In explosive testimony delivered to US lawmakers yesterday, former FBI director James Comey accused the US President Donald Trump of telling lies after firing him last month.
Comey was speaking to the senate intelligence committee to give evidence as part of their investigation of Russia’s alleged interference with the US election.
He said he had taken detailed notes of a January meeting in which Trump said he expected “loyalty” from Comey, because he felt the President might later lie about the discussion between the two.
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Trump’s administration chose to “defame” him and the FBI, Comey said, using “lies, plain and simple”.
He also revealed that in February Trump asked him to drop an FBI probe into Michael Flynn, the national security advisor who quit over his contacts with the Kremlin.
Comey did not accuse Trump of obstruction of justice, but said he felt directed to end the Flynn investigation.
More details about the Russian involvement with Trump’s election emerged yesterday afternoon; Comey has said that in the summer of 2015, there was a “massive effort” to target hundreds of government agencies through cyber attacks.
In a written statement prior to his testimony, Comey said Trump asked him at the end of March to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation.
But Comey did clarify that when he was heading up the FBI the President himself was not under investigation.
In a statement, Trump’s private lawyer Marc Kasowitz said: “The president is pleased that Mr Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russia probe. The President feels completely and totally vindicated.”
Comey was fired by Trump last month, just three and a half years into his term as FBI director, which was set to last 10 years. Trump’s administration claimed Comey was fired for how he handled the inquiry into Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton’s emails.