Former FBI director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee today that President Trump lied to the American public when he said that the FBI was in disarray and that agents had lost confidence in Comey, reports the New York Times. “Those were lies, plain and simple,” Comey said in brief opening remarks. Trump made that claim when he fired Comey last month. Comey said he was confused and concerned about Trump’s changing explanation for why he fired him.
Comey acknowledged for the first time that the FBI was scrutinizing Mr. Trump’s actions. He said Trump’s conduct fell within “the scope of” the FBI’s investigation but that he was not specifically under investigation. The bureau is investigating whether anyone in Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian agents to try to influence the outcome of the presidential election. Comey said he took notes on his meetings with the president because, from his first interaction with him, during the transition period, he thought Trump might lie about what was said. He testified that he documented all of his meetings with Trump because it was unusual for him to be discussing ongoing investigations, alone, with a sitting president. Comey had served in senior law enforcement positions under three presidents. “The combination of factors just wasn’t present with either President Bush or President Obama,” he said. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said today, “Let me be clear. This is not a witch hunt. This is not fake news. It is an effort to protect our country from a new threat that will not go away anytime soon.”