Former FBI Director James Comey has wrapped up his public testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which he pointed out three situations where his version of events contradicts that of the White House and President Donald Trump.
Comey’s official statement for the record, submitted to the committee the day before the public hearing, chronicles two separate conversations with the president that contradict statements made by the White House.
A third contradiction was made clear during Comey's Senate hearing this morning.
Comey alleges Trump asked him to "let this go" when it came to Flynn
In his statement, Comey wrote about a Feb. 14 meeting alone with the president in the Oval Office in which Trump allegedly told Comey he wanted to talk about former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had resigned the day before.
“[Trump] then said, ‘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.’ I replied only that ‘He is a good guy,’” Comey wrote.
In a press conference on May 18, Trump was asked if he had ever urged Comey "in any way, shape or form" to back off the investigation into Flynn. He said flatly: "No. No. Next question."
The alleged loyalty pledge
Comey’s statement and expected testimony also appear to contradict White House assertions on that Trump never demanded Comey’s loyalty during their private encounters, as described by sources in recent news reports.
In a one-on-one dinner at the White House on Jan. 27, Comey alleges in his statement that the president mentioned that his job was in high demand and asked whether he wanted to stay on as FBI director, despite two prior conversations in which Comey says he had assured the president that he intended to stay.
“My instincts told me ... the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship,” Comey wrote.
Comey said that the president told him, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty” during the dinner. Trump allegedly later said again, “I need loyalty,” to which Comey replied, “You will always get honesty from me.”
But during a White House press briefing on May 12, press secretary Sean Spicer rejected the notion that Trump ever asked Comey to pledge loyalty.
When asked directly if the president asked Comey to pledge his loyalty during the January dinner, Spicer responded: “No.”
The reporter followed up: “How important is it that the FBI director be loyal to the president?”
Spicer said, “I think the president wants loyalty to this country and to the rule of law.”
Who called whom
During a March 11 interview with NBC News' Lester Holt, Trump detailed some of his phone conversations with Comey.
"In one case I called him and in one case he called me," Trump said.
Comey contradicted that point today, saying that he never initiated a phone conversation with Trump but returned a requested call.
When asked directly if he ever called the president, Comey said "No I might -- the only reason I'm hesitating, I think there was at least one conversation where I was asked to call the White House switchboard to be connected to him. But I never initiated a communication with the president."