Ousted FBI Chief James Comey testified Thursday that President Donald Trump’s claims that he fired Comey for doing a lousy job were lies that that defamed his character.
“Although the law required no reason at all to fire an FBI director, the administration then chose to defame me — and more importantly, the FBI — by saying the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader,” Comey told the Senate intelligence committee. “Those were lies, plain and simple.”
Comey said that while he understood he could be fired at the discretion of the president, he was confused by the shifting explanations offered for his dismissal, when Trump had previously told him he was doing a great job.
“On May 9 when I learned I had had been fired, and that evening, I came home as a private citizen, then the explanations the shifting explanations confused me and increasingly concerned me,” Comey said during the live televised proceedings. “They confused me because the president and I had had multiple conversations about my job, both before and after he took office. And he had repeatedly told me I was doing a good job and he hoped I would stay.”
But Comey said based on what he now knows, he believes he was fired for the manner in which he handled the Russia investigation.
Comey said he discerned following a private meeting earlier this year at the White House with Trump that the president wanted him to drop the investigation based on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s account of what went on with Russia in relation to Trump’s 2016 election.