James Comey told congressional investigators that he believes President Donald Trump fired him over the Russia investigation.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked the former FBI director why he believed the president had fired him — and Comey pointed to Trump’s own public statements.
“I take the president at his word — I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said.
He testified the president had expressed hope that the investigation of disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn would stop, which Comey took as a directive.
But Comey told Feinstein that he was not strong enough in the moment to push back on Trump’s request and instead agreed that Flynn was “a good guy.”
“Maybe if I were stronger, I would have,” Comey said. “I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in and the only thing I could think to say, because I was playing in my mind to remember every word he said, I was playing in my mind, what should my response be. That’s why I very carefully chose the words.”
Comey then reminded lawmakers that Trump claimed on Twitter that their private Oval Office conversation might have been recorded.
“I seen the tweet about tapes — lordy, I hope there are tapes,” he said. “I remember saying, ‘I agree he is a good guy,’ as a way of saying I’m not agreeing with what he asked me to do. Again, maybe other people would be strong in that circumstance. That’s how I conducted myself. I hope I never have another opportunity, maybe if I did it again I would do it better.”