Comey to Congress: President Trump told him 'I need loyalty'

Ousted FBI Director James Comey is set to speak before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday and his prepared opening statement has been released to the public.

Comey said that on January 6 he met with then-President-Elect Trump in a conference room at Trump Tower, asked to do so by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper because Comey was staying on while Clapper was retiring.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director further detailed a mid-February counter-terrorism briefing in the Oval Office where he said Trump discussed Flynn, who had recently resigned.

Comey's first meeting with Trump, who was then the President-elect, took place on January 6 in a Trump Tower conference room in New York City, according to the remarks. "I hope you can let this go, '" Comey says, according to the prepared remarks. "Director Comey's testimony reconfirmed what the president has been saying all along - he was never under investigation".

Mr Comey added that it was "very concerning" when Mr Trump asked him to back off an investigation of former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

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Both Coats and Rogers are testifying before the Senate committee on Wednesday, as well as Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. "Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI's role as an independent investigative agency", he said.

In another discussion, a phone call on March 30, Comey said Trump described the overall Russian Federation probe as "a cloud" that made it hard for him to lead the country.

The 7 page document details several meetings with President Donald Trump, many of which appear to show a President confused by the chain of command.

Comey said he "could be wrong" about that interpretation of Trump's comments. "We have now moved beyond a prima facie case of obstruction (of justice) to a persuasive one". In the end: "During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on (Trump's) reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance". President Trump is reportedly planning to do the same.

Washington lawyer Bradley Moss told Sky News that Mr Comey's notes on the Flynn issue could cause a problem for the President.

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"It shows the president was doing everything he could to shut down the Flynn investigation", said Andrew Wright, a professor of criminal law at Savannah Law School. Comey said he told Trump "you will always get honesty from me".

"I responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn't find anything, to our having done the work well".

Trump asked him to "lift the cloud" created by the Russian Federation probe because it was impeding his legislative agenda.

CNN incorrectly reported Tuesday that Comey would refute Trump's claim that Comey told him three times he was not under investigation personally.

Comey said Trump also made reference to being "loyal" and that the two had "that thing, you know" though he did not know what it referred to.

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The following month, after Comey had publicly revealed the existence of a federal counterintelligence investigation into ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, Trump complained that the probe had left a "cloud" that was "impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country".

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