Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) asked fired FBI Director James Comey why he first volunteered the information to President Donald Trump that he was not under investigation.
“Did you limit that statement to counterintelligence investigations or were you talking about any kind of FBI investigation?” Collins also asked.
“I didn’t use the term counterintelligence, I was speaking to him and briefing him about some salacious and unverified material,” Comey said.
“It was in the context of that that he had a strong and defensive reaction about that not being true, and my reading of it was, it was important for me to assure him we were not personally investigating him, and so the context then was actually narrower, focused on what I just talked to him about.”
“That was very important,” Comey said of his assurance to Trump. “Because it was, first, true, and second, I was worried very much of being in kind of a — kind of a J. Edgar Hoover-type situation.”
“I didn’t want him thinking that I was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way,” he continued. “I was briefing him on it because we had been told by the media it was about the launch. We don’t want to be keeping that from him, and if — He needed to know this was being said. But I was keen to not leave him with the impression that the bureau was trying to do something to him.”
“And so that’s the context in which I said, sir, we’re not personally investigating you,” he concluded.