Former FBI Director James Comey said that the Trump administration was “defaming” him and the FBI and that was telling “lies” to the American people.
“When I was appointed as director of the FBI in 2013, I understood that I served at the pleasure of the president,” Comey stated in his opening statement to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “I understood that I could be fired by a president for any reason or for no reason at all.”
“Although the law requires no reason at all to fire an FBI director, the administration then chose to defame me, and more importantly the FBI, by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader,” Comey stated.
“Those were lies plain and simple. And I am so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them and I am so sorry that the American people were told them.”
Comey said that on May 9, the day he was fired, he accepted his fire and went home as a private citizen.
“But then the explanations — the shifting explanations — confused me and increasingly concerned me,” Comey stated.
“They confused me because the president and I had multiple conversations about my job, both before and after he took office. And he had repeatedly told me I was doing a great job and he hoped I would stay.”
“I repeatedly told him I did intend to stay and serve out the remaining six years of my term. He told me repeatedly he had talked to lots of people about me, including our current attorney general and had learned that I was doing a great job and that I was extremely well liked by the FBI workforce,” he said.
“So it confused me when I saw on television the president saying that he actually fired me because of the Russia investigation, and learned again, from the media, that he was telling privately other parties that my firing had relieved great pressure on the Russia investigation.”
Comey said also confused him the administration’s original statement that he was fired because of his way of handling the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
“That didn’t make sense to me for a whole bunch of reasons, including the time and all the water that had gone under the bridge since those hard decisions had to be made,” he stated. “That didn’t make any sense to me.”
In a statement for the NBC few days after firing Comey, President Trump said that Comey was a “showboat” and a “grandstander” whose management of the FBI caused the agency to fall into “virtual turmoil.”
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