(CBS) – We’re getting a first look at what former FBI Director James Comey intends to say Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
He’s expected to tell lawmakers President Trump asked him what could be done to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation.
A copy of Comey’s opening statement was released Wednesday afternoon.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley has a preview.
In a seven-page memo, Comey outlines a series key meetings and phone calls with Trump in which the president pressured him to drop the Michael Flynn investigation.
On Jan. 27, at a one-on-one White House dinner, Comey says Trump asked him whether he wanted to stay on as FBI director, even though Comey had already told Trump twice he intended to stay.
Comey felt the dinner was “an effort to have me ask for my job and create some type of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch.”
Comey says the president later told him, “I need loyalty.” Comey says he replied: “You will always get honesty from me.”
Trump reportedly said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” Comey replied: “You will get that from me.”
Comey notes: “I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further.”
Then, on Feb. 14, one day after National Security Director Michael Flynn had resigned, Trump met alone with Comey at the white house again.
Trump, according to Comey, said, “I want to talk about Mike Flynn. 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 notes he replied Flynn is a good guy, but he did not agree to “let this go.”
Comey writes: “I had understood the President to be requesting we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December.”
On March 30, in a phone call to Comey, Trump described the Russia investigation as “a cloud” that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. He asked what Comey could do to “lift the cloud.”
Comey told president trump the FBI was doing all it could to investigate the matter as quickly as possible. He says he informed Trump three times that he was not a target in the FBI probe.
But Comey says he never informed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about pressure from Trump, expecting that Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation, which he did, two weeks later.
That’s the story Congress will hear directly from Comey on Thursday.
Trump fired Comey in May.