President Donald Trump lied both about the circumstances of his dismissal and the status of the FBI, former FBI Director James Comey said in nearly three hours of testimony Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Whose version of events that led to the firing of former FBI Director James Comey do you believe?
President Donald Trump
Truth is somewhere in between their versions
Comey, a former Westport resident, said Trump lied to the American public when the president said the FBI had lost confidence in Comey and was in disarray before Trump fired him.
“Those were lies, plain and simple,” Comey said. "I am so sorry the FBI workforce had to hear them."
The White House was misleading the public when it initially said Comey was fired because of his job performance and because of his controversial handling of the investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's email server, Comey also said.
In an interview with NBC News, Trump himself cited the investigation into possible collusion with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign as the reason for the firing.
“He [Trump] had repeatedly told me I was doing a great job and he hoped I would stay,” Comey said. “He told me repeatedly he had talked to lots of people about me including our current attorney general and had learned I was doing a great job and was extremely well-liked by the FBI.”
“It confused me when I saw the president on TV saying he actually fired me because of the Russian investigation. I was also confused by the initial explanation offered publicly that I was fired because of decisions I’d made during the election… That didn’t make any sense to me.”
Moments after Comey completed his public testimony, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in an informal gathering with reporters, "No, I can definitely say the president is not a liar and I think it's frankly insulting that question would be asked."
.A transcript of Comey's prepared testimony was released late Wednesday afternoon.
In the statement, Comey detailed what he wrote in notes from one-on-one meetings with Trump. In the statement, Comey confirmed Trump asked Comey to pledge loyalty to him and also asked Comey to drop the investigation into fired former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
After that revelation was first made, Trump tweeted that Comey had better hope there were not audiotapes of their conversations.
"Lordy, I hope there are tapes," said Comey, adding that he would approve of them being immediately released.
Trump has not yet commented or tweeted on Comey's testimony. His son, Donald Jr., posted numerous tweets on the testimony, including one saying, "Very far from any kind of coercion or influence and certainly not obstruction!"
Trump also reportedly called Comey a "nut job" in a meeting with Russian diplomats the day after the firing, saying the move would "ease pressure" on the Russian investigation.
Comey, who was counsel for Westport-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, was chosen by then-President Barack Obama to head the FBI in 2013 for a 10-year appointment.