WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC News) - Fired FBI Director James Comey testified Thursday that he was "confused" and "concerned" when President Donald Trump told the public he was firing him for undermining the morale of the agency he had led since 2013.
"Those were lies, plain and simple," Comey said.
The Trump administration, he said, "chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader."
Comey also said that while he didn’t want to express an opinion on whether Trump was seeking to obstruct the ongoing investigation into Russians meddling into the presidential election, he is “sure” the special counsel, Robert Mueller, will be examining that. And he said he is sure he was fired because of "the Russia investigation."
Comey also explained why he wrote memos chronicling his private conversations with Trump: he had a "gut feeling" the president might lie about the nature of the meetings.
"I knew there might come a day when I needed a record of what happened," he said.
Questioned about Trump's public statement that Comey had "better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations," the former director replied, "Lordy, I hope there are tapes."
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