Comey’s pre-testimony statement is in. Here is a sample.
The President began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI Director, which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to. He said that lots of people wanted my job and, given the abuse I had taken during the previous year, he would understand if I wanted to walk away.
My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch.
I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my ten-year term as Director. And then, because the set-up made me uneasy, I added that I was not “reliable” in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth. I added that I was not on anybody’s side politically and could not be counted on in the traditional political sense, a stance I said was in his best interest as the President.
A few moments later, the President said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.
As I said in Off Topic….
There is good news for POTUS in there and there is bad news. I see nothing illegal. It is, however, unconventional.
It is very unconventional. It wouldn’t be illegal for the POTUS to give his State of the Union Address in his pajamas but it would be unconventional. It just isn’t done.
Asking about an ongoing case, asking for loyalty, talking about Flynn being a swell guy… I don’t think they are illegal but they are way out there in “State of the Union in pajamas” territory.
Good news: Comey confirms that he did, in fact, tell Trump three times that he wasn’t under investigation.
Bad news: Very bizarre, unconventional, weird behavior by POTUS.