Former FBI director James Comey did not open his appearance with the prepared remarks released yesterday. Instead he focused on the “lies” the White House has spread about his interaction with President Donald Trump and how he found out he was fired.
It “confused me,” he said, because Trump “repeatedly told me I was doing a great job and hoped I would stay.” Comey says he repeatedly told Trump it was his intention to stay through his 10-year term.
Trump told him he had learned Comey was “doing a great job and was extremely well liked by the FBI workforce…So it confused me when I saw on television” that he had been fired and that Trump said “he fired me because of the Russia investigation.”
Comey said he “learned from the media” that Trump said the firing had “relieved a great pressure” on him in re “the Russia investigation.”
Comey said he also was “confused” because Trump publicly said he fired Comey “because of decisions I had made during the election year…..That did not make sense for me for a whole bunch of reasons,” including that “a whole bunch of time” had gone by.
Trump, he said, “Chose to defame me and the FBI saying the organization was in disarray and poorly led” and that “he had lost confidence in its leader.”
“Those were lies, plain and simple. I’m so sorry the FBI workforce had to hear that,” Comey said.
“I want the American people to know this truth: The FBI is honest, the FBI is strong and the FBI is and always will be independent.”
Then he addressed his former FBI colleagues: “I am sorry I did not get the chance to say goodbye to you properly,” he said, calling his service “the honor of my life.”
“I will miss it for the rest of my life. Thank you for standing watch and thank you so much for doing so much good for this country.”