Former FBI Director James Comey delivered historic testimony on Thursday, and one moment stands out as particularly damning for President Trump.
While being questioned by Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) on why he thought Trump suddenly fired him, Comey cited Trump’s own words in the president’s now-famous interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, in which Trump said he was going to fire Comey regardless of any recommendation from Department of Justice officials specifically due to the ongoing Russia investigation.
“I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it,” Trump said at the time. “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.'”
During his testimony, Comey continuously referenced those comments as justification for feeling that he was fired due to President Trump’s dislike of how his agency was conducting the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged communications with Russian officials last year.
“There’s no doubt that it’s a fair judgment — it’s my judgment — that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said while testifying under penalty of perjury. “I was fired, in some way, to change, or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.”
“That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me,” Comey added. “The nature of the FBI and the nature of its work requires that it not be the subject of political consideration.
“If any Americans were part of helping the Russians do that to us, that is a very big deal. And I’m confident that if that is the case, [former FBI] Director [Robert] Mueller will find that evidence.”
"I was fired because of the Russia investigation …to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a very big deal" pic.twitter.com/YjC0bijNLn
— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 8, 2017
Comey testified for more than two hours on Thursday as part of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign’s supposed ties to Russia during the 2016 election. Following the former FBI director’s testimony, Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) called on Trump to testify before the committee to respond to Comey’s accusations.
Jamie Green is a contributor to the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.