"The president called me at the FBI"
Jim Comey over-delivered, at least in atmospherics. His statement prepared for tomorrow's Hill appearance, released this afternoon, is cinematic in its detail:
- "[T]he 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."
- If the 7-page, 3,100-word statement is a preview of the tone of his testimony, it'll be a humdinger: "[T]he President called me at the FBI. … He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia. He asked what we could do to 'lift the cloud.'"
- Key stat: "I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) … I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months – three in person and six on the phone."
- The dialogue is pure Trump. Jonathan Swan's quick read was that even in private, sensitive conversations, the president doesn't have a filter. Yet another way he won't change.
At the White House, officials were sweating today's testimony by intelligence officials, which the cable networks carried throughout the morning. They can see the president isn't going to be let off the hook, but just hope there's no new info tomorrow — just drama. One White House official asked Swan how bad the unfolding story was.
Go deeper: The 5 key details from Comey's statement
Go even deeper: Read Comey's full statement
What you missed
- Trump man's for FBI director: It's Christopher Wray. Meet him.
- What Comey overshadowed: James Clapper saying Watergate "pales" in comparison to the Trump-Russia story. Video.
- Unemployment rate gap: For workers, this economy could be as good as it gets. Chart.
- The future of our kids: Europeans and Americans aren't optimistic that their children will be better off financially than they are. Where the optimists live.