Fired FBI Director James Comey testifies before Senate intel committee
WASHINGTON D.C. (KUSI) — Fired FBI director James Comey faced the Senate intelligence committee Thursday giving an anticipated testimony on the investigation into the Trump Administration and their ties to Russia.
While under oath, Comey accused the administration of attempting to defame him and the Federal Bureau of Investigations during his opening statement. Comey told the committee the administration’s claims that the FBI was disorganized and in chaos while under Comey "were lies, plain and simple."
"The administration chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI," he said.
Comey also explained how the administration’s decision to fire him "confused" and "concerned" him.
"He had repeatedly told me I was doing a great job and he hoped I would stay," Comey said. "So it confused me when I saw on television the president told me that he actually fired me because of the Russia investigation."
One day prior, Comey released his opening statement detailing his conversations with the President, intel chiefs were grilled on Capitol Hill and President Trump tweeted his pick for a new FBI Director.
Part of the news Washington was expecting Thursday, came Wednesday.
Comey said the President put him in situations that concerned him greatly in his statement released Wednesday. He said it was why he decided to document every meeting he had with the President.
In his statement, he describes President Trump asking him privately to end any probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn related to conversations with the Russian ambassador.
Comey quotes Trump as saying, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go."
Comey’s statement also describes two phone calls in which Trump urged him to publicly declare Trump was not personally under investigation.
Meanwhile, America’s top intelligence officials were on Capitol Hill to answer questions about privacy, but the Senate committee wanted to know about their private conversations with the president and whether Trump pressured them to downplay the Russia Investigation.
"I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate," said Adm. Michael Rogers Ret. NSA Director.
The NSA director, the acting FBI director, the deputy attorney general and the director of National Intelligence all broadly denied they had been pressured to do anything inappropriate.
"I am asking if you have been asked by anyone?" Sen. Marco Rubio asked.
"I understand but I’m not going to go down that road in public forum," said Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence.
But all four declined to answer specifically whether they’d been asked.
"They didn’t really give a legal basis to decline to say," said Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst.
Meanwhile, the president used his Twitter account to name Comey’s replacement — former DOJ Official Christopher Wray.
Wray served as assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.
He also served as Chris Christie’s personal attorney during the Bridgegate Investigation and graduated from Yale Law School.