The most important details from Comey's prepared statement:

  1. Close contact: The fired director says he spoke with Trump 9 times, compared to just 2 times while he served under Obama.
  2. Trump to Comey, on January 27: "I want loyalty, I expect loyalty."
  3. Trump to Comey, on Feb. 14: "I want to talk about Mike Flynn. ... I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."
  4. Trump to Comey, on March 30: "Lift the cloud"
  5. Trump to Comey, on April 11: "I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know."

Jan 6: Trump Tower

  • Along with other intel chiefs, Comey briefed Trump on Russian election interference. Afterward he remained alone with Trump, partially to minimize embarrassment, to brief him on the contents of the salacious but unverified dossier that was later published by Buzzfeed.
  • Assured him that the FBI was not investigating him personally. Documented conversation in a memo.
Jan 27: White House
  • Comey and Trump had dinner at Trump's invitation. Trump asked Comey if he wanted to stay on as FBI chief, and said "lots of people" wanted the job. Comey found that "strange" but assured him he wanted to stay on.
  • "My instincts told me… 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."
  • Later in the dinner: "the President said, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.'" Comey explained the importance of independence and said, "'You will always get honesty from me.'" Trump replied, "That's what I want, honest loyalty." Comey said 'You will get that from me.'"
  • Comey was concerned there may have been a misunderstanding over the phrase "honest loyalty." He documented the conversation in a memo.
Feb 14: Oval Office
  • After a Oval Office counter-terrorism briefing, Trump said he wanted to speak to Comey alone.
  • Trump told Comey, "I want to talk about Mike Flynn." He said he felt Flynn hadn't done anything wrong in speaking to the Russians, and that while he had "other concerns" about Flynn he was a "good guy."
  • Later, Trump told Comey: "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."
  • Comey did not say he would let Flynn go, documented the conversation in a memo, and discussed the conversation with FBI leadership.
March 30: phone call
  • Trump calls Comey and expresses his concerns that the Russia probe was hampering his ability to do his job, asking Comey what he could do to "lift the cloud." Comey said the FBI would investigate as swiftly as possible, and that it was important to do it well.
  • Trump then asked why Comey had briefed Congress on the fact that the FBI was investigating possible coordination between his associates and Russia. He explained, and said he'd told Congressional leaders the FBI wasn't personally investigating Trump. Trump told Comey, "we need to get that fact out," and that he hoped Comey would find a way to do so.
  • Comey told Trump he would see what he could do, and briefed the acting deputy attorney general on the call.
April 11: phone call
  • Trump asked Comey what steps he'd taken in regard to their previous conversation. Comey said he'd referred the matter to the deputy A.G.
  • Trump later said, "I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know."
  • Comey did not ask what Trump meant. "That was the last time I spoke with President Trump."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 12,220,166 — Total deaths: 553,438 — Total recoveries — 6,696,632Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 3,111,902 — Total deaths: 133,195 — Total recoveries: 969,111 — Total tested: 38,032,966Map.
  3. Public health: More young people are spreading the virus Cases rise in 33 statesFlorida reports highest single-day death toll since pandemic began.
  4. Science: World Health Organization acknowledges airborne transmission of coronavirus.
  5. 1 🐂 thing: How the world could monitor for potential pandemic animal viruses.
4 hours ago - Podcasts

Inside Joe Biden's economic plan

Joe Biden on Thursday returned to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to give his first major speech on economic policy since becoming the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Axios Re:Cap digs into Biden's plans, how they developed and how they may change, with former U.S. Commerce secretary and campaign surrogate Penny Pritzker.

4 hours ago - World

Countries grapple with whether to lock back down as hotspots emerge

Tokyo in the time of coronavirus. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty

Many politicians and public health officials sounded a similar lockdown refrain in the spring: let’s do this right so we only have to do it once.

Reality check: While some countries have thus far managed to keep cases under control after opening up, dozens of countries that had initially turned a corner are now seeing a worrying rebound. They have to decide if and how to return to lockdown — and whether their populations will stand for it.