consider how what you are doing will effect the boss as a significant consideration. in your statement you said that you and the fbi leadership team decided not to discuss the president's actions with attorney general sessions even though he had not recused himself. what was it about the attorney general's own interactions with the russians or
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his behaviour with regard to the investigation that would have led the entire leadership of the fbi to make this decision? ourjudgment as i recall was that he was very close to and inevitably going to recused himself for a variety of reasons. we we re himself for a variety of reasons. we were also aware of back that i cannot discuss in an urban setting that would make his continued engagement in eight russia related investigation problematic so we were convinced and i think we had already heard that the career people were recommending he should recused himself and he would not be in contact with russia related matters much longer and that turned out to be the case. how would you characterise attorney general flynn devon to his recusal in particular in regard to his involvement in your firing which the president has acknowledged which was because of the russian investigation? that is a
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question i can‘t answer, i think it‘s a reasonable question. if as the president said i was fired because of the russian investigation, why was the attorney general involved in that chain? i don‘t know so i don‘t have an answer to the question. your testimony was that the president's request about flynn could infect the investigation. had the president got what he wanted and what he asked the view. what would have been the effect on the investigation? we would have closed any investigation of general flynn in connection with his statements about encounters with russians in the later part of december. we would have dropped an open criminal destination. so when you talk about infecting the enterprise you would have dropped
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something major that would have spoken to the overall ability of the american people to get the facts? correct, and as good as our people, ourjudgment was correct, and as good as our people, our judgment was that correct, and as good as our people, ourjudgment was that we did not wa nt ourjudgment was that we did not want them hearing that the president of the united states wants this to go away because it might have an effect on the ability to be fair and impartial and aggressive. the acting attorney general yates found out that michael flynn could be blackmailed by the russians and she we nt blackmailed by the russians and she went immediately to warn the white house. flynn is gone but other individuals with contacts with the russians are still in extremely important positions of power. should the american people have the same sense of urgency? i think all i can say, senator, is that the special council‘s investigation is very important to understanding what effo rts
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important to understanding what efforts their work or are by the russian government to influence our government, that is a critical part of the fbi mission and you have the right person in robert mueller to lead it so it is a very important piece of work. vice president p was the head of the transition. to your knowledge, was he aware of the concerns about michael flynn prior to or during general flynn's tenure as national security adviser? —— vice president pence. you're asking including up to the time when flynn was forced to resign? my understanding was that he was, i‘m trying to remember where i get that understanding from, i think from acting attorney general yates. so former acting attorney general yates testified that concerned about general flynn were discussed with the intelligence community. would that have included anyone at the cia
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or dan coats's office? i would assume yes. michael flynn resigned four days after attorney general sessions was sworn in. do you know if the attorney general was aware about the concerned about michael flynn in that period?” about the concerned about michael flynn in that period? i don't as i sit here, i don‘t recall that he was, i could be wrong but i don‘t remember that he was. and finally, let's see if you can give us some sense of who recommended your firing, beside the letters from the attorney general, the deputy attorney general, the deputy attorney general, the deputy attorney general, do you have any commission on who may have recommended or been involved in your firing? —— any information.” recommended or been involved in your firing? -- any information. i don't. senator collins. thank you. mr
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comey, let me begin by thanking you for your voluntary compliance with our request to appear before this committee and in this very important investigation. i want first to ask you about your conversations with the president, the three conversations in which you told him that he was not under investigation. the first was during yourjanuary this sixth meeting according to your testimony, in which it appears you actually volunteered that insurance, is that correct? that is correct. did you limit that statement to counterintelligence investigations or were you counterintelligence investigations or were you talking about any kind of fbi investigation?” or were you talking about any kind of fbi investigation? i didn't use the term counterintelligence, i was speaking to him and beating him about some salacious and unverified
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material. it was in the context of that that he had a strong and defensive reaction about that not being true, and my reading was that it was important for me to assure him we were not personally investigating him and said the context then was actually narrower, focused on what i had talked to him about, but it was important because it was first true and second i was very much about being in kind of a jf guru that situation. i did not wa nt jf guru that situation. i did not want him thinking i was briefing him on this to hang it over him in some way. i was breathing him because we we re way. i was breathing him because we were told it was about to launch and were told it was about to launch and we did not want to keep it from him and he needed to know this was being said ——i and he needed to know this was being said —— i was briefing. i was keen not to leave an impression that the bureau was trying to do something to him and that is the context in which isaid, sir, him and that is the context in which i said, sir, we‘re not personally investigating you. and that is why you volunteered the information? yes. and on the january the 27th
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dinneryou yes. and on the january the 27th dinner you told the president he should be careful about asking you to investigate because you might create a narrative that we are investigating him personally which we weren't. again, were you limiting that statement to counterintelligence investigations or more broadly, such as a criminal investigation? the context was very similar. idid investigation? the context was very similar. i did not want to fight the wood investigation. again, he was reacting strongly against unverified material, think i‘m tempted to order you to investigate it and in that context i said, you want to be careful about that because it might create a narrative that we are investigating you personally. and there was the march phone call in which you reminded the president that congressional leaders had been briefed that the fbi was not personally investigating president
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trump and again, was that statement to congressional leaders and to the president limited to counterintelligence investigations or was it a broader statement question i'm trying to understand if there was any kind of investigation of the present underway? though, i'm sorry if i misunderstood, we briefed the congressional leadership about what americans we had opened counterintelligence investigation cases on and we specifically said the president was not one of those americans. there was no other investigation of the president that we we re investigation of the president that we were not mentioning. the context was counterintelligence but i was not trying to hide some criminal investigation of the president. and was the president under investigation at the time of your dismissal on may the 9th? no. i
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would like to now turn to the conversations with the president about michael flynn which have been discussed at great length. first let me make very clear that the president never should have cleared the room and he never should have asked you as you reported to let it go, to let the investigation go. but iremain go, to let the investigation go. but i remain puzzled by your response, which was, i agree that michael flynn is a good guy. you could have said, mr president, this meeting is inappropriate, this response could compromise the investigation, you should not be making such a request, it is fundamental to the operation of our government that the fbi the insulated from this kind of political pressure. and you have talked a bit today about that you
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we re talked a bit today about that you were stunned by the president making the request. but my question to you is, lateron, upon the request. but my question to you is, later on, upon reflection, did you go to anyone at the department ofjustice and you go to anyone at the department of justice and ask you go to anyone at the department ofjustice and ask them to call the white house council's office and explain that the president had to have a far better understanding and appreciation of his role vis—a—vis the fbi? i spoke to the attorney general and to the new deputy attorney general mr rosenstein when he took office and explained my serious concern about the way in which the president is interacting especially with the fbi and i specifically told the attorney general that it can‘t happen that you get kicked out of the room and the president talks to me. why didn‘t we rate the specific question that it was of investigative interest to us to pick out whatjust
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happened with the president‘s request so i would not have wanted to alert the white house that it had happened until we figure out what to do with this investigative leads will your testimony was that he went to attorney general flynn and said, don‘t ever leave me alone with him again. are you saying you also told him that he had made a request that you let it go with regard to part of the investigation of michael flynn? no, i specifically did not. you mentioned that from your very first meeting with the president you decided to write a memo memorialising the conversation. what was it about that very first meeting that made you write a memo when you had not done that with two previous presidents? as i said, a combination
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of things. a gut feeling but the circumstances, that i was alone, the subject matter, and the nature of the person i was interacting with and my read of that person. and really just a and my read of that person. and reallyjust a gut and my read of that person. and really just a gut feel laying and my read of that person. and reallyjust a gut feel laying on top of all that that it is going to be important to protect this organisation that i make records office and finally, did you show copies of your memos to anyone outside of the department of justice? yes. to whom did you show copies? the president tweeted on friday after i got fired that i better hope there were not tapes. i woke up in the middle of the night on monday because it did not dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation, there might be a tape, and my judgment was that i needed to get back into the public square so i asked a friend of mine to share the
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content asked a friend of mine to share the co nte nt of asked a friend of mine to share the content of a memo with a reporter. i did not do it myself for a variety of reasons but i asking do because i thought it might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. who was that? a good friend of mine who is a professor at columbia law school. senator heinrich. mr comey, prior to january the 27th of this year, have you ever had a one—on—one meeting or a private dinner with a president of the united states? no. dinner, no, i had two one—on—one meetings with president obama wants to talk about law enforcement issues and race which was an important topic throughout for me and for the president and once very briefly for him to say goodbye. were those brief interactions? no, the one about law enforcement and race and policing we spoke for probably over an hour. how
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unusual is it to have a one—on—one dinner with the president? unusual is it to have a one—on—one dinnerwith the president? did it strike you as odd? yes, so much so that i assumed the would—be others and he couldn‘t possibly be having dinner with me alone. do you have an impression that if you had found, if you had behaved differently in that dinner, and i'm quite pleased that you did not, but if you had found a way to express some sort of expression of loyalty or given some suggestion that the flynn criminal investigation might be pursued less vigorously, do you think you would have still been fired?” vigorously, do you think you would have still been fired? i don't know. it's have still been fired? i don't know. it‘s impossible to say looking back, i don‘t know. it‘s impossible to say looking back, i don't know. but you felt like those two things were directly releva nt
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those two things were directly relevant to the kind of relationship that the president was seeking to establish with you? sure, yes. the president has repeatedly talked about the russian investigation into the, the russian involvement in the us election cycle, as a hoax and fa ke us election cycle, as a hoax and fake news. can you talk a little bit about what you saw as fbi director and obviously only the parts you can share in this setting, that demonstrate how serious this action actually was and why there was an investigation in the first place? yes sir. there should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. the russians interfered in our election in the 2016 cycle, they did it with purpose, with sophistication, with overwhelming technical efforts, and it was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government. there is no fuzz on
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that. it is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community and the members of this committee have seen it the intelligence and it‘s not a close call. that happened, it is about as not fake as you can get an very serious which is why it is so refreshing to see a bipartisan focus on that because it is about america and not a bigger party. it was a hostile act by the russian government against this country? yes sir. did the president in any of those interactions you have shared with us today ask you what you should be doing or what our government should be doing or the intelligence community to protect america against russian interference in our election system?” america against russian interference in our election system? i don't recall a conversation like that. never? no. not with president trump. i attended a fair number of meetings on with president obama. do you find it odd that the president seemed
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unconcerned by russia's actions in our election? i can't answer that because i don‘t know what other conversations he had with other advisers or intelligence community leaders so ijust don‘t know. advisers or intelligence community leaders so ijust don't know. did you have any interactions with the president that suggested he was thinking that hostile action seriously? i don't remember any interactions with the president other than the initial briefing on january the 6th, i don‘t remember, i could be wrong but i don‘t remember any conversations with him at all about that. as you are very aware, it is only the two of you in a room for that dinner, you have told us that the president asked you to back off the flynn investigation... not in that dinner. the enough. told a reporter he never did that. you have testified that the president asked for your loyalty in that dinner the white house denies that. a lot of
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this comes down to who should we believe. do you want to say anything as to why we should believe you? my mother raised me not to say things like this about myself so i‘m not going to. i think people should look at the whole body of my testimony. asi at the whole body of my testimony. as i used to say to jury ‘s, you can‘t cherry pick it, you can‘t say i like these things but on this he isa dirty i like these things but on this he is a dirty what a liar, you have got to ta ke is a dirty what a liar, you have got to take it all together and i have tried to be open and fair and transparent and accurate. a really significant fact to me is, so why did he take everybody out of the oval office? the attorney general, the chief of staff, kick them out to talk to me if it was about something else. that, to me, as an investigator, is a very significant fa ct. investigator, is a very significant fact. and as we look at testimony or communication from both of you we
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should probably be looking for consistency. looking at any witness you look at consistency, track record, demeanour, look overtime, that‘s a thing. record, demeanour, look overtime, that's a thing. thank you. there are reports that the incoming prompt administration either during the transition and or after the inauguration attempted to set up a sort of back door to medication channel with the russian government using their infrastructure on their devices or facilities. what would be the risks, particularly for a transition of someone not actually in the office of the president yet to setting up unauthorised channels with a hostile foreign government, especially if they were to evade our only american intelligence services? i‘m not going to comment on whether that happened in an open setting, but the primary risk is obvious, you spare the russians the cost and effort of having to break into our communications channels by using theirs, and so you make it easier
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for them to capture all your conversations. and then to use those to the benefit of russia against the united states. the memos you wrote, did you write all nine of them in a way that was designed to prevent them needing classification? no. on a few of the occasions i sent e—mails to my chief of staff or others on some of the brief phone conversations i recall. the first one was a classified briefing, although it wasn‘t in a skiff, it is ina although it wasn‘t in a skiff, it is in a conference room at trump tower. it was on a classified device in the car that i started working on. any reason in a classified environment, ina reason in a classified environment, in a skiff, that this committee, it wouldn't be appropriate for them to see those communications from your perspective as the author? no. mr
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comey, when you were terminated from the fbi, i said and still continue to feel that you have provided years of great service to the country. i also said i had significant questions over the last year about some of the decisions you made. if the president hadn‘t terminated your service, would you still be the director of the fbi today, in your opinion? yes, sir. so you took as a direction from the president is something you thought was serious and troublesome, but continued to show up for work the next day? . and six weeks later you are still telling the president, on march 30 that he was not personally the target of any investigation? correct. on march 30 and i think again on april 11 as well, i told him we were not investigating him personally. that's true. the concern
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to me there is that all these things are going on, you now in retrospect, or at least you are now in front of this committee and you say you had serious concerned about what the president had you believed directed you to do and hadn‘t taken any action, hadn‘t reported up the chain of command, assuming you believe there is an up the chain of command, that these things that happen. do you have a sense of that looking back that it was a mistake? negative, in fact i think no action was the most important thing i could do to make sure there was no influence on investigation. on the flynn situation specifically, i think you said earlier that you believed the president was suggesting you drop any investigation of flynn‘s account of his conversation with the russian ambassador, which was essentially misleadingly vice president and others. correct. i will not misleadingly vice president and others. correct. iwill not go into the details, but whether there were
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false statements made to government investigators as well. any suggestion that general flynn had violated the logan act, i always find pretty incredible. the logan act has been on the box for more than 200 years and nobody has ever been prosecuted for violating it. the discussion, not the problem, misleading investigators or the vice president might have been. that's fair. had you previously, on february 14, discussed with the president in a previous meeting anything your investigators had learned or their impressions from talking to flynn? no. so he's said, he‘s a good guy. you said he‘s a good guy, and no further action was taken on that. he'd said more than that. the reaction was to write it up, briefed the senior team and try to figure out what to do with it. we
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made the decision to hold it and see what we made of it down the road. was it your view that not briefing up was it your view that not briefing up meant you had no responsibility to report that to the justice department in some way?” to report that to the justice department in some way? i think at some point, and i don‘t know what the director will do with it, but at some point i was sure we would brief it to the team in charge of the case, but the judgment was in the short term it doesn‘t make sense to fuzzit short term it doesn‘t make sense to fuzz it with the attorney general, that was why he was kicked out of the room. the attorney general said he didn‘t want to be alone on the room with him, but you continue to talk to him on the phone. what‘s the difference? what i stressed with the attorney general was broader than just the room. i said, i report to you, it‘s important you be between me and the white house. after that discussion with the attorney general did you take phone calls from the president? yes. so why did you not
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say you didn‘t need to take the call and you needed to talk to the attorney general. i did on april the 11th. i reported the march 30 and april 11 calls to the superior, the acting attorney general. in reading your testimony, january three, january 27 and march 30, it appears to me that on all three of those occasions you, unsolicited by the president, made the point to him that he was not a target of an investigation. correct. ithought the march 30 was very interesting. you said even though you might not wa nt you said even though you might not want us... that was the 27th, where he said, why don‘t you look into the dossier thing more and you said, you might not want that because then i couldn‘t say, we couldn‘t answer the question about you being a target of
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the investigation. you didn‘t seem to bea the investigation. you didn‘t seem to be a string that question anyhow. senator rubio pointed out the one a nswered senator rubio pointed out the one answered on leaked question seems to have been that. —— on leaked. he said after you were dismissed you gave information to a friend so that friend could get the information into the public media. correct. what kind of information was that? what kind of information was that? what kind of information did you give to a friend? the flynn conversation, that the president had asked me, the conversation in the oval office. you didn‘t consider your memo or that sense of the conversation to be a government document. you considered it somehow to be your own personal documents that you could share with the media as you wanted to? correct. through a friend. i understood it to be my recollection recorded with the
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president as a private citizen. were all your memo is you recorded on classified or other document memos that might be yours is a private citizen? i don't follow the question. i think you said you used classified... not the classified documents. unclassified, idon‘t have them any more, but i gave in to the special counsel. the content of those unclassified, memorialised conversations were my recollection recorded. why didn't you give those to somebody yourself rather than give them through a third—party?” was worried that the media were camped at the end of my driveway at that point. i was going out of town with my wife to hide and i worried it was like feeding seagulls at the beach if it was i who gave it to the media. i asked beach if it was i who gave it to the media. iasked my beach if it was i who gave it to the media. i asked my friend to make sure it got out. it seems what you do there is make a source close to the former director of the fbi as opposed to taking responsibility
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yourself for saying, here are these records. like everybody else, i have other things i would like to get into, but i am out of time. first i would like to acknowledge senator blumenthal and earlier senator nelson. i think the one principal thing you will learn today is that the chairs over there are less comfortable than the ones here. i welcome you to the hearing. mr comey, a broad question, was the russian activity in the 2016th election a one—off proposition, or is this part of a long—term strategy? will they be back? it's a long—term practice of theirs. it has stepped up a notch in a significant weight in16, stepped up a notch in a significant weight in 16, they will be back.” think that's very important for the american people to understand. this is very much a forward—looking investigation in terms, how do we understand what they did and how we prevented. would you agree that's a big part of our role here? yes and
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it‘s not a republican or democratic thing. it‘s an american thing. they will come forward to the they choose to try and work on behalf. —— they will come for whatever party they choose. they will be back. just my observation, i don't think putin is a republican or democrat. he is an opportunist. that's a fair statement. with regards to several conversations, in his interview with leicester on nbc, the president said, i had dinnerwith him. he wanted to have dinner because he wanted to have dinner because he wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. is this accurate? no. did you in anyway initiated the dinner? no. he called me at my desk at lunchtime and asked me if i was free for dinner that night. he called himself said, can you come overfor called himself said, can you come over for dinner called himself said, can you come overfor dinner tonight. i called himself said, can you come over for dinner tonight. i said, yes. i think he said, will six o‘clock work but amok i said i would invite your whole family, but we will do that next time. he said is
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that a good time to stop i said whatever works for you. he said, how about 6:30pm? i said that works for me. i then had to call my wife and break a date with her. that's an all—time great excuse for breaking a dinnerdate! all—time great excuse for breaking a dinner date! in retrospect, i love spending time with my wife and i wish i had been there that night! that's one question i will not follow up. in the same interview the president said, in one case i called him and in one case he called me. is that accurate? no. did you ever call the president? no. the only reason i hesitate is that i think there was at least one conversation where i was asked to call the white house switchboard to be connected to him. but i never initiated a communication with the president. but i never initiated a communication with the presidentm his press conference on may 18 the president was asked whether he had urged you to shut down the invitation to michael flynn and the president responded no, no, next
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question. is that accurate?” president responded no, no, next question. is that accurate? i don't believe it is. with a question of him being personally under investigation, does that mean that the dossier is not being reviewed or investigated or followed up on in any way? i can't comment either way. i can‘t talk in an open setting about the investigation as it was when i was head of the fbi. its director robert mueller‘s responsibility now so i don‘t know. your statements to the president in those days when you assured him he wasn't under investigation, that was at that moment. correct. on the flynn investigation, isn't it true that mr flynn is and was a central figure in the investigation between the trump campaign and the russians. i can‘t answer that in an open setting. certainly mr flynn was part
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of the so—called russian investigation. can you answer that? i have to give you the same answer. we will have a closed session shortly, so we will follow up on that. in terms of his comments to you i think in response to senator rish, you said, i hope you will hold back on that, but when you get a president in the oval office, saying, i hope, i suggest, president in the oval office, saying, i hope, isuggest, or president in the oval office, saying, i hope, i suggest, orwould you, do you take that as a directive? yes. it rings in my ears as, will nobody rid me of this meddlesome priest?” as, will nobody rid me of this meddlesome priest? i wasjust going to quote that, 1170, henry the second, who will rid me of this meddlesome priest and the next day thomas a becket was killed. that's exactly the same situation and we are thinking along the same lines. several other questions, and these are more detail. what do you know about the russian bank veb. nothing
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ican about the russian bank veb. nothing i can talk about in an open setting. i know it exists. that takes care of my next three questions. what is the relationship of the ambassador from russia to the united states to the russian intelligence infrastructure ? he isa russian intelligence infrastructure ? he is a diplomat who is the chief of mission at the russian embassy which employs a robust cohort of intelligence officers, and so surely he is of some of their intelligence operations in the united states. i don‘t consider him an intelligence officer himself. he's a diplomat. did the fbi ever briefed the trump administration about the advisability of interacting directly with the ambassador? all i can say
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sitting here is that there are a variety of defensive briefings given to the incoming administration about the counterintelligence risk. closing out the flynn investigation have impeded the overall russian investigation? no... it's unlikely, except to the extent that there is a lwa ys except to the extent that there is always a possibility if you have a criminal case against someone and you bring them, squeeze them and you flip them, and they can give you information about something else. but i saw the two as touching each other but separate. with regard to your memos, isn't it true that in a court case when you are weighing evidence contemporaneous memos and contemporaneous statements to third parties are considered prohibitive in terms of the validity of testimony. yes. thank you, mr chairman. senator langford. director
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comey, good to see you. we have had multiple opportunities to see you, andi multiple opportunities to see you, and i appreciate you and your service and what you have done for the nation for a long time, as you continue to do. in the heat of last year when we had an opportunity to visit personally, i think of you and yourfamily visit personally, i think of you and your family because you carry a tremendous amount of stress. let me walk through a couple of things with you. your notes are exceptionally important because they give a rapid account of what you wrote down and what you perceive it happened in those different meetings. have you had opportunity to reference those notes when you were preparing the written statement you put for us today? yes. i think nearly all of my written recordings of conversations, i had written recordings of conversations, ihada written recordings of conversations, i had a chance to review them before filing my statement. do you have a copy of the notes personally?”
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don‘t. i turned them over to robert mueller‘s investigators. don‘t. i turned them over to robert mueller's investigators. the individual you told about the memos who sent them to the new york times, do they have a copy of those memos? they had a copy at the time. do they still have a copy of those memos? that‘s a good question. i think so but i can‘t say for sure sitting here. i don‘t know, but i think so. could you ask them to hand that copy to you so you could hand them over to you so you could hand them over to the committee? potentially. i would like to move that on from potential. -- i would like to move that on from potential. the written documents are exceptionally important. but other documents that we need to be aware of that you used in preparation for your written state m e nts in preparation for your written statements that we should have that would assist us? not that i'm aware of. the february 14 meeting was very
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important. the conversation is about michael flynn. when the president asked you about, he hopes you would let it go, the question back and forth about him being a good guy, after that time did the president bring up anything about michael flynn again to you? you have multiple conversations you documented with the president. i don‘t remember him bringing it up again. did any other white house staff talk to you about letting go of the michael flynn case or refer to that? no. did the director of national intelligence talk to you about that? no. did anybody from the department ofjustice ask you about that? no. did anyone from the nsa steve ? that? no. did anyone from the nsa steve? no. if the president is asking you to drop it, it seems like asking you to drop it, it seems like a light touch, the day after he has fired when, for him to say, i hope
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we can let this go, but then it never reappears again. did it slow down your investigation or any investigation that might or might not be occurring with michael flynn? i don‘t know if there are any other manifestations of the investigation between february 14 and when i was fired. i don‘t know that the president had any way of knowing whether it was effective or not. that‘s bad enough. if the president wa nted that‘s bad enough. if the president wanted to stop an investigation, how would he do that, knowing that it‘s an ongoing criminal investigation or counterintelligence investigation, would that be a matter of going to you and saying, you make it stop, because he doesn‘t have the authority? how would the president make an ongoing investigation stop? i‘m nota make an ongoing investigation stop? i‘m not a legal scholar, so smarter people can and cities better. but as a legal matter, the president is head of the executive branch is so goodin head of the executive branch is so good in theory direct, and we have imported norms against this, direct that anybody be investigated or not
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being investigated. he has the legal authority because all others in the executive branch ultimately reported a president. who would that be to? you, the attorney general? if he wa nted you, the attorney general? if he wanted to issue a direct order, i suppose he could do it in anyway. through the attorney general or issue directly to me. is there any question the president is not really fond of this investigation? i can think of multiple 140 character expressions to express he is not fond of the investigation. you‘re trying to keep the agents working on it away from any comments the president might have made when frankly the president has informed around 6 billion people that he‘s not real fond of this investigation. do you think there‘s a difference in that? yes. there's a big difference in taking superior officers out of the oval office and looking the
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director of the fbi in the eye and saying, i hope you let this go. i think our agents, as good as they are, heard the president of the united states say that, there would bea united states say that, there would be a real risk of effect on their work. that‘s why we kept it tight. without having to go into all the names and specific times of news accounts, have there been accounts about the russian investigation and collusion about this whole event or accusation, as you read the story you are stunned about how wrong they got the facts? yes, there have been many stories purportedly based on classified information about lots of stuff, but especially about russia, that just dead stuff, but especially about russia, thatjust dead wrong and stop i was interested in your comment you made that the president said to you dead wrong. i was interested in your comment you made that the president said ifany comment you made that the president said if any satellites were doing things wrong it would be good to find that out. if word was getting
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out i‘m not under investigation, but of people in my circle are, let‘s finish the investigation. is that how you took it? yes. you made a comment earlier about the attorney general previous asking you about the investigation on the clinton e—mails saying you had been asked not to call it an investigation any more, but to call it a matter. you said that confused you. can you give additional details on that? said that confused you. can you give additional details on that7m concerned me because we were at the point where we had refused to confirm the existence of an investigation for months, as we usually do, and it was getting to a place where that looked silly because the campaigns were talking about interacting with the fbi in the course of our work. the clinton campaign at the time was using all kinds of euphemisms, security review, matters, things like that, for things going on. we were getting toa for things going on. we were getting to a place where we were both going to a place where we were both going to have to testify and talk publicly about it and i wanted to know
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whether she would authorise us to confirm that we had an investigation, and she said yes, but not to call it an investigation but a matter. isaid, why not to call it an investigation but a matter. i said, why should not to call it an investigation but a matter. isaid, why should i not to call it an investigation but a matter. i said, why should i do that, and she said, just call it a matter. you look back in hindsight and you think, should i resist harder? it‘s not a hill worth dying. the press will completely ignore it, and that‘s what happened when i said we have opened a matter, they all reported, the fbi an investigation open. that concerned me because that language tracked the way the campaign was talking about the fbi‘s work, and that is concerning. campaign was talking about the fbi‘s work, and that is concerningm gave the impression that the campaign was somehow using the same language as the fbi because you were handed the language.” language as the fbi because you were handed the language. i don't know if it was intentional or not but it gave the impression the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way a political campaign was describing the same activity, which was inaccurate. we had a criminal
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investigation open at the fbi. that gave me a queasy feeling.” appreciate you very much being here. we st appreciate you very much being here. west virginia is a very interested party in this hearing today. i've had more than 600 requests of questions to ask you from my fellow we st questions to ask you from my fellow west virginians. most of them have been asked, and quite a few of them we re been asked, and quite a few of them were quite detailed. i want to thank you first of all for coming and are being agreeing to be here voluntarily. and also to the classic classified hearing. i don't know if you watched any of it yesterday, but it was quite troubling.” you watched any of it yesterday, but it was quite troubling. i saw some of it. my colleagues had questions that they wanted answering and they couldn't do it in the open setting. that makes us more appreciative of your cooperation. the seriousness of
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the russian aggressions in our past elections and knowing it would be ongoing, as senator king alluded to, what are your concerns there and what are your concerns there and what should american public understand? people say, why are we worried about this, why make a big deal out of the russian investigation. can you tell me your thoughts, and the final thing is on the same topic, did the president show any concern, interest or curiosity about the what the russians were doing?” curiosity about the what the russians were doing? i don't remember conversations with the present about the russian election interference. there was an initial briefings of our findings and there was conversation there, but i don‘t remember it exactly, he asked questions about what we found, what our sources were and our confidence levels, but after that i don‘t remember anything. the reason this is such a big deal, we have this big, messy, wonderful country where we fight with each other all the time, but nobody tells us what to think, what to fight about, what to
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vote for, except other americans. that‘s wonderful and often painful, but we are talking about a foreign government, using technical intrusion and lots of other methods to try to shape the way we think, vote, and act. that‘s a big deal. people need to recognise it. it‘s not about republicans and democrats. they are coming about america, which i hope we all love equally. they wa nt to i hope we all love equally. they want to undermine our credibility in the face of the world. they think this great experiment of ours is a threat to them so they will try to run it down and dirty it up as much as possible. that‘s what this is about and they will be back because we remain, as difficult as we can be with each other, we remain that shining city on the hill, and they don‘t like it. shining city on the hill, and they don't like it. this is extremely important and extremely dangerous with what we are dealing with. yes. do you believe there were any tapes or recordings of your conversation with the president? it didn't occur
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to me until the president‘s to it. i hope that there are. i would consent to their release. you both hope there are tapes and recordings? all ican do there are tapes and recordings? all i can do is hope. the president surely knows whether he taped me, and if he did, and my feelings are not hurt, release all the tapes. i‘m good with that. do you believe robert mueller, our new special investigator on russia will be thorough and complete without political intervention and would you be confident on his findings and recommendations? yes, robert mueller is one of the finest people in public service this country has ever produced. he will do it well. he is a dog—eared and tough person and you can have high confidence that when he‘s done he will have turned over all the rocks. we will be asking a high variety of questions today, and also in the classified hearing. something i often ask people when they come here, what details of this saga should we be focusing on and
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what would you recommend? if we were to subbing differently? 0r adjust our perspective on this?” to subbing differently? 0r adjust our perspective on this? i don't know. one of the reasons i‘m pleased to be here is because i think this committee has shown the american people, although we have two parties and disagree on important things, we can work together when it involves the core interests of the country. i hope you can keep doing what you‘re doing. it‘s good in and of itself, and also a model, especially for kids, that we are a functioning aduu kids, that we are a functioning adult democracy. you also mentioned six meetings, three times in person and three on the phone, nine times in conversation with the president, did he ever allude that you were not performing adequately, did he ever indicate that? know, in fact a contrary quite often. he called me one day when i was about to get on a helicopter. the da was waiting on a helicopter. the da was waiting on a helicopter for helicopter. the da was waiting on a helicopterfor me, helicopter. the da was waiting on a helicopter for me, and helicopter. the da was waiting on a helicopterfor me, and he said he called to check in and tell me i was doing an awesome job and ask me how
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i was doing. i said, i‘m doing fine serve. ifinished i was doing. i said, i‘m doing fine serve. i finished the call and i was doing. i said, i‘m doing fine serve. ifinished the call and got ona serve. ifinished the call and got on a helicopter. do you believe you would have been fired if hillary clinton had become president?‘ great question, i don‘t know. clinton had become president?‘ great question, i don't know. do you have any thoughts? i might have been. i don‘t know. i have said before, that was an extraordinarily difficult and painful time. before, that was an extraordinarily difficultand painfultime. i before, that was an extraordinarily difficult and painful time. i think idid difficult and painful time. i think i did what i had to do. i knew it would be very bad for me personally and the consequences might have been terminated if hillary clinton was elected. i don‘t know. terminated if hillary clinton was elected. i don't know. after february 14 meeting in the oval office, you said you asked attorney general sessions to make sure you we re never general sessions to make sure you were never left alone with the president. did you ever consider why is any general jeff president. did you ever consider why is any generaljeff sessions was not asked to stay in the room? -- white attorney generaljeff sessions. of
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course, idid attorney generaljeff sessions. of course, i did and have. you have never had a discussion with jeff sessions on this? i never have. in any of your meetings? no. did he ever show any enquiry whatsoever about the meeting? no. you are right, i did say to him, and i had forgotten this, i talked to him and said, you have to be between me and the president. that‘s incredibly important. i forget my exact words, but i passed along the president‘s message about aggressively pursuing lea ks of message about aggressively pursuing leaks of classified information. that‘s a goal i share and i passed it along to the attorney general, i think it was the next morning in our meeting, but i did not tell him about the michael flynn part. that‘s bob‘s job to sort that out. thank you, sir. this is continuing coverage where
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the former head of the fbi james comey is giving testimony under oath about his dealings with president trump. sure. you said that you did not record your conversations with president obama or president bush in memos, did you do so with attorney general sessions or any other senior member of the trump department of justice? no. i think... member of the trump department of justice? no. ithink... i'm sorry. did you record conversations in memos with nicenor members of the 0bama department ofjustice? memos with nicenor members of the obama department ofjustice? not that i recall. you cite nine private conversations with the president, three meetings and two phone calls. there are four phone calls not discussed in your record. what happened in those phone calls? the president called me, i believe, shortly before he was inaugurated, asa shortly before he was inaugurated, as a follow—up to our conversation,
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private conversation, onjanuary 6th. hejust private conversation, onjanuary 6th. he just wanted to reiterate private conversation, onjanuary 6th. hejust wanted to reiterate his rejection of the allegations and talk... he had thought about it more and why he thought it wasn‘t true the verified, unverified is a layingses part. during that call he asked me again, "i hope you‘re going to stay, you‘re doing a greatjob." i told him i to stay, you‘re doing a greatjob." itold him i intended to stay, you‘re doing a greatjob." i told him i intended to. another phone call i mentioned. i could have the date wrong, 1st march, he called just to check in with when i was about to get on a helicopter. its with a secure call about an operational matter not related to any of this. about something the fbi was working on. he wanted me to make sure how important he thought it was. a totally appropriate call. the fourth call... probably forgetting. i may have meant the call when he called to invite me to dinner. i‘ll think about it as i‘m answering questions. i think i got that right.
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let‘s turn our attention to the underlying activity at issue. russia hacking into those emails and releasing them and allegations of collusion. do you believe donald trump colluded with russia? it's a question i don‘t think i should a nswer question i don‘t think i should answer in an opening setting. when i left we didn‘t have an investigation focused on president trump. but that‘s a question that will be a nswered that‘s a question that will be answered by the investigation, i think. let me turn to a couple of state m e nts think. let me turn to a couple of statements by colleagues. the ranking member on this committee untiljanuary. ranking member on this committee until january. she ranking member on this committee untiljanuary. she helicopter access to information. she is now the senior democratic on the judiciary committee she has access to the fbi that most of us don‘t. on may 3rd, she was asked, "do you have evidence there was collusion" she answered "not at this time" on may 18th, "if you had seen evidence of the come
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lewes, you a re you had seen evidence of the come lewes, you are quoting me now, you said not at this time" has anything said? she said "well, no, it hasn‘t." do you have any reason to doubt those statements?” hasn‘t." do you have any reason to doubt those statements? i don't doubt those statements? i don't doubt the senator was saying what she understood. i don‘t want to go down that path because i‘m not in the government any more. answering in the negative, ijust worry it leads me deeper into talking about the investigation in an open setting. i want to be — i‘m trying to be fair not unfair to president trump. i‘m not trying to suggest by may answer. the new york times published a story, you were asked earlier if it was an inaccurate story. you said in the main. would it be fairto story. you said in the main. would it be fair to characterise that story as almost entirely wrong? yes. did you have at the time that story
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was published any indication of any contact between trump people and russians, intelligence officers, other government officials or closes associates of the russian government? one i can't answer sitting here. we can can discuss that in classified setting then. i wa nt to that in classified setting then. i want to turn attention to mr flynn and the allegations of his underlying conduct. to be specific, his alleged enter angst d interactions with the rush ambassador. there are other issues with mr flynn in receipt of money. i wa nt to with mr flynn in receipt of money. i want to speak about his interactions with the russian ambassador. there was a story onjanuary 23rd in the washington post that says, fbi reviewed flynn‘s calls with russian ambassador, but found nothing elicit. is this story accurate?”
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don‘t want to comment on that, senator. i‘m pretty sure the bureau has not confirmed any interception of communications. so i don‘t want to talk about that in an open setting. would it be improper for a national security adviser to have a conversation with a foreign ambassador? in my experience, no. but you can‘t confirm or deny that the conversation happened and we would need to know the contents of that conversation to know if it was in fact proper? i don't think i can talk about that in an open setting. i have been out of government now a month. i don‘t want to talk about things when it‘s now somebody else‘s responsibilities. maybe in the classified setting we can talk more about that. you stated earlier that there wasn‘t an open investigation of mr flynn in the fbi. did you or any fbi agent ever sense that mr flynn attempted to deceive you or made false statements to an fbi
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agent? i don't want to go too far. that was the subject of the criminal inquiry. did you ever come close to closing the investigation on mr flynn? i don't think i can talk about that in open setting either. we can discuss these more in the closed setting then. mr comey in 2004 you were part of a well publicised event about an intelligence programme that had been recertified several times you were acting attorney general when be attorney generaljohn ashcroft was incapacitated due to illness. there was a dramatic showdown at the hospital here the next day. you said that you wrote a letter of resignation and signed it before you went to meet with president bush to explain why you refused to certify it. is that accurate? yes, i think so. in any time you were the fbi director during the trump
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administration did you write or sign administration did you write or sign a letter of resignation on your desk. no sir. despite all of the things that you‘ve testified to here today, you didn‘t feel this rose to the level of honest but serious difference of legal opinion between accomplished and skilled lawyers in that 2004. episode?” accomplished and skilled lawyers in that 2004. episode? iwouldn't characterise the circumstances in 2004 that way. to ina, no, i didn‘t find, encounter any circumstance that led me to intend to resign, consider to resign. no sir. thank you. i want to thank you, you are now a private citizen and enduring a senate intelligence committee hearing. we get seven minutes instead of five to ask you questions. thank you. i'm between opportunities now. i'm sure you'll have future opportunities opportunities. . you and i are
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former prosecutors. i want to make a statement in my experience of prosecuting cases when a robber held a gun to somebody‘s head and said, "i hope you will give me your wallet" hope was not the operative word at that moment. you don‘t have to respond to that point. i have a series of questions to ask you. they will start with, are you aware of any meetings between the trump administration he officials and russian officials during the campaign that have not been acknowledged by those officials in the white house? that's not, even if i remember clearly, that‘s not a question i can answer in an opening setting. are you aware of associates of the campaign to hide their communications with russian officials through encrypted communications or other means? i have to give you the same answer. sure. if the course of the fbi‘s investigation did you come across
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anything that suggested that communications records, documents or other evidence had been destroyed?” think i have to give you the same answer. it would touch on investigative are you aware matters. of any efforts or potential efforts to conceal communications between campaign officials and russian officials? i auto have to give you the same answer, senator. thank you. asa the same answer, senator. thank you. as a former attorney general i have a series of questions about your connection with the attorney general during the course of your tenure as director. what is your understanding of the perimeters of general sessions recruisal from the russian investigation? i think it's described in a written release or statement from doj, i don‘t remember sitting here. the gist was he would be rescued from all matters relating to russia and the campaign or activities of russia and the 16 election, i think. activities of russia and the 16 election, ithink. something activities of russia and the 16 election, i think. something like that. is your knowledge of the extent of recusal based on the public statements he‘s made? correct. ok. was there any kind of
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memorandum issued from the attorney general or the department ofjustice to the fbi outlining the perimeters of his recusal? not that i'm aware of. do you know if he reviewed any fbi or doj documents pertaining to the investigation before he was rescued? i don't. i don't know. after he was reccussed, i‘m assuming it‘s the same answer. after he was reccussed, i‘m assuming it's the same answer. same answer. any notice or memorandum not set what mechanism was in place to ensure the attorney general would not have any connection with the investigation, to your knowledge?” don‘t know for sure. i know that he had consulted with career ethics officials, but i don‘t know. had consulted with career ethics officials, but i don't know. he recussed himself from the investigation. do you feel it was appropriate for him to be involved in the firing of chief investigator in that russian interference? it's a reason question. it‘s something i can‘t answer. it would depend on a
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lot of things i don‘t know. what did he know? what was he told? did he realise the president was doing because of the russian investigation. things like that. i don‘t know the answer. investigation. things like that. i don't know the answer. you have written that the president essentially asked you for a loyalty pledge. are you aware him making the same request of any other members of the cabinet? i'm not. do you know one way or another? i've never heard anything about it. you had the conversation where he hoped that you would let the flynn matter go on february 14th. or there abouts. would let the flynn matter go on february 14th. orthere abouts. it‘s my understanding that mr sessions was recussed from any involvement in the investigation about a full two weeks later. to your knowledge was the attorney general, did he have access to information about the investigation in those interim two weeks? i don't. .. in investigation in those interim two weeks? i don't... in theory, sure. he‘s the attorney general. i don‘t know whether he had any contact with
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any materials related to that. to your knowledge was there any directive he should not have any contact with any information about the russian investigation between the russian investigation between the february 14th date and the day he was ultimately recussed himself on 2nd march? not to my knowledge. i don‘t know one way or the another. did you speak to the attorney general before his recussal?” did you speak to the attorney general before his recussal? i don't think, so. do you know if anyone in the department, in the fbi, forwarded any documents or information or memos of any sort to the attention of the attorney general before his recussal” the attention of the attorney general before his recussal i don't know of any or remember any sitting here. it‘s possible, but! know of any or remember any sitting here. it‘s possible, but i don‘t remember any. do you know if the attorney general was involved in fa ct attorney general was involved in fact involved in any aspect of the russia investigation after his recussal on the 2nd march?” russia investigation after his recussal on the 2nd march? i don't. i would assume not. but i don‘t — let me say it this way. i don‘t know of any information that would led me to believe that he did something to
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touch the russian investigation after the recussal. in your written testimony you indicate that you, after you were left alone with the president, you mentioned that 2 it was inappropriate and should never happen again to the attorney general. apparently, he did not reply. you write that he did not reply. you write that he did not reply. what did he do? if anything? did hejust look at reply. what did he do? if anything? did he just look at you. was there a pause for a moment. what happened?” don‘t remember real clearly. i have a recollection of him looking at me. there is a danger i‘m projecting on to him. it might be a faulty memory. his body language gave me a sense of — what am i going to do. his body language gave me a sense of - what am i going to do. did he shrug? i don't remember clearing. i have a recollections like, what am i going to do i don‘t have a clear recollection of that. he didn‘t say anything. on the february 14th meeting you said you understood the president to be requesting that you
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drop the investigation. after that meeting however you received two calls from the president,man 30ed and april 11th where the president talked about a cloud over his presidency. has anything you‘ve learned in the months since your february 14th meeting changed your understanding of the president‘s request? i guess it would be what he has said in public documents or public per interviews? correct. ok. is there anything about this investigation that you believe is in a nyway investigation that you believe is in anyway biased or is not being informed by a process of seeking the truth? no. the appointment of a special counsel, given who that person is, great comfort to americans, no matter what your political affiliation is, that this will be done independently, co m pete ntly will be done independently, competently and honestly. do you believe he should have have authority to be able to pursue that investigation? yes. knowing him well, over the years,
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investigation? yes. knowing him well, overthe years, if investigation? yes. knowing him well, over the years, if there‘s something that he thinks he needs, he will speak up about it. do you believe he should have full independence? oh, yeah. he wouldn't be part of it if he wasn‘t going to get full independence. thank you. thank you, mr chairman. i will repeat what i‘ve said at previous hearings, that i believe you are a good and decent man who has been dealt a very difficult hand, starting back with the clinton email investigation. i appreciate your willingness to appear here today voluntarily and answer our questions and co—operate with our investigation. as a general matter, ifan fbi investigation. as a general matter, if an fbi agent has reason to believe that a crime has been committed, do they have a duty to report it? that's a good question. i don‘t know if there‘s a legal duty to report it. they certainly have a cultural, ethical duty to report it. you are unsure whether they would have a legal duty? it's a good
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question. i‘ve never thought about it. i don‘t know, there is a legal stature, knowing of a felony and taking steps to conceal it. this is a different question. so, look, let me be clear. i would expect any fbi agent who has information about a crime to report it. me too. as a general proposition, if you are trying to make an investigation go away, is firing an fbi director a good way to make that happen?m doesn‘t make a lot of sense to me. i‘m obviously hopelessly biased given i was the one fired!” understand it‘s personal. given i was the one fired!” understand it's personal. no. given the nature of the fbi. i meant what i say. no incompetent dispensable people at the world, including the fbi. lots of bad things me not being at the fbi, most are for me, the work will go on as before. nothing
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that happened that you testified to today impeded the investigation of the fbi or director muller‘s commitment to get to the bottom of this from the standpoint of the fbi and the department ofjustice. would you agree with that? correct. the appointment of former director muller is critical to that investigation. you have been cast as a hero or a villain, depending on whose political ox is being gored at many times during the clinton email investigation and even now, perhaps. you clearly were troubled by the conduct of the sitting attorney general when it came to the clinton email investigation. you mention the characterisation that you‘d been asked to accept that this was a matter and not a criminal investigation, which you said it was. there was the matter of president clinton‘s meeting on the
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tarmac with the sitting attorney general at a time when his wife was a subject to a criminal investigation. you suggested that perhaps there are other matters you may be able to share with us later on in may be able to share with us later onina may be able to share with us later on in a classified setting. but, it seems to me, you clearly believe that lore receipt it linch, the attorney general, hadden appearance ofa attorney general, hadden appearance of a conflict of interest on the clinton email investigation, is that correct? i think that's fair. i didn‘t believe she could credibly decline that investigation. at least not without grievous damage to the department ofjustice not without grievous damage to the department of justice and not without grievous damage to the department ofjustice and to the fbi. under department ofjustice and fbinorms, wouldn‘t it have been appropriate for the attorney general or, if she had recussed herself, which he did not do, forfor the deputy attorney general to appoint a session counsel. would that have been an appropriate step in the clinton email investigation?‘
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possible step, yes, sir. were awe aware she had been asked to appoint aware she had been asked to appoint a special counsel and refused ? members of congress had repeatedly asked. yours, truly did on multiple occasions. ok. that heightened your concerns about the appearance of a conflict. interest with the department of justice which caused you to make what you have described as an incredibly painful decision to, basically, take the matter up yourself and led to thatjuly press conference? yes, sir. after the president clinton, former president clinton met on the plane with the attorney general, i considered whether i should call for the appointment of a special counsel. auto decided it would been unfair thing to do. there was no case there. we investigated thoroughly. it's there. we investigated thoroughly. it‘s a subject of passionate disagreement. i knew there was no case there. calling for the
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appointment of special counsel would be brutally unfair it would send a message — there is something here. that is my judgment. message — there is something here. that is myjudgment. lots of people have different views. that is how i thought of it. if a special counsel was appointed they could have made that determination there was nothing there and declined to pursue it, right? sure. it would have been many months later or a year later. let me just ask you to... given the experience of the clinton email investigation and what happened there, do you think it‘s unreasonable for anyone, any president, who has been assured on multiple occasions he‘s not the subject of an fbi investigation, do you think it‘s unreasonable for them to wa nt you think it‘s unreasonable for them to want the fbi director to publicly announce that so that this cloud over his administration would be removed? i think that's a reasonable
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point of view, the concern would be, obviously, that boomerang comes back. it‘s going to be a very big deal. there will be a duty to we saw that correct. in the clinton email investigation of course. yes, i recall that. i know you do! so, let me ask you, finally, in the minute we have left. this conversation back—and—forth about loyalty. i think we all appreciate the fact that an fbi director is a unique public official, in the sense that he‘s a political appointee in one sense, but a duty of independences to pursue the law pursuant to the constitutional laws of the united states. so when the president asked you about loyalty, you got in this back—and—forth about, well, i‘ll pledge you my honesty. it looks like, from what i‘ve read, you agreed upon honest loyalty, something like that. is that the characterisation? yes. thank you very much. thank you, sir. thank
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you, mrchairman. very much. thank you, sir. thank you, mr chairman. thank you director comey. there have been press reports that the president, in addition to asking you to drop the flynn investigation, has asked other senior intelligence officials to ta ke ste ps senior intelligence officials to take steps which would tend to undermine the investigation into russia. there‘s been reports he‘s asked admiral rodgers to make public state m e nts asked admiral rodgers to make public statements exonerating him or take the pressure off him. also, reports about intervene and reach out to the fbi and ask them. are you aware of any of these, or do you have any information with respect to these allegations? i don't. i'm aware of the public reporting. but i had no contact or conversation with any of
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those leaders about that subject. thank you. you have testified that you interpreted the discussion with the president about flynn as a direction to stop the investigation, is that correct? yes. you've testified that the president asked you to lift the cloud by essentially making public statements exonerating him and perhaps others. you refused, correct? i didn't do it. i didn't refuse the president. i told mim we could see what we could do. the second time i called him in sick substance that is something your lawyer will have to take up with the justice department. part of the underlying logic, we discussed it many times throughout this morning, the duty to correct. that is one of a theoretical issue, but also very practical issue. was there... your feeling that the direction of the investigation could in fact include
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the president? well, in theory. i mean, as! the president? well, in theory. i mean, as i explained, the concern of one my senior leader colleagues was -if one my senior leader colleagues was — if you‘re looking at potential co—ordination between the campaign and russia, the person at the head of the campaign is the candidate, so logically this person argued the candidate‘s knowledge understanding, would logically become a part of your inquiry if it proceeds. so i understood that argument. my view was that what i said to the president was accurate and fair, and fairto him. i resisted president was accurate and fair, and fair to him. i resisted the idea of publicly saying it. if the justice department had wanted me to i would have done it because of the duty to correct and the slippery slope problem. you testified that the president asked you repeatedly to be on loyal to him. you respond you had would be honestly loyal. your way of
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saying i will be loyal, head of the fbi and independent, is that fair?” tried honest first. also, you have seenin tried honest first. also, you have seen in my testament. tried to explain to him why it‘s in his interest and every president‘s interest and every president‘s interest for the fbi to be apart in a way because its credibility is important to a president and to the country. so i tried to hold the line. hold the line. it got very awkward. i then said, "you‘ll always have honesty from me." he said "honesty loyalty" i ebbing seeded in a way to end this awkwardness. you are fired without any explanation or anything else? there was an explanation, ijust anything else? there was an explanation, i just don‘t anything else? there was an explanation, ijust don‘t buy it. well, yes. so you‘re fired. do you believe that you were fired because you refused to take the president‘s direction. is that the ultimate reason? i don't know for sure. i know i was fired. again, i take the president‘s words, i know i was fired because of something about the
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way i was conducting the russian investigation in some way putting pressure on him and some way irritating him. he decided to fire me because of that. i can‘t go further than that. the russian be investigation as you pointed out, as my colleagues have reflect liberal democrat, is one of the most serious, hostile acts against this country in our history undermining the very core of our democracy and our elections is not a discreet econvenient it will likely occur. it's econvenient it will likely occur. it‘s probably being prepared now for 18 and 20 and beyond. and yet, the president of the united states fires you because, in your own words "some relation to this investigation." then he shows up in the oval office with the russian foreign minister, first after classifying you as "crazy and a real nutjob" which i think you‘ve effectively disproved this morning he said "i face fresh
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pressure because russia has taken off." your conclusion would be that the president, i would think, is downplaying the seriousness of this threat. in fact, took specific steps to stop a thorough investigation of the russian influence and also, from what you‘ve said, or or what was said this morning, wasn‘t interested in these hostile threats by the russians. is that fair? i don't know ifi russians. is that fair? i don't know if i can agree to that level of detail. it‘s a fairjudge. it‘s my judgment i was fired because of the russian investigation. i was fired in some way to change, the endeavour was to change the way the russian investigation was being conducted. that is a very big deal. notjust because it involves me, the nature of the fbi and the nature of its work requires that it not be the subject of political consideration.
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on top of that, you have the russia investigation itself is vital because of the threat. i know i should have said this earlier, but it‘s obvious. in any americans were pa rt it‘s obvious. in any americans were part of helping the russians do that to us, that is a very big deal. i‘m confident if that is the case director muller will find that evidence. finally, the president tweeted that james comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversation before he starts leaking to the press." was that an an unsubtle attempt to intimidate you from testifying or anyone else who crosses his path of not doing it? i'm not going to sit here and try and interpret the president‘s tweets. to me it‘s major impact. it occurred to me in the middle of the night. holy, cow there might be tapes. if there are tapes, it‘s not just my word against his on the direction to get rid of the flynn
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investigation. thank you very much. senator mccain. in the case of hillary clinton, you made the statement that there wasn‘t sufficient evidence to bring a suit against her he although it had been very careless in their behaviour. but you did reach a conclusion in that case that it was not necessary to further pursue her. yet, at the same time, in the case of mr comey, you said that there was not enough information to make a conclusion. tell me the difference between your conclusion as far as former secretary clinton is concerned and
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mrtrump? the clinton investigation was a completed investigation which the fbi had been deeply involved in so i understood the facts and applied them against the law as i understood them. this investigation was underway, still going when i was fired, so it‘s nowhere near in the same place. but it still ongoing? correct, it was when i left. that investigation is going on, this investigation is going on, this investigation is going on, this investigation is going on, reaching separate conclusions. that one was done. did that investigation having the involvement of secretary clinton orany of the involvement of secretary clinton or any of her associates, that is completed? yes, as ofjuly the 5th, the fbi completed its investigative work and that is what i was announcing, what we had found. well, at least in the minds of this member
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there are questions about what meant an —— what went on, especially as you mentioned, it is a big deal, what went on in the campaign. so, glad you‘ve concluded that part of your investigation but i think that the american people have a whole lot of questions, particularly since you‘ve just emphasise the role that russia played. and obviously she was a candidate for president and the time, so she was clearly involved in this whole situation where fake news, as you described it, a big deal. you‘re going to have to help me out here. complete the investigation of anything former secretary clinton had to do with the campaign is overand secretary clinton had to do with the campaign is over and we don‘t have to worry any more but our client
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little confused, with respect to secretary clinton we conclude the investigation regarding her use of a personal server. i understand. at the same time you made the announcement, there would be no charges brought against them secretary clinton for any activities involved in the russian involvement and our engagement in the election. i don‘t quite understand how you can be done with that but not completely done with the whole investigation and their attempt to affect the outcome of our election. no, i'm sorry, at least when my left, when i was fired on may the 9th it was still an active investigation to understand the russian efforts and whether any americans worked with them. he reached the conclusion that there was no reason to bring charges against secretary clinton. so you reached a conclusion in the case of
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mr comey. .. reached a conclusion in the case of mr comey... president comey... the case of president tram, you have and make ongoing investigation. so you have one investigation you are done with and one candidate where you have a long way to go. is that correct? i don't know how far the fbi has to go but the clinton e—mail investigation was completed, the investigation was completed, the investigation of russia‘s efforts regarding the election and whether there was any coordination between russia and the campaign was ongoing asi russia and the campaign was ongoing as i left. you made it clear that this is a "big deal". it‘s hard to reconcile in one case, you reach a com plete reconcile in one case, you reach a complete conclusion and the other side, you have not. obviously there isa side, you have not. obviously there is a lot more there, as we know, as you called it a big deal. she‘s one of the candidates but in her case
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you say that they would be no charges and in the case of president trump, the investigation continues. what has been brought out in this hearing, there is more and more emphasis on the russian engagement and involvement in this campaign. how serious do you think this was? very serious. i‘m going to be clear, we haven‘t announced and there was no predication to announce an investigation of whether the russians may have coordinated with secretary clinton‘s campaign. russians may have coordinated with secretary clinton's campaign. there may not have been involvement but they were involved with the entire presidential campaign, obviously. they were involved with the entire presidential campaign, obviouslym course, yes, sir. that is an investigation that began last summer and as faras investigation that began last summer and as far as i‘m aware continue. investigation that began last summer and as far as i'm aware continue. so both president trump and former candidate clinton are both involved in the investigation, yet one of
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them you said there would be no charges and the other one, the investigation continues. i think there is a double standard, to tell you the truth. when the president said to you, you talked about the april 11 phone call, he said "i‘ve been very loyal to you, we had that thing, you know." did that arouse your curiosity, what that thing was? yes. why didn't you ask him? it didn‘t seem important for the conversation to understand it. i took it to be an effort to communicate to me that there is a relationship between us where i‘ve been good to you, you should be good to me. i think what intensely aroused my curiosity, if the president of the united states head we had that thing, i would like to know what that is, especially if i‘m the director of the fbi.” know what that is, especially if i‘m the director of the fbi. i get that, senator. this is speculation but
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what i concluded is that he was searching in his memory back to our encounter at the dinner and was preparing himself to say that i promised loyalty to him and his memory showed that it did not happen and people up short. i‘ve had a lot of conversations over the years. why would have had some curiosity if it had been about me, to be honest —— i would have had some curiosity. do you believe that the president and members of the administration, members of the administration, members of the campaign, could potentially be used to coerce the administration? that is a subject for investigations, not something i can comment on, sitting here. but you reached that conclusion as far as secretary clinton was concerned, but you‘re not reaching a conclusion as far as this administration is concerned? are you aware of anything
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that would lead you to believe that information exists that could coerce members of the ministries and or blackmail the administration? that's not a question i can answer —— members of the administration. time has expired for the hearing. we will reconvene promptly at 1pm in the hearing room. we have a vote scheduled for 1:45pm. i would suggest that all members promptly attend at 1pm. we have about three minutes. i would like to have order. photographers, return to where you work, please. this hearing is not adjourned yet. —— to where you were. members, we have the minutes of
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updates we would like to cover. we will have an opportunity to spend time with director comey. it would be my intention to adjourn the closed hearing between 2pm and ten minutes past for you to vote. jim, several of us on the committee have had the opportunity to work with you since you walked in the door. i want to say personally on behalf of the committee members, we are grateful to your service to the country not just in the capacity as fbi director but prosecutor and more importantly, being somebody that loves this country enough to tell it like it is. i want to save workforce that we are grateful to them, the level of cooperation they have shown to us, with the trust we felt between both organisations, the congress and the bureau. we couldn't do ourjob if it
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wasn't for their willingness to share candidly with us the work that we need to see. this hearing is the ninth public hearing this committee has had this year. that is twice the historical year—long average of this comedy. the vice—chairman and my's biggest challenge with this investigation has concluded, to return our hearings to the secrecy ofa return our hearings to the secrecy of a closed hearing, to encourage our members not to freely talk about intelligence matters publicly, and to respect the fact that we have a huge job, to represent the entire body of the united states senate and the american people, to make sure that we work with the intelligence community to provide you with the tools to keep america safe and that you do it within the legal limit,
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limits set by the executive branch. we could not do if it —— do it if not for the trusted partnership that you have been able to lead and others before you. so as we depart from this, we are grateful to you for the professionalism you've shown and your willingness.” for the professionalism you've shown and your willingness. i want to echo the thanks for your appearance. clearly there remain a number of questions. one thing i want to commit to you and the chairman will commit to you and the chairman will commit to you and the chairman will commit to all those who are still potentially watching and following, there are still a lot of unanswered questions and we're going to get to the bottom of this. the american people deserve to know. there are questions around implications of trump officials and the russians and also the issue of what the russians did and continue to do. it's very
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important that all americans realise the threat is real, it is continuous, notjust towards the threat is real, it is continuous, not just towards our nation, towards all western democracies and we must come to a solution. director comey, thank you. this hearing is adjourned. so, that is the end of that hearing, that long—awaited hearing, really. the former head of the fbi, james comey, giving his testimony under oath about his dealings with president trump. now, let‘s get the thoughts of our washington correspondent, laura baker, who joins of our washington correspondent, laura baker, whojoins us from washington. your analysis, it was fascinating, electrifying at times, but is it the smoking gun that mr trump‘s opponents are looking for? well it fell into some kind of partisan politics when

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