James Comey testified to Congress in a public session of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, June 8, at 10 am Eastern. It was his first time speaking on the matter publicly since he left his position.
Comey’s prepared testimony was released the day before he testified. In it, he recounts how President Donald Trump requested a pledge of loyalty from him at a one-on-one dinner between the president and the then-FBI director. He also describes an instance when the president dismissed his other advisers so he could be alone with Comey to bring up the investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and ask Comey to “let this go.”
During Thursday’s hearing, Comey did not read from his prepared testimony but rather supplemented and answered questions from members of Congress present. He alleged that Trump “told lies, plain and simple” with regard to why Comey was fired. Comey explained that he took memos after each conversation he had with President Trump because he “was honestly concerned [Trump] might lie.” Comey also said he interpreted Trump’s “hope” that he would let the investigation into Flynn go as a “direction.” And he unequivocally confirmed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Comey’s public testimony was followed by a private closed-door committee session with Comey the same day.
The catalyst for Comey’s testimony came in May when the Senate Intelligence Committee sent Comey a letter asking him to testify in front of both open and closed sessions of the committee. Another letter from the Senate committee, which is co-chaired by Burr and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe for all “notes or memorandum” Comey may have left about conversations with the White House over the FBI’s Russia investigation.
JUST IN: Senate Intel Committee asks James Comey to testify in open and closed hearings, requests FBI hand over Comey's notes and memos pic.twitter.com/YAVpaAx8K4— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 17, 2017
These requests followed the New York Times’s revelation that Comey left notes detailing that Trump asked him to close down the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Flynn.