A day before his scheduled public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, what appears to be former FBI Director James Comey's prepared written "statement for the record" surfaced online Wednesday afternoon and was rapidly being shared among journalists and on social media.
As news outlets were combing through the document for salient details, the url address of the document indicated it was uploaded to the official website of the Intelligence Committee. NBC News reports the committee, chaired by Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, released the testimony.
Speaking on MSNBC, chief legal correspondent Ari Melber described the statement as an "extraordinary piece of testimony" that includes "explicit" details about Comey's interactions with President Donald Trump.
In one of the most potentially damning moments recounted in the memos, Comey describes a private dinner with Trump at the White House on January 27 in which the president asked the director if he wanted to keep his job. "My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting," which he describes elsewhere as unusual compared to his relationship with President Obama, "and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant that the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some of patronage relationship."
Comey describes why he felt compelled to keep detailed notes of his interactions with president and how he came to feel so uncomfortable with the president's behavior that he ultimately asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to make sure he was no longer put in a situation of being alone with Trump or even have "direct communication" with him.
View the original testimony here.
And the 7-page written statement has been reproduced in full below: