In a statement prepared ahead of testimony on Capitol Hill, Mr Comey said that at an intelligence briefing with the President-elect on January 6, he discussed with the FBI leadership team whether he could assure him “that we were not investigating him personally”.
“That was true; we did not have an open counter-terrorism case on him,” wrote Mr Comey. “During my one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him asking the question, we offered that assurance.”
Mr Trump had raised the eyebrows of many when he fired Mr Comey as FBI Director and claimed at the time, that the 56-year-old had told him three times he was not the target of federal investigators looking into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US election.
“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” Mr Trump wrote in a letter confirming the firing.
Later, in an interview with NBC, he said Mr Comey had made this clear to him once over dinner, and twice in phone calls.
“During the phone call, he said it. And during the other phone call, he said it,” Mr Trump said. “So, he said it once at dinner, and then he said it twice during phone calls.”
Reports at the time, quoting unidentified sources said to be close to Mr Comey, dismissed Mr Trump’s claims, saying that the FBI Director would never have given such an undertaking.
However, Mr Comey’s statement, ahead of testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, confirms he did indeed tell Mr Trump he was not personally under investigation, on not three occasions, but four.
Mr Comey said that at dinner with Mr Trump on January 27, the President brought up the dossier of salacious material that had been collected by former British intelligence official Christopher Steele and which he and Barack Obama had been informed of.
“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.
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
1/11 Paul Manafort
Mr Manafort is a Republican strategist and former Trump campaign manager. He resigned from that post over questions about his extensive lobbying overseas, including in Ukraine where he represented pro-Russian interests.
2/11 Mike Flynn
Mr Flynn was named as Trump's national security adviser but was forced to resign from his post for inappropriate communication with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. He had misrepresented a conversation he had with Mr Kislyak to Vice President Mike Pence, telling him wrongly that he had not discussed sanctions with the Russian.
3/11 Sergey Kislyak
Mr Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, is at the centre of the web said to connect President Donald Trump's campaign with Russia.
4/11 Roger Stone
Mr Stone is a former Trump adviser who worked on the political campaigns of Richard Nixon, George HW Bush, and Ronald Reagan. Mr Stone claimed repeatedly in the final months of the campaign that he had backchannel communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that he knew the group was going to dump damaging documents to the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton - which did happen. Mr Stone also had contacts with the hacker Guccier 2.0 on Twitter, who claimed to have hacked the DNC and is linked to Russian intelligence services.
5/11 Jeff Sessions
The US attorney general was forced to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation after it was learned that he had lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
6/11 Carter Page
Mr Page is a former advisor to the Trump campaign and has a background working as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. Mr Page met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Mr Page had invested in oil companies connected to Russia and had admitted that US Russia sanctions had hurt his bottom line.
7/11 Jeffrey "JD" Gorden
Mr Gordon met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republian National Convention to discuss how the US and Russia could work together to combat Islamist extremism should then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump win the election. The meeting came days before a massive leak of DNC emails that has been connected to Russia.
8/11 Jared Kushner
Mr Kushner is President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a key adviser to the White House. He met with a Russian banker appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December. Mr Kushner has said he did so in his role as an adviser to Mr Trump while the bank says he did so as a private developer. Mr Kushner has also volunteered to testify in the Senate about his role helping to arrange meetings between Trump advisers and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
9/11 James Comey
Mr Comey was fired from his post as head of the FBI by President Donald Trump. The timing of Mr Comey's firing raised questions around whether or not the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign may have played a role in the decision.
10/11 Preet Bharara
Mr Bahara refused, alongside 46 other US district attorney's across the country, to resign once President Donald Trump took office after previous assurances from Mr Trump that he would keep his job. Mr Bahara had been heading up several investigations including one into one of President Donald Trump's favorite cable television channels Fox News. Several investigations would lead back to that district, too, including those into Mr Trump's campaign ties to Russia, and Mr Trump's assertion that Trump Tower was wiretapped on orders from his predecessor.
11/11 Sally Yates
Ms Yates, a former Deputy Attorney General, was running the Justice Department while President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general awaited confirmation. Ms Yates was later fired by Mr Trump from her temporary post over her refusal to implement Mr Trump's first travel ban. She had also warned the White House about potential ties former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to Russia after discovering those ties during the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's connections to Russia.
The third instance when Mr Comey told Mr Trump he was not personally the target of investigators, was a March 30 phone call.
Mr Comey said he had “explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those Congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump”.
“I reminded him I had previously told him that. He repeatedly told me, ‘We need to get that fact out’,” wrote Mr Comey.
The fourth instance was on April 11. “The President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I ‘get out’ that he is not personally under investigation,” wrote Mr Comey.
“I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that ‘the cloud’ was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. He said that perhaps he would have his people reach out to the Acting Deputy Attorney General. I said that was the way his request should be handled.”
Mr Comey’s prepared also make clear that Mr Trump asked him to stop investigating his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn. The former general was forced to resign after lying about his contacts with Russian officials. The former FBI Director also says that Mr Trump repeatedly sought his “loyalty” and asked what could be done to “lift the cloud” of investigation shadowing his administration.
“The President then 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,” said Mr Comey.
“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’.”Reuse content