Comey says Trump asked him for loyalty — and Comey took that to mean Trump wanted something in exchange for him staying in the job pic.twitter.com/3wQRTkUUfI
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 8, 2017
James Comey revealed that he felt President Donald Trump wanted “something in exchange” for granting the former FBI director’s request to keep his job, which he described in a number of meetings between the two.
In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, Comey detailed his nine meetings and phone calls with Trump, who repeatedly asked him if he wanted to keep his job, which is typically held for a 10-year term.
Comey revealed that he felt a dinner on January 27 in the White House was an effort to establish some sort of “patronage” relationship between the president and the FBI director, who was at the time investigating Trump’s campaign ties to Russia.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia told Comey during the hearing that “the president seems, from my reading of your memo, to be holding your job, or your possibility of continuing your job, over your head in a fairly direct way.”
“What was your impression and what did you mean by this notion of a patronage relationship?” Warner asked.
“My impression — and again, it’s my impression, I could always be wrong — but my common sense told me that what was going on is, either he had concluded, or someone had told him that ‘you’ve already asked Comey to stay, and you didn’t get anything for it,’ and that the dinner was an effort to build a relationship.” Comey started.
“In fact, he asked specifically of loyalty, in the context of asking me to stay,” he said.
Comey added that Trump was persistent in asking him to stay on: “As I said what was odd about that, is we’d already talked twice about it by that point, and he’d said, ‘I very much hope you’ll stay. I hope you’ll stay.'”
The former intelligence officer then recalled a further example of Trump commenting on his job: “and I just remembered sitting here, a third one. You’ve seen the picture of me walking across the Blue Room, and what the president whispered in my ear was, ‘I really look forward to working with you.'”
That was “the Sunday after the inauguration,” Comey explained. “The next Friday, I have dinner, and the president begins by wanting to talk about my job. So I’m sitting there thinking, well wait a minute, three times you’ve already asked me to stay, or talked about me staying.”
Comey concluded: “My common sense told me what’s going on here is he’s looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job.”
According to Comey, Trump also asked for his “loyalty” during their private meetings, and also said he hoped the FBI director would close the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Watch above, via MSNBC.
[image via screengrab]
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