Fired FBI Director James Comey today said that President Donald Trump asked him for a pledge of loyalty and told him to drop an inquiry into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.
"The President began by saying Flynn hadn't done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but he had to let him go because he had misled the Vice President. He added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify," Comey said in remarks posted on the website of the Senate intelligence committee.
Comey,56, is scheduled to give his testimony before the committee Thursday. His testimony was publicly released intentionally today by the Senate intelligence committee at Comey's request, a Senate intelligence committee source said.
Comey, who was fired by Trump last month, dropped the bombshell by his statement which many experts say could be seen as obstruction to justice.
According to Comey, Trump also made a long series of comments about the problem with leaks of classified information.
Comey recounted a January 27 private dinner in the White House Green Room with the president.
"'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,'" Comey quoted Trump as saying.
Comey continued: "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."
Comey states that Trump asked him on several occasions to publicly state that he was not under investigation. But Comey also confirmed in his statement that he told Trump he was not under investigation, as Trump asserted in his letter to Comey explaining his firing.
Comey said that he considered Trump's request on Flynn "very concerning, given the FBI's role as an independent investigative agency" but decided to keep it "very closely held."
"The FBI leadership team agreed with me that it was important not to infect the investigative team with the President's request, which we did not intend to abide," Comey wrote. "We also concluded that, given that it was a one-on-one conversation, there was nothing available to corroborate my account.