Former FBI director James Comey appeared before a Senate panel on Thursday, June 8, to testify about his private conversations with President Donald Trump.
Comey, 56, released a written statement on Wednesday that detailed five times he had met or spoken with Trump, 70, before he was abruptly fired in May. Senators came prepared with questions related to his statement.
Here are five of the biggest revelations from Comey’s hearing.
1. Comey claims Trump’s administration “defamed” him.
In his opening statement at the hearing, Comey said the White House “chose to defame” him and the FBI by “saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led. that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader.” He called the claims “lies, plain and simple.”
2. Comey admitted to leaking a memo to the press.
He said that he leaked his memo about his February 14 conversation with Trump to the press through a friend at Columbia University Law School. “My judgment was I needed to get that out into the public square. So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter,” he said. “I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel, so I asked a close friend of mine to do it.”
3. Comey said he kept written records of his conversations with Trump in case the president later lied about the meetings.
Comey explained why he kept notes on all his interactions with the ex-Apprentice host. “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, or the president-elect, soon to be president,” he said. “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it important to document.”
4. Comey has “no doubt” Russia interfered in the election.
Senator Richard Burr asked, “Do you have any doubt that the Russian government was behind the intrusions” of the email accounts of the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign? Comey replied, “No, no doubt.” The former FBI director also said he had “no doubt” that the Russian government was aware of the meddling. However, he said he was “confident” that no ballots were altered during the 2016 presidential election.
5. Comey says he’s not sure if there are any tapes.
The former FBI head said he’s unsure if Trump recorded any of their meetings, but that he hopes there are tapes. “It never occurred to me until the president’s tweets,” Comey said, referencing a May tweet in which Trump says Comey “better hope” there aren’t tapes. “Lordy, I hope there are tapes. … Release all the tapes. I’m good with it.”
After the hearing, Trump’s attorneys responded to Comey’s claims in a statement. “Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told the President privately; The President was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference,” the statement read, per CNN. “He also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference.”
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