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Comey to Testify Trump Asked Him to 'Let This Go' on Russia

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A statement from former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey appeared on the Senate Intelligence Committee's website Wednesday ahead of his testimony at a hearing tomorrow, where he is expected to discuss how, if at all, President Donald Trump attempted to influence FBI investigations into coordination between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

The statement covers five meetings and conversations Comey had with the president, spanning from January to April. It documents the president's repeated calls for loyalty, a point that came up in multiple conversations. One such exchange came during a dinner on January 27th:

[T]he 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.

It also touches on Trump's repeated efforts to influence FBI investigations, as in one attempt centered around former national security advisor Michael Flynn:

He 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." ... I did not say I would "let this go."

Later, during a phone call on March 30th, Trump asked Comey what could be done to "lift the cloud" of the Russia investigation, saying that he "had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia," according to the statement. Trump also repeatedly asked Comey to make public the fact that he was not personally under investigation, the statement reads.

Trump abruptly fired Comey from the FBI in early May, raising questions about whether he was attempting to interfere with ongoing investigations.