Comey Describes a Frustrated President Who Wanted to Get on With the Country's Business

By Susan Jones | June 8, 2017 | 5:48am EDT
Then FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( - Former FBI Director James Comey's written, opening statement to the Senate intelligence committee shows that President Donald Trump became increasingly frustrated by the ongoing Russia investigation, not because he had anything to hide, but because the leaks and media speculation were interfering with his ability to get things done for the country.

Trump's frustration was evident in his March 30 phone call to Comey, where Trump described the Russia investigation -- according to Comey -- "as 'a cloud' that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country."

According to Comey's notes of that March 30 phone call: "He (Trump) said 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. He asked what we could do to 'lift the cloud.'  I (Comey) responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn’t find anything, to our having done the work well. He agreed, but then re-emphasized the problems this was causing him."

During this phone call, Comey also told Trump that he had briefed congressional leaders "on exactly which individuals we were investigating" and "that we were not personally investigating President Trump. I reminded him that I had previously told him that. He repeatedly told me, 'We need to get that fact out.'"

Trump "went on to say" (according to Comey's notes) "that if there were some 'satellite' associates of his who did something wrong it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn't done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren't investigating  him."

In his final phone call with President Trump on April 11, Comey wrote that Trump had asked him "what I had done about his request that I 'get out' that he is not personally under investigation."

Comey told the president that he had passed Trump's request to the acting deputy attorney general but had not heard back.

"He (Trump) replied that 'the cloud' was getting in the way of his ability to do his job," Comey wrote.

In a statement to Bloomberg news Wednesday night, Trump’s attorney Marc Kasowitz wrote: “The president is pleased that Mr. Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russia probe. The president feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda.”

Comey's statement does not back up the liberal media speculation that Trump may have obstructed justice by asking Comey to drop or back-off the Russia investigation or the investigation of Michael Flynn.

At an Oval Office meeting on Feb. 14, the day after Michael Flynn resigned as National security adviser, Trump asked to speak with Comey alone.

According to Comey, "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."

Then, according to Comey, the president "made a long series of comments about the problem with leaks of classified information.”

At the end of the meeting, "the President returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, ‘He is a good guy and has been through a lot.’  He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. 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.’”

Comey said he agreed that Flynn "is a good guy," but “I did not say I would 'let this go.'"

An uncomfortable Comey wrote: "I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign."

At a one-on-one dinner with Comey on January 27, Trump asked Comey if he wanted to stay on as FBI director and later told Comey, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty." Trump repeated the sentiment toward the end of the dinner, to which Comey replied: "You will always get honesty from me.” The president told him, "That's what I want, honest loyalty."

During the dinner, Comey wrote, “Trump returned to the salacious material  (Russian prostitutes, etc.) I had briefed him about on January 6, and, as he had done previously, expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them.  He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn’t happen.  I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative.  He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it.”

In his first conversation with Trump at Trump Tower on January 6, Comey briefed him privately about the unsubstantiated and frankly ridiculous story that Trump had engaged in perverted sexual acts with prostitutes during a trip to Russia.

At this time, Comey wrote, “based on President-Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance (that the FBI was not investigating Trump personally). “That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him,” Comey wrote.

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