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“Lordy, I hope there are tapes”

By Laurie Bennett

June 8, 2017 at 9:55am

Senate Intelligence Committee hearing

Former FBI Director James Comey faced off against the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Thursday and said President Donald Trump lied.

He accused Trump and his administration of misleading the public about his dismissal, noting that the White House blamed low morale in the bureau.

“Those were lies, plain and simple. and I’m so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them, and I’m so sorry the American people were told them,” he said.

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said. “I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.”

Comey’s testimony was at times impassioned, particularly when addressing Russia’s efforts to sway U.S. elections. “We remain that shining city on a hill, and they don’t like it,” he said.

Later, he remarked, “If any Americans were part of helping the Russians do that to us, that is a very big deal.”

As he noted in his opening statement, which was released the day before his appearance, Comey said he had multiple conversations with Trump. A “gut feel,” he said, led him to make records of those discussions, although he had not done so with the prior two administrations.

He acknowledged seeing Trump’s tweet about potential tape recordings of their conversations. Afterward, Comey said, he asked a friend who is a professor at Columbia Law School to share his notes with a reporter. He said he did so because he thought the publicity might build public support for appointment of a special counsel.

“The appointment of special counsel…should offer great comfort to Americans,” he said.

He has since turned his memos over to Robert S. Mueller III, who on May 17 was named special counsel in the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign.

“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey said, urging Trump to release them if they exist.

The comment was quickly tweeted by another lawyer fired by Trump, Preet Bharara, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who attended the hearing:

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