James Comey testimony: Trump pressed me to shut down Michael Flynn investigation

WASHINGTON —  Former FBI director James Comey confirmed in stunning detail Wednesday that President Trump privately requested his loyalty and later urged him to drop the investigation into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to a preview of his highly anticipated testimony. Comey outlined nine contacts with the president in a seven-page opening statement filed with the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he is due to speak publicly Thursday for the first time since he was abruptly fired in May in the midst of a widening FBI investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with Russian officials who sought to influence the presidential election by hacking Democrats. These contacts included a hastily-arranged Jan. 27 dinner in which Trump made an unusual request to the FBI chief overseeing the Russia inquiry: “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’’ “I didn’t move, speak or change my facial expression any way during the awkward silence that followed,’’ Comey said of the exchange. “We simply looked at each other in silence.” Later, in a Feb. 14 meeting at the White House, Comey said Trump strongly defended Flynn, saying that his former national security adviser “hadn’t done anything wrong’’ in his prior contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn had been fired one day prior for lying to administration officials about his communications with Kislyak. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go,’’ Comey said, quoting the president. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.’’ Alarmed by the exchange, Comey said he prepared… [Read full story]

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