Notes from James Comey’s 6/8/17 Testimony Before the Senate Intelligence Committee

Senator James Risch of Idaho: OK. So — so, again, so the American people can understand this, that report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?

Former FBI Director James Comey: In — in the main, it was not true. And, again, all of you know this, maybe the American people don’t. The challenge — and I’m not picking on reporters about writing stories about classified information, is that people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on.

And those of us who actually know what’s going on are not talking about it. And we don’t call the press to say, hey, you got that thing wrong about this sensitive topic. We just have to leave it there.

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas: On February 14th, the New York Times published a story, the headline of which was, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.”

You were asked earlier if that was an inaccurate story, and you said, in the main. Would it be fair to characterize that story as almost entirely wrong?

Comey: Yes.

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri: So why didn’t you give those to somebody yourself, rather than give them through a third party?

Comey: Because I was worried the media was camping at the end of my driveway at that point, and I was actually going out of town with my wife to hide, and I worried it would be like feeding seagulls at the beach…

…if — if it was — if it was I who gave it to the media. So I asked my friend, “Make sure this gets out.”

Senator Angus King of Maine: All right. We’ll be having a closed session shortly, so we will follow up on that.

In terms of his comments to you about—I think in response to Mr. Risch—to Senator Risch, you said he said, “I hope you will hold back on that.” But when you get a—when a president of the United States in the Oval Office says something like “I hope” or “I suggest” or—or “would you,” do you take that as a—as a — as a directive?

Comey: Yes. Yes, it rings in my ear as kind of, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”

King: I was just going to quote that. In 1170, December 29, Henry II said, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” and then, the next day, he was killed — Thomas Becket. That’s exactly the same situation. You’re—we’re thinking along the same lines.

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