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In this combination photo, President Donald Trump, left, appears in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 10, 2017, and FBI Director James Comey appears at a news conference in Washington on June 30, 2014. Comey is making his first public comments since being fired by President Donald Trump and, according to his prepared remarks, will talk about the president's efforts put the investigation behind him. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, left, and Susan Walsh, File)

President Trump feels 'vindicated' by ex-FBI director James Comey's opening statement


UPDATED June 7, 6:12 p.m. EST:

President Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz applauded former FBI director James Comey's account of his conversations with the 45th commander-in-chief, saying that he "is pleased that Mr. Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russia probe," according to CBS News.

The statement continues, saying that Trump "feels completely and totally vindicated" and that "he is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda."

One day shy of former FBI director James Comey's highly-anticipated testimony on Capitol Hill, the Senate Intelligence Committee released his opening statement on Wednesday. The lengthy seven-page statement offers a glimpse into some of Comey's interactions with President Trump before, as well as after, he assumed office on January 20th.

Witnesses typically are required to submit their testimony 24 hours in advance. Comey is expected to speak before the Senate Intelligence Committee at 7 a.m. EST on Thursday. 

Comey released an opening statement one day before his testimony
The lengthy seven-page statement offers a glimpse into some of Comey's interactions with President Trump before, as well as after, he assumed office on January 20th.

January 6, 2017

Comey first met then-President Elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York along with other intelligence community officials to brief him on an assessment concerning Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election. At the conclusion of that briefing, Comey remained alone with Truump to brief him on "some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled during the assessment." 

According to the statement, the intelligence community thought it was important to alert the incoming president about the existence of material, even though it was "salacious and unverified." Comey was requested to conduct the briefing alone because he was staying gin his position and "because the material implicated the FBI's counter-intelligence responsibilities."

Comey also discussed with intelligence officials whether or not he should be prepared to assure Trump that they were not investigating him personally. They agreed that he should "if circumstances warranted."

January 27, 2017

Trump invited Comey to dinner at the White House. During the meet, Trump asked the former FBI director if he wanted to stay on in the position.

He continued, "...which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to."

During their conversation, Comey said he reminded Trump of his political independence.

"A few moments later, the President said, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,' Comey wrote. "I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner."

Moving on to the "salacious material" Comey had briefed Trump on earlier in the month, the former FBI director, in his memo, said that Trump expressed his "disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them."

President Trump feels 'vindicated' by ex-FBI director James Comey's opening statement

WATCH | President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in early May. How did we get here?

February 14, 2017

Following a counter-terrorism briefing at the Oval Office with six others, Trump asked Comey to stay behind so he could speak to him.

"...the President began by saying, 'I want to talk about Mike Flynn.'"

One day earlier, Flynn resigned from the top post at the NSA.

According to the statement, Trump repeatedly defended Flynn, saying "he is a good guy" and hasn't done "anything wrong on his calls with the Russians."

"'I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,'" Trump said to Comey.

"I did not say I would 'let this go,'" Comey wrote.

After the meeting, Comey spoke with Attorney General Jeff Sessions in person. During their conversation, Comey "took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me."

This part of the statement confirms a New York Times report released yesterday in which Comey confronted Sessions about his interactions with the 45th commander-in-chief.

March 30, 2017

Trump called Comey at the FBI where he described the Russia investigation as "a cloud" that was impairing his ability to lead the country. He reaffirmed his independence from Russia and asked what they could do to "lift the cloud."

Comey reassured the president that he was investigating as quickly as possible. 

April 11, 2017

On the morning of April 11, Trump called Comey to asked what he had done about his request to "get out" that he is not personally under investigation. Comey replied that he had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but didn't hear back. When Trump suggested he have his people reach out to the deputy official, Comey reminded Trump that it was the White House Counsel's responsibility to contact the DOJ leadership to make the request.

The statement continued, "[Trump] said he would do that and added, 'Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.'"

This was Comey's last interaction with President Trump.

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