Former FBI chief James Comey will testify before Congress on June 8.
James Comey is expected to say that President Donald Trump wanted a “patronage relationship” and asked for his “loyalty”.
According to his opening statement, James Comey will also testify the president asked him to drop an inquiry into fired National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.
The former FBI chief says President Trump called the Russian probe “a cloud” over him.
James Comey also says he had told Donald Trump three times he was not under scrutiny, confirming the president’s account.
Reacting to the prepared testimony on June 7, President Trump’s private legal counsel on the Russia inquiry, Marc Kasowitz, said the president was “pleased” James Comey had confirmed he was not in investigators’ crosshairs.
“The president feels completely and totally vindicated,” Donald Trump’s lawyer said.
Two national security officials, NSA Director Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, earlier testified to senators that they never felt pressured by the White House to do anything illegal.
However in today’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, James Comey will detail how President Trump made him uncomfortable during a series of encounters leading up to the FBI director’s firing on May 9.
It is one of several congressional panels that, along with the Justice Department, is investigating US intelligence assessments that Russian hackers meddled in last November’s presidential election in an effort to help Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton.
The inquiries are also investigating whether any Trump campaign officials colluded with the alleged Kremlin plot, which Moscow has repeatedly denied.
According to seven pages of prepared testimony, James Comey will say his first meeting with President Trump occurred on January 6 in a conference room at Trump Tower, where Comey briefed him alone on “salacious and unverified” allegations about him.
A dossier compiled by a former British intelligence official had claimed the Russian security services possessed compromising material on Donald Trump, including that he had been recorded consorting with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel.
James Comey’s says the president “expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them” during a subsequent meeting.
That denial came in a one-to-one dinner on January 27 at the White House, James Comey will say, adding that he had a “very awkward conversation” with the president that evening.
Donald Trump asked the FBI director during the discussion in the Green Room whether he wanted to stay in his job, James Comey will testify.
He will say he found this “strange” because President Trump had already told him twice in earlier conversations that he hoped he would not step down.
James Comey will testify the question “concerned me greatly” because he felt the dinner was an effort to “create some sort of patronage relationship”.
The former FBI director will say: “A few moments later, the president said, <<I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.>>
“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.”
In testimony, James Comey will detail his next encounter with President Trump, during a meeting attended by intelligence chiefs at the White House on February 14.
The president asked James Comey to stay at the end of the Oval Office meeting and told him: “I want to talk about Mike Flynn.”
President Trump accepted Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser just 24 days into the job after he misled the White House about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
James Comey will say President Trump told him: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy.”
The former FBI director will testify that he offered no such assurance.
James Comey will also say the president phoned him on March 30 and said the Russia investigation was “a cloud that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country”.
He will testify that President Trump “said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia”.
James Comey will say he assured Donald Trump during their discussions on January 6, January 27 and March 30 that the president himself was not under investigation.
He will testify that President Trump told him during the March 30 phone call: “We need to get that fact out.”
James Comey will say President Trump phoned him again on April 11 to press him on this matter. It was the last time they spoke.
He will say he told the president the White House should contact the Department of Justice.
The former FBI director notes that he spoke with President Barack Obama only twice during the more than three years that their time in office overlapped.
However, James Comey can recall nine one-on-one conversations with Donald Trump in four months, three in person and six on the phone.