Former FBI director James Comey plans to confirm that President Donald Trump pressured him to end his investigation into Russia’s ties to members of Trump’s inner circle, according to CNN.
Comey is expected to testify publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee as early as next week, according to CNN, but no date has been official announced.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating possible connections between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia during last year’s election when the president defeated Hillary Clinton. Trump abruptly fired Comey on May 9 amid the ongoing FBI investigation into Russia potentially meddling with the election. At the time, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Tobin called the move a “grotesque abuse of power.”
During a press conference earlier this month, a defiant President Trump denied he ever pressured Comey to back off his agency’s investigation into possible collusion.
Asked whether he “urged” Comey to “close or back down” the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump didn’t even wait for the reporter to finish asking the question before shutting him down.
“No. No. Next question,” Trump said.
However, the New York Times reported that Comey said Trump asked him in February to end the Flynn investigation — and recorded it in a memo at the time. Trump cried “witch hunt” when the Justice Department appointment former FBI director Robert Mueller as a special counsel in the Russia investigation.
Comey has already spoken privately with Mueller to work out the parameters for his testimony, according to CNN.
During an interview nearly three weeks ago with NBC News’ Lester Holt, the president described Comey as a “showboat.” The president also said that Comey told him he was not under investigation for potential ties between his campaign and Russia.
“I actually asked him,” Trump said. “I said, if it’s possible would you let me know, ‘Am I under investigation?’ He said, ‘You are not under investigation.'”
During the interview, Trump claimed that Comey told him once over dinner and twice by telephone that he isn’t under investigation.
The president also contradicted an earlier White House statement claiming that Trump fired Comey after a memo recommending the dismissal was sent from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Instead, Trump told Holt that he had already planned the firing and requested a memo from the Department of Justice to support his decision.
Since then, the president has said that he fired Comey because he “wasn’t doing a good job.”
Comey “appears eager to discuss his tense interactions with Trump before his firing,” according to CNN, but is not likely to discuss in any detail the FBI’s investigation.