Sen. Mark Warner – the leading Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee – will use his opening statement at the James Comey hearing to call former FBI director’s testimony “disturbing.”
In excerpts of his opening statement released before Thursday’s hearing, Warner responds to Comey’s prepared remarks, which were released Wednesday.
Warner emphasizes an early interaction Comey had with Trump, when the president told the then-FBI director, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” This, Warner argues, appears to be an instance of Trump threatening Comey’s job.
The Virginia senator also cites another private discussion Comey disclosed he had with Trump, where the president pushed him to drop the investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
These actions, as well as other outlined in Comey’s testimony, are violations “of clear guidelines put in place after Watergate to prevent any whiff of political interference by the White House into FBI investigations.”
Trump said Wednesday that he feels “completely and totally vindicated” after Comey’s testimony.
From Warner’s remarks, it appears that Democrats will use the Comey hearings to look broadly at the Trump presidency.
“This is not how a President of the United States behaves,” Warner said. “Regardless of the outcome of our investigation into those Russia links, Directory Comey’s firing and his testimony raise separate and troubling questions that we must get to the bottom of.”