Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Comey Behind Closed Doors..A.M.Session

Monday, December 17, 2018 
Washington, D.C. 
The interview in the above matter was held in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, commencing at 10:13 a.m. 

Members Present: Representatives Goodlatte, Jordan, Gowdy, Ratcliffe, Johnson of Georgia, Meadows, Cummings, and Clay. 
Image result for images of Chairman Goodlatte.
Chairman Goodlatte. All right. We'll go on the record. This is the continuation of the transcribed interview of Mr. James Comey. 

And, Mr. Comey, do you understand that the questions you were asked at the beginning of the first day of interviews all still apply and that you are under oath? 
Image result for images mocking Mr. Comey
Mr. Comey. Yes, sir. This is not under oath, but I have an obligation to tell the truth. 

Chairman Goodlatte. Correct. And we will, as we did with the first one, make every effort to have the transcription available tomorrow, and we'll get it out as quickly as we possibly can. 

Let's go around the room and have everyone here introduce themselves. And I'm Bob Goodlatte, Member of Congress from Virginia. 

Mr. Gowdy. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina. 

Mr. Ratcliffe. John Ratcliffe, Texas. 

Mr. Meadows. Mark Meadows, North Carolina. 

Mr. Jordan. Jim Jordan, Ohio. 

Chairman Goodlatte. All right. Let's get staff. 

Ms. Shen. Valerie Shen, House Oversight, Democrats. 

Mr. Hiller. Aaron Hiller, House Judiciary, Democrats. 

Ms. Hariharan. Arya Hariharan, House Judiciary, Democrats. 

Ms. Sachsman Grooms. Susanne Sachsman Grooms, House Oversight, Democrats.  

Mr. [ ]. [ ], FBI. 

Mr. Ventura. Christopher Ventura, House Judiciary, Republicans. 

Mr. Buddharaju. Anudeep Buddharaju, House Oversight, majority. 

Mr. Castor. Steve Castor, OGR, majority. 

Mr. Brebbia. Sean Brebbia, House Oversight, majority. 

Ms. Green. Meghan Green, House Oversight, majority. 

Mr. [ ]. [ ], FBI. 

Ms. Doocy. Mary Doocy, Rep. Meadows. 

Ms. Husband. Shelly Husband, House Judiciary, minority. 

Mr. Breitenbach. Ryan Breitenbach, House Judiciary, majority. 

Mr. Baker. Arthur Baker, House Judiciary, Republicans. 

Mr. Somers. Zachary Somers, House Judiciary, Republicans. 

Mr. [ ]. [ ], FBI. 

Mr. [ ]. [ ], FBI OGC. 

Mr. Kelley. David Kelley, Dechert LLP, on behalf of Mr. Comey. 

Chairman Goodlatte. All right. We'll turn it to Mr. Gowdy. 
Image result for images Mr. Gowdy
Mr. Gowdy. Good morning, Director Comey. I want to direct your attention to a February 8th memo from you. Do you have those memos in front of you? And if not, we'll get you a copy. 

Mr. Comey. Thank you. 

Mr. Gowdy. I believe that memo starts, "I went to the White House today for a 4 p.m. meet and greet," if that helps you. 

Mr. Comey. I see it, yeah. I have it in front of me. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. Will you flip to the next page? Do you see where the first paragraph, first sentence: "He then asked me if this was a 'private conversation'"? 

Mr. Comey. I see that. 

Mr. Gowdy. And do you see, "I replied it was"? 

Mr. Comey. I see that, yes. 

Mr. Gowdy. What did you mean by "it was"? 

Mr. Comey. That the two of us were speaking together alone, that there was nobody else participating in the conversation. 

Mr. Gowdy. So by "private" you meant that there was nobody else in the room? 

Mr. Comey. I think that's what he was asking and that's what I was replying, as best I recall, that it was just the two of us in the room, it wasn't being recorded, there was nobody else involved in the conversation. 

Mr. Gowdy. So you didn't take "private" to mean confidential, that this is just between us? 

Mr. Comey. That's a good question. Let me think about it for a second. I think I took it as, is this just the two of us in this conversation? 

Mr. Gowdy. But that would've been readily apparent to both  of y'all, that you were the only two in the room, wouldn't it? 

Mr. Comey. Yeah, I guess that's right. That's why I'm hesitating. But, yeah, I think that's what I meant when I said this. He asked if it was a private conversation, which I took to mean is it the two of us having this conversation. I said, yes, that it was. 

Mr. Gowdy. So you did not take from that any implicit confidentiality, that this is just between us? 

Mr. Comey. Yeah, I don't think so. I'm hesitating because it's possible, but I don't think so

Mr. Gowdy. Well, it strikes me the options are that it was private and that you were the only two in the room, which both of you already knew, which begs the question why he had to say it and you had to agree to it, or "private" means just between us. 

Mr. Comey. Yeah, that would ask me -- you're asking me to try to tell you what was in his head. I don't know. 

Mr. Gowdy. Well, shortly after that meeting concluded, did you memorialize that conversation? 

Mr. Comey. I did. 

Mr. Gowdy. And to whom, if anyone, did you share or distribute the memo? 

Mr. Comey. Sometime shortly after I wrote it, I shared it with the senior leadership team of the FBI. 

Mr. Gowdy. Pardon me. Could you say that again? 

Mr. Comey. Shortly after I wrote it -- I'm looking if I put a time on it. Shortly after I wrote it, I shared it with the senior leadership team of the FBI. 

Mr. Gowdy. Would that include Andy McCabe, Jim Baker, and Jim Rybicki? 

Mr. Comey. Yes. 

Mr. Gowdy. Anyone else? 

Mr. Comey. Possibly the head of the National Security Branch at the FBI, possibly the head of the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI. 

Mr. Gowdy. When President Obama gave his "60 Minutes" interview in October of 2015 and remarked, in the midst of your Clinton investigation, that Clinton merely committed a mistake and lacked the intent to harm national security, did you address that with him personally? 

Mr. Comey. I did not. 

Mr. Gowdy. Did you send word through Attorney General Loretta Lynch that it is not appropriate for the head of the executive branch to comment on a pending investigation? 

Mr. Comey. I did not. 

Mr. Gowdy. How did you communicate to the White House that commenting on an ongoing investigation is not appropriate? 

Mr. Comey. I don't recall that I did in connection with that statement by the President.[Well that is totally screwed up,similar to what Nixon did to Manson with the newspaper headline during that trial D.C] 

Mr. Gowdy. President Obama said of her email arrangement, "I don't think it posed a national security problem." How would he  have known that at the time? 

Mr. Comey. I can't answer that question. 

Mr. Gowdy. He also said, "This is not a situation in which America's national security was endangered." How would he have known that at the time? 

Mr. Comey. Same answer. I can't answer that for him. 

Mr. Gowdy. Did President Obama know that his emails were among those found in her emails? 

Mr. Comey. I can't answer that. 

Mr. Gowdy. Do you know when the President learned that some of his emails were among those found in her emails? 

Mr. Comey. I can't answer that, and I don't know. 

Mr. Gowdy. You never had a conversation with him about it? 

Mr. Comey. No

Mr. Gowdy. Never directed anyone at the Bureau to tell him? 

Mr. Comey. No. 

Mr. Gowdy. About David Petraeus, President Obama said, "I have no evidence at this point, from what I've seen, that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have a negative impact on our national security." Do you know what evidence he would've seen at that point? 

Mr. Comey. I don't. And I don't remember him saying that about Petraeus. 

Mr. Gowdy. Did you brief the President on the Petraeus investigation?

Mr. Comey. No. 

Mr. Gowdy. Did anyone at the FBI? 

Mr. Comey. Not to my knowledge. 

Mr. Gowdy. President Obama said Mrs. Clinton had not tried to, quote, "hide anything or squirrel away information." Do you know how he knew that? 

Mr. Comey. I don't. 

Mr. Gowdy. In fact, were all of her emails located? 

Mr. Comey. You have to clarify that, Mr. Gowdy. "All of her emails," meaning what? 

Mr. Gowdy. Any one that she would have generated during the time period that she was Secretary of State that possibly could've involved public record. 

Mr. Comey. I don't know. 

Mr. Gowdy. Well, were any destroyed? 

Mr. Comey. Yes, by her -- 

Mr. Gowdy. Then, if they were destroyed, they weren't located. I'm not trying to ask you a trick question. If they were destroyed, they weren't located. 

Mr. Comey. Well, that's one of the reasons I'm hesitating, is there were emails that, by her account, were destroyed. We found a lot of emails, including after late October. Whether those that we found were the same as that which had been destroyed is impossible to answer. 

Mr. Gowdy. When President Trump asked you to see your way to letting the Flynn matter go, was it just you and him in the room? 

Mr. Comey. Before I answer that, sir, my understanding is you were going to ask questions about decisions made in 2016, and that conversation occurred in February of 2017. 

Mr. Gowdy. Director Comey, I understand when it occurred. We're looking at decisions made and not made in 2016 and 2017. 

Mr. Comey. Okay. 

Mr. Gowdy. So, when President Trump asked you to see your way clear to letting the Flynn matter go, was it just you and him in the room? 

Mr. Comey. Yes. 

Mr. Gowdy. So no one at the FBI knew, except you, that that comment had been made. 

Mr. Comey. At the time it was made, correct. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. You decided to share it with others. 

Mr. Comey. Correct. 

Mr. Gowdy. Okay. So it was a conversation that only you -- it was a comment only you heard. I think your previous testimony was it had -- [Discussion off the record.] 

Mr. Comey. Sorry. Go ahead. 

Mr. Gowdy. I think your previous testimony was it did not impact any decisions you made or cause you to not make decisions. Did I recall that correctly from your last time? 

Mr. Comey. I think that's a fair summary of my testimony from a week or so ago. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. So you're the only one that heard it, it had no impact on you, and you chose to share it. 

Mr. Comey. Those three things are true. Implicit in your question is some connection among the three. I'm just agreeing those three things are true. 

Mr. Gowdy. Okay. 

Mr. Comey. It didn't have an impact on the investigation. I heard it -- I was the only one in the room besides the President. And I briefed the senior leadership team of the FBI. 

Mr. Gowdy. What I'm trying to do, Director Comey, is contrast -- well, we'll do it this way. I'll ask you, when any of the comments were uttered by President Obama on either of the investigations we just went over, Petraeus or Hillary Clinton, they were public comments. Did you also gather your senior staff around to make sure that those comments did not impact any decisions they made? 

Mr. Comey. I don't recall ever gathering them to discuss -- let me back up for a second. I don't recall talking to my senior staff about whether President Obama was going to have an impact on our investigations. I don't. 

Mr. Gowdy. Can you understand my curiosity why you would publish a private comment to make sure it did not impact them but not take up a public comment to make sure it did not impact them? 

Mr. Kelley. Is that a question?  

Mr. Gowdy. Yes. 

Mr. Comey. The public comments, because they were widely broadcast, were ones that were apparent to the senior leadership team of the FBI. If I didn't tell the senior leadership team of the FBI about my conversation with President Trump, they wouldn't otherwise know and couldn't help me figure out what to do with what was potential obstruction of justice. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. Well, let's get into that then. After he asked you if it was a private conversation and you said it was, what did he ask you about? What was his specific question? Do you recall? 

Mr. Comey. The "he" you're talking about is Reince Priebus? We're back on the February 8th -- 

Mr. Gowdy. Back to the February 8 memo. Right after he said is this a private conversation and you said it was, what was the next issue he broached with you? 

Mr. Comey. He said he wanted -- I'm reading from the top of my own memo, second page. He said he wanted to ask me a question and I could decide whether it was appropriate to answer. He then asked, do you have a FISA order on Mike Flynn? 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. And did you answer it, or did you tell him it was inappropriate for him to ask? 

Mr. Comey. In a way, both. I paused and said that I would answer here but this illustrated the kind of question that had to be asked and answered through established channels. And then I answered his question. 

Mr. Gowdy. So it is possible that a question be properly asked but it needs to go a different route. And I assume by that you meant White House Counsel needs to ask the Attorney General and then it filtered down to you? 

Mr. Comey. I'm sorry. I'm not following your question, Mr. Gowdy. 

Mr. Gowdy. I'm assuming that there is a category of questions that it is permissible or okay to ask but it has to be asked in a different route, through a different mechanism. 

Mr. Comey. In general, yes, that there are norms and traditions and policies that guide communications. And I was trying to help him understand some of those here. 

Mr. Gowdy. Does the President have the ability to end an investigation? 

Mr. Comey. That's a legal question, Mr. Gowdy, I don't think I'm qualified to answer. 

Mr. Gowdy. Oh, Director Comey, you've had a distinguished career in the Southern District of New York, you've worked for the Department of Justice, you've headed the world's premier law enforcement agency. You're plenty a good enough lawyer to take a crack at whether or not the Chief Executive can end an investigation. Let me do it this way. If you don't feel comfortable, what does the word "plenary" mean? 

Mr. Comey. What does the word "plenary" mean? 

Mr. Gowdy. "Plenary." To say the pardon powers are plenary, what does it mean? 

Mr. Comey. Yeah, I'm not expert enough to give you an expert answer on that. And as to your -- go ahead. 

Mr. Gowdy. Do you disagree with the following? "The Presidential pardon power extends to every offense known to the law and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken or during their pendency or after conviction and judgment." Do you take exception to what I just read? 

Mr. Comey. I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on what you just read. 

Mr. Gowdy. Director Comey, have you ever discussed the President's conduct in terms of either obstruction of justice or potential obstruction of justice? In any interview, have you ever discussed his comments through that lens, through that prism? 

Mr. Comey. Yeah, I need you to focus the question, obviously. Do you mean when I was FBI Director did I speak to the FBI leadership team? 

Mr. Gowdy. I mean any interviews in the last couple of weeks. 

Mr. Comey. Oh, I've been asked many times do I think the President was guilty of obstruction of justice. 

Mr. Gowdy. And my question to you is, can a President end an  investigation? 

Mr. Comey. And I think that calls for a legal conclusion, a constitutional legal judgment that I'm not qualified to make. 

Mr. Gowdy. Does the President have the ability to end a prosecution? 

Mr. Comey. It's the same question, I think, so my answer is the same

Mr. Gowdy. Well, Director Comey, does the pardon power only extend after a conviction? 

Mr. Comey. I'm not expert enough to answer that question. 

Mr. Gowdy. Was the President part of your Michael Flynn investigation? 

Mr. Comey. I don't know what you mean by that. 

Mr. Gowdy. Well, when two agents went over to interview Michael Flynn at the White House, was the -- we'll do it this way. Why did they go interview Michael Flynn? 

Mr. Comey. Because they were directed to. 

Mr. Gowdy. I know. By you. For what purpose? 

Mr. Comey. To see if they could, by interviewing Mr. Flynn, gain an understanding about why the Vice President was making statements that purported to repeat statements he had made that were false. 

Mr. Gowdy. You knew what the Vice President was saying was false, right? 

Mr. Comey. Correct.  

Mr. Gowdy. Had Michael Flynn ever repeated that he had never spoken to the Russian Ambassador or, if so, limited the scope of conduct to something you knew not to be true? 

Mr. Comey. I'm sorry, sir. I don't understand that question. 

Mr. Gowdy. Had Michael Flynn ever publicly said that he had not talked to the Russian Ambassador or limited the scope of that conversation in a way such that you knew to not be true? 

Mr. Comey. I don't believe Mr. Flynn made any public comments about his interactions with the Russians certainly before the agents interviewed him on January 24th. 

Mr. Gowdy. What is the Logan Act? 

Mr. Comey. It's a criminal statute that, as I understand it, in general, prohibits private citizens from engaging in negotiations with foreign powers on behalf of the United States Government. 

Mr. Gowdy. How many times has it been prosecuted in our country's jurisprudence? 

Mr. Comey. I don't know. I have some recollection that there were prosecutions 100 years ago or something like that, but that's about all I recall. 

Mr. Gowdy. Any successful prosecutions? 

Mr. Comey. I don't know one way or the other. 

Mr. Gowdy. So, again, I'm trying to understand. It is not the FBI's job, unless I'm mistaken, to correct false statements that political figures say to one another. So why did you send two Bureau agents to interview Michael Flynn? 

Mr. Comey. Because one of the FBI's jobs is to understand the efforts of foreign adversaries to influence, coerce, corrupt the Government of the United States. So they were sent there as part of that counterintelligence mission to try and understand why it appeared to be the case that the National Security Advisor was making false statements about his conversations with the Russians to the Vice President of the United States. 

Mr. Gowdy. Had Michael Flynn previously been under investigation by the Bureau? 

Mr. Comey. I can't answer that. 

Mr. Gowdy. Why not? 

Mr. Comey. Because I don't believe that the Bureau has ever publicly confirmed what Americans were under investigation, counterintelligence investigation, connected to the Trump campaign. 

Mr. Gowdy. Well, he's pled guilty, right? Hasn't been sentenced yet, but he's pled guilty. 

Mr. Comey. Yes

Mr. Gowdy. Pled to making a false statement. 

Mr. Comey. I've seen that, yes. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. Didn't plead to conspiracy, coordination, collusion with Russia. 

Mr. Comey. Not to my understanding. 

Mr. Gowdy. Right. Was Michael Flynn under investigation for his ties with Russia at the time you sent the Bureau agents over to interview him? 

Mr. Comey. I think I'm obligated to give you the same answer. I can't comment on that. 

Mr. Gowdy. And the reason you can't comment is why? 

Mr. Comey. Again, there are FBI lawyers here who will tell me if I'm wrong, but I do not believe the United States Government has ever publicly confirmed what Americans were the subjects of counterintelligence investigations prior to that date. 

Mr. Gowdy. Well, you said four Americans. You've said that before. Correct? 

Mr. Comey. Sure. That fact is public. 

Mr. Gowdy. Right. So it's four Americans. You just testified that one of the Bureau's missions is to find out whether or not people are working in concert with foreign nations? 

Mr. Comey. Correct. 

Mr. Gowdy. Is that why the agents went to interview Michael Flynn, to find out whether or not he was working on behalf of the Russian state? 

Mr. Comey. I'd give you the same answer I gave before. The agents went to interview Flynn to try and understand why the National Security Advisor was making false statements to the Vice President of the United States about his interactions with the Russians during the transition. 

Mr. Gowdy. What questions did you -- what two Bureau agents did you send? 

Mr. Comey. Only one of them has been identified publicly, so I can do that. Peter Strzok was one of the two. The other was a career counterintelligence agent. 

Mr. Gowdy. And what questions did they ask related to Flynn's relationship with Russia? 

Mr. Comey. I don't know the answer to that

Mr. Gowdy. The Bureau knew that Michael Flynn was not telling the truth. You knew that before you sent the agents over there, right? 

Mr. Comey. No, I didn't know that. 

Mr. Gowdy. What did you know? 

Mr. Comey. I knew certain classified facts about the nature of his interactions with the Russians. I knew that the Vice President was making statements that he attributed to conversations he'd had with Mr. Flynn that were starkly at odds with those classified facts. 

Mr. Gowdy. You had the option of going to the Vice President and telling him that you knew for a fact what he was being told by General Flynn was not correct. That was one option, wasn't it? 

Mr. Comey. I'm not going to answer a hypothetical. We didn't do that. 

Mr. Gowdy. I know you didn't, Director Comey, but it's not unfair to ask what your options were. If you're concerned that  someone is lying to the Vice President, one of your options is to go tell the Vice President, "Someone's lying to you." 

Mr. Comey. Before interviewing the person who might be doing the lying? 

Mr. Gowdy. Sure. 

Mr. Comey. Sure, I suppose that's an option. I don't think it's one a reasonable investigator would take, but it's an option. 

Mr. Gowdy. Did Mr. Flynn have the right to have counsel present during that interview? 

Mr. Comey. No. 

Mr. Gowdy. What was the policy the Bureau followed with other administrations if you wanted to interview an employee of that administration? 

Mr. Comey. I don't know that there was a policy. My understanding was the normal practice was to coordinate an interview through the White House Counsel's Office. 

Mr. Gowdy. Recently -- and I want to make sure I get your words right. Tell me if this fairly captures what you said in response to a question. 

Mr. Kelley. Do you have a page cite? 

Mr. Gowdy. No. It's an interview he gave last week. 

Mr. Kelley. Do you have a copy of it? 

Mr. Gowdy. No, but I'm happy to -- why don't I ask him if he recognizes it first, and if he wants a copy of it, I'm happy to give him one. 

Mr. Kelley. He usually needs it to read along, but go ahead. 

Mr. Gowdy. Well, if he needs it, Mr. Kelley, I'll be happy to give it to him. I'm not trying to trick him. But he said it, and there's a chance he may remember it. "Something we, I, probably wouldn't have done or maybe gotten away with in a more organized investigation, a more organized administration." 

Mr. Comey. Yeah, I remember saying that. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. What did you mean by "gotten away with"? 

Mr. Comey. As I said, I don't think there were policies or rules -- I could be wrong, but I don't think so -- in prior administrations, but there were norms and practices, that, in a more established environment, there would've been an expectation that the FBI would coordinate the interview through White House Counsel. 

Mr. Gowdy. I understand that. I'm just kind of hung up on the phrase "gotten away with." 

Mr. Comey. Well, that there would've been -- that there wouldn't have been an opportunity to call Mr. Flynn and ask him to sit and talk to him, that, in an administration where the rhythm of the context between the FBI and the White House was more established, there would've been a strong expectation that we coordinate it through White House Counsel instead of calling the National Security Advisor directly. That's what I meant by it.  

Again, I'd never worked in a transition time before, but my understanding was that, in a more established administrative environment, you wouldn't get away with just calling the witness and saying, "Can we come and talk to you?" 

Mr. Gowdy. And you followed the protocol with Presidents Bush and President Obama? 

Mr. Comey. I don't remember having occasion like this with either of those Presidents. 

Mr. Gowdy. Why not advise General Flynn of the consequences of making false statements to the FBI? 

Mr. Comey. Two reasons, really. 

First, the Deputy Director called him, told him what the subject matter was, told him he was welcome to have a representative from White House Counsel there. So he knew what he was going to be asked about. He was an extraordinarily experienced person and so reasonably should be assumed to understand you can't lie to the FBI. 

Second, it's not protocol. The FBI does not do that in non custodial interviews. 

And, third, you want to find out what the witness will say to you before you heat up an interview by raising the prospect that the witness might be lying to you. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. So you knew what he said before you interviewed him. 

Mr. Comey. I don't understand that question.  

Mr. Gowdy. You knew exactly what General Flynn had said to the Russian Ambassador before you interviewed him. 

Mr. Comey. Yes. 

Mr. Gowdy. Exactly what was said. 

Mr. Comey. Well, I'm only hesitating because I don't know what I don't know, but we understood clearly the nature and extent of a variety of communications, telephonic, between Mr. Flynn and the Russian Ambassador. I'm only hesitating because, if there were other communications, other phones, other means of communication, we wouldn't know that. But we had clear transcripts of the conversations that we had. 

Mr. Gowdy. So if there were calls between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador that were missed, I don't think anybody expects you to know the contents of those calls. But the call in question, you knew exactly what was said. 

Mr. Comey. Yes. 

Mr. Gowdy. And General Flynn asked specifically whether or not he needed an attorney present, and what was the FBI's response? 

Mr. Comey. I don't remember that he asked that question. I believe the Deputy Director volunteered to him that you are welcome to have somebody present from the White House Counsel's Office. And I think he said, in substance, there'd be no need for that. 

Mr. Gowdy. And you don't think that's because Flynn asked; you think that's because McCabe just volunteered? "You can have someone, but it will slow up the process." 

Mr. Comey. My recollection could be wrong, of course, but my recollection is that the Deputy Director offered it to him and did not add that bit about slowing the process, but said, "If you wish to, you can have somebody there from the White House Counsel's Office." 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. So we have two agents that you personally sent to interview General Flynn. You knew exactly what he had said. There was no counsel present. The Bureau did not go through White House Counsel when he was not advised ahead of time of the consequences of making a false statement to the FBI. 

Mr. Comey. I'm hesitating, Mr. Gowdy, just because it's a question with a bunch of different pieces. I have to take issue with one at the beginning. It may seem a small thing, but I didn't personally send the agents. I didn't know what agents would go. I wanted Flynn interviewed as soon as possible. 

Mr. Gowdy. Well, Director Comey, I'm trying to come to grips with what this three-word sentence means: "I sent them." What does that sentence mean to you when it's uttered by you? 

Mr. Comey. Yeah, it means I wanted Flynn interviewed, which is why agents went and interviewed him at the White House. I took your question to mean that I knew the identity of the agents who were going to go. I didn't want to leave you with that  impression. The agents went to interview Flynn because I said I want Flynn interviewed, I want him interviewed as soon as possible. 

Mr. Gowdy. I'd be shocked if you handpicked the agents, Director Comey. My point was you sent them. You knew that there was a different protocol with the Bush and the Obama administration's. You had the option of calling Don McGahn, but you decided not to do so. Either Flynn asked whether he should have a lawyer present or Andy McCabe told him it would slow him down, one or the other. And he was not advised of the consequences of making a false statement before he was interviewed. Is all of that accurate? 

Mr. Comey. No, your question's not accurate. 

Mr. Gowdy. What part is inaccurate? 

Mr. Comey. Well, probably a bunch, but I'll take one. Implicit in your question was your assertion that there were two states of the world: either Flynn asked for a lawyer and was told something or was told something else. Neither of those is consistent with my recollection. My recollection is the Deputy Director said, "If you wish to have someone there from White House Counsel, you're welcome to." I don't remember that he added "it'll slow down the process" or anything like that. 

Mr. Gowdy. Well, are you familiar with Andy McCabe's memo? Are you familiar with what he filed with the court? 

Mr. Comey. Generally, yes. I haven't read it. I read press accounts of it. [Oh wow this is the reason Trump wanted 'Russia' included in the wording of why Comey was Fired,Comey,Mueller and Clinton are the ones who were involved with 'Russia'D.C]...

Mr. Gowdy. Well, how about we get a copy of that for Director Comey so we can be working off of the same piece of paper. While we're waiting on them to get you that document, Director Comey, how about I take that phrase out and simply insert that McCabe said, "If you have a lawyer present, we'll need to involve the Department of Justice"? Do you recall that? 

Mr. Comey. I don't. He could have, but I don't recall that as I sit here. 

Mr. Gowdy. Jimmy, I'm going to let you go, so we don't have to wait on this document to get here. 

Mr. Jordan. Director, in the conversations that you'd had between Mr. Flynn and the Russian Ambassador, was there anything wrong in those conversations, anything said that was not appropriate, anything wrong, anything that caused you to be -- caused him to be under investigation just based on what he said in those conversations? 

Mr. Comey. I'm pausing, Mr. Jordan, because I don't -- I guess I have two concerns. One is, I don't know whether the conversations -- I think they're still classified, the contents of those conversations. I haven't seen them in a long, long time, so I don't think I can answer that question. 

Mr. Jordan. To Mr. Gowdy's question, you asked the reason you went to interview General Flynn was because statements made by the Vice President contradicted what you knew that he had said in -- he, Flynn -- had said in conversations with Ambassador Kislyak. 

And all I'm asking is, was that the only reason you went to him, or was there other things that were said in his conversations with Mr. Kislyak that caused you concern and you wanted to go talk to him? 

Mr. Comey. The Vice President had said that the National Security Advisor had told the Vice President that the subject of sanctions never came up in General Flynn's conversations with the Russians. That's my memory of what the Vice President said. We knew that was not true. 

Mr. Jordan. You knew that sanctions had come up in the conversation. 

Mr. Comey. Correct. 

Mr. Jordan. But that, in and of itself, is not a problem. 

Mr. Comey. Is not -- 

Mr. Jordan. The fact that the Vice President -- or, excuse me, the fact that incoming National Security Advisor talks with -- at this time, he could've already been National Security Advisor, but -- incoming National Security Advisor talks with the Russian Ambassador about sanctions, that's not a problem. Your concern was that the Vice President was reporting publicly or  saying publicly that Flynn had not talked about that because Flynn had told him that. 

Mr. Comey. Our concern was -- and Mr. Gowdy asked me about the Logan Act. That was not my focus, as I recall, at the time; that I gather there was a statute that prohibited private citizens and all that but that it wasn't something that had been prosecuted in 100 years, and so that was not our focus. Our focus was it appeared that the National Security Advisor was lying to the Vice President about his communications with the Russians, and that made no sense to us, and we wanted to understand what is happening here

Mr. Jordan. But my point is you knew his conversation -- you knew what his conversation was with the Russian Ambassador. And I'm asking, on its face, was there anything in that conversation that was wrong? 

Mr. Comey. And I hesitate only with "wrong." I think a Department of Justice prosecutor might say, on its face, it was problematic under the Logan Act because of private citizens negotiating and all that business. That was not my focus at the time, as I recall. 

Mr. Jordan. The day before you sent two agents over to interview General Flynn, there's a story in The Washington Post. Maybe we can give the Director a copy of that story. Can we get a copy of that? And I just want to read the first sentence in the story.  

"The FBI in late December" -- well, I'll let you get a copy, if we've got one. 

Do we have a copy of that? It's right here? 

Okay. Let me just read it, Director. 

"The FBI in late December reviewed intercepts of communications between the Russian Ambassador to the United States and retired General Mike Flynn, the National Security Advisor to then-President-elect Trump, but has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian Government, U.S. officials said." 

And all I'm asking is, is that accurate? 

Mr. Comey. Can I look at the article, Mr. Jordan? 

Mr. Jordan. I'm sorry. 

Mr. Comey. Yeah, I don't think I can answer that question, Mr. Jordan, because the answer calls for classified information. 

Mr. Jordan. It "has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian Government exist." You can't say whether that's accurate or not? 

Mr. Comey. I can't. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. And then later down, the fourth paragraph, the paragraph that begins "Although Flynn's contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak," after the comma, it says, "Flynn himself is not the active target of an investigation, U.S. officials said." Is that accurate? 

Mr. Comey. I can't answer that. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. I want to go back to memo No. 1, if we could get your first memo to -- 

Mr. Comey. The February 8th one? 

Mr. Jordan. No. I want to go back to the very first one that you did on the January 6th meeting up in -- excuse me, January 7th meeting in New York. Friday, the 6th, you meet. The memo is actually dated the 7th. Do you have that one? 

Mr. Comey. Yes. It's in -- sorry. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. Who all went with you, again, to New York to brief the President-elect? 

Mr. Comey. I went literally by myself because I was doing other FBI business. But we met at Trump Tower with the Director of the CIA, the Director of the NSA, and the Director of National Intelligence, and a bunch of security folks, obviously. 

Mr. Jordan. So just tell me, though, the head of the CIA -- tell me -- refresh my memory who everyone is again. Who's CIA? 

Mr. Comey. John Brennan was then the Director of CIA. Michael Rogers was then the Director of the NSA. And Jim Clapper was the Director of National Intelligence. 

Mr. Jordan. So Mr. Clapper was with you? 

Mr. Comey. I'm sorry, sir? 

Mr. Jordan. Mr. Clapper was there in New York?

Mr. Comey. Correct. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. And you guys, had you talked before? Because, in this memo, you said, "Clapper wanted me to speak to the President-elect." So had you talked before this and kind of choreographed how the meeting was going to go and who was going to do what? 

Mr. Comey. Yes. And we had briefed here on Capitol Hill that morning to the so-called Gang of Eight and the day before to President Obama and his senior national security team. So we'd done the briefing twice already. And then General Clapper, who was the leader of the team, had explained to me how it was going to go at Trump Tower. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. So you kind of orchestrated and choreographed how it was going to go at Trump Tower. What did you brief the President on exactly? 

Mr. Comey. There were two parts to this conversation. The second part was just the President-elect and I alone. The first part was the Director of National Intelligence reporting to him, Mr. Trump, and his team the results of the intelligence community assessment that we had briefed here on the Hill that morning and the President -- the then-current President the night before. 

Mr. Jordan. In that first part -- was there anything in that first part about the dossier? Well, let me ask it this way. Was the dossier only briefed in the second part with you and the President-elect, just the two  of you? Was that the only time the dossier was brought up in that briefing? 

Mr. Comey. I just want to confirm that you mean the so-called Steele dossier by that term? [yeah the made up one DC]

Mr. Jordan. Yes, the dossier. 

Mr. Comey. Yeah. I don't -- the reason I'm hesitating is there was a portion of the Steele reporting that was the subject of my private meeting with the President-elect during the prior session. I don't know whether any of the Steele materials were referenced there. And the reason I'm hesitating, Mr. Jordan, is there was a reference to the materials in part of the written report, the intelligence community assessment that General Clapper left with the President-elect. 

Mr. Jordan. That's where I wanted to go. So the dossier you don't think was talked in the general -- talked about in the bigger, larger, general briefing, but a portion of it was discussed when you met with the President-elect alone. 

Mr. Comey. That's correct. 

Mr. Jordan. And the portion was the salacious part about the Russian hotel. 

Mr. Comey. Correct, the -- 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. 

Mr. Comey. -- stuff about -- the alleged stuff about the prostitutes. 

Mr. Jordan. Why didn't you brief the President on the entire dossier? Why just that part? 

Mr. Comey. Well, that's why I'm hesitating and saying I'm not sure whether it was mentioned, I don't think it was, in the first session, but it was written about in the document that was left, the so-called ICA, the intelligence community assessment. But I don't remember General Clapper talking about reporting from the Steele reports in that first session. 

I could be wrong, but I don't remember it. I remember it clearly in the written document that was left but not in his oral presentation. 

Mr. Jordan. Did you choose just to brief the President-elect on the salacious part of the dossier, or was that something Clapper and the rest of the team had instructed you to brief the President on in just the private meeting with you and the President? 

Mr. Comey. Well, ultimately, it was Clapper's call. I agreed -- we agreed that it made sense for me to do it and to do it privately, separately. So I don't want to make it sound like I was ordered to do it. 

Mr. Jordan. So I guess what -- 

Mr. Comey. I agreed that it made sense. 

Mr. Jordan. -- what I'm saying is, if it was -- I just want to know why. Why didn't you brief him on the whole thing, talk about this dossier put together by a foreign intelligence source, we have this information? Why just the salacious part? Why not  the whole thing? 

Mr. Comey. I don't think -- again, I could be wrong that he brought it up, but I don't think he brought it up in the first session, because it wasn't central to the conclusions of the joint intelligence community assessment. There were lots of other sources to support the conclusions, and because it wasn't important to the conclusion, I don't think he brought it up in his oral presentation. 

It was brought up in my -- just that piece, it was brought up privately, because the goal of the private session was to alert the incoming President to this piece of it that we thought was about to become public. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. 

Second page of your memo, at least the way my copy is, the third-to-last paragraph: I said I was -- I said I wasn't saying this was true, only that I wanted to let him know that it had been reported and that reports were in many hands. Do you see that? 

Mr. Comey. Yes, I do. 

Mr. Jordan. Next sentence, you said: I said media like CNN had them, and they were looking for a news hook. 

What is a news hook? 

Mr. Comey. As I understood the term used by the press people of the FBI, it was an excuse to publish some event, some reason to say something was news. 

Mr. Jordan. Could a news hook be the fact that you had actually just briefed the President-elect on this material? Could that be a news hook, in and of itself? 

Mr. Comey. I didn't think of it that way, but I think that when CNN or one of them ultimately reported, that was, in part, the hook they had used, that it had been briefed. 

Mr. Jordan. Last sentence in that paragraph: I said that it was inflammatory stuff and that they would get killed for reporting it straight up from source report. What did you mean by that sentence? 

Mr. Comey. I think what it says: that it was salacious and unverified material that a responsible journalist wouldn't report without corroborating in some way. Reporting it straight from the source reports wouldn't be corroborating it. 

Mr. Jordan. So that's what I'm not understanding, is you felt this was so important that it required a private session with you and the President-elect, you only spoke of the salacious part of the dossier, but yet you also say there's no way any good reporter would print this. 

But you felt it was still critical that you had to talk to the President-elect about it. And I would argue you created the very news hook that you said you were concerned about. 

Mr. Comey. I didn't hear a question, Mr. Jordan. 

Mr. Jordan. I guess the question is, if it's so inflammatory that reporters would get killed for reporting it, why was it so important to tell the President? Particularly when you weren't going to tell him the rest of the dossier -- about the rest of the dossier. 

Mr. Comey. Well, I don't recall saying to him -- and I don't read what I wrote here immediately afterwards to say this either -- that it wouldn't be reported. What I mean by "killed" is they'd be severely criticized for reporting it, as I believe -- I forget the outfit that did it -- Buzzfeed, I think, was severely criticized for reporting it. So I wasn't telling him it's not going to come out. We're warning him that it may come out. 

Mr. Jordan. In this meeting, did you tell the President who had financed the dossier? 

Mr. Comey. No.

Mr. Jordan. Were you concerned at all that the President might get the wrong impression, that maybe, in fact, you were -- you had this important information, that some way you could hold that over the President's head? Were you concerned about that? And did you convey it in such a way as to make sure he didn't go away with that impression? 

Mr. Comey. I was very concerned that he might interpret it as an effort to pull a J. Edgar Hoover on him. 

Mr. Jordan. And how did you convey it, then, and -- what did you say to make sure he understood it in the proper context, or at least the context you were trying to convey it? 

Mr. Comey. By explaining to him the reason that I was doing it and explaining that it was unverified, that it wasn't something that we were investigating, and then, once the conversation, in my judgment, started to go off the rails, by then telling him we were not investigating him personally. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. Can you go to the memo No. 2, the one that's, I think, dated the 28th, January 28th, 2017, I think recounting your conversations at dinner with the President from the day before, the 27th. And I want to go to page 4 of that. 

Again, this is where Mr. Gowdy was, in some ways, earlier, but I kind of want to -- I just want to try to understand this. 

When did the White House learn that you had actually interviewed -- so your conversation with the President -- you have dinner with the President on the 27th of January. The 24th is the day -- 3 days earlier is when Mr. Flynn is interviewed by two agents. 

When did the White House actually then learn that General Flynn had been interviewed by the FBI? 

Mr. Comey. I don't know. It's hard because I don't know what you mean by "the White House." My recollection is that the Deputy Attorney General went over on the 25th and, I think, on the 26th and spoke to the White House Counsel. My recollection is that this -- that he had been interviewed came up then. But I don't know whether people knew about it the day we interviewed him, people besides General Flynn. 

Mr. Jordan. Did the President know? 

Mr. Comey. I don't know. 

Mr. Jordan. In the next-to-last paragraph, last sentence, you said, "I did not comment at any point during this topic" -- and the topic is about General Flynn -- "and there was no mention or acknowledgment of any FBI interest in or contact with General Flynn." Tell me what that sentence means there. 

Mr. Comey. Say again, sir? 

Mr. Jordan. That last sentence you wrote, what do you mean in that sentence? What are you talking about? 

Mr. Comey. Exactly what I said here, that at no time during the dinner was there a reference, allusion, mention by either of us about the FBI having contact with General Flynn or being interested in General Flynn investigatively. 

Mr. Jordan. That was what I wanted to know. So this is not just referring to the President didn't bring it up. You didn't bring it up either. 

Mr. Comey. Correct, neither of us brought it up or alluded to it. 

Mr. Jordan. Why not? He's talking about General Flynn. You had just interviewed him 3 days earlier and discovered that he was lying to the Vice President, knew he was lying to the Vice President, and, based on what we've heard of late, that he lied to your agents. Why not tell his boss, why not tell the head of the executive branch, why not tell the President of the United States, "Hey, your National Security Advisor just lied to us 3 days ago"

Mr. Comey. Because we had an open investigation, and there would be no reason or a need to tell the President about it. 

Mr. Jordan. Really? 

Mr. Comey. Really. 

Mr. Jordan. You wouldn't tell the President of the United States that his National Security Advisor wasn't being square with the FBI? 

Mr. Comey. I wouldn't until our investigation -- I certainly wouldn't consider it while the investigation was open. 

Mr. Jordan. I mean, but this is not just any investigation, it seems to me, Director. This is a top advisor to the Commander in Chief. And you guys, based on what we've heard, felt that he wasn't being honest with the Vice President and wasn't honest with two of your agents. And just 3 days later, you're meeting with the President, and, oh, by the way, the conversation is about General Flynn. And you don't tell the President anything? 

Mr. Comey. I did not. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. 

Mr. Meadows. So, Director Comey, let me make sure I understand this. You were so concerned that Michael Flynn may have lied or did lie to the Vice President of the United States, but that once you got that confirmed, that he had told a  falsehood, you didn't believe that it was appropriate to tell the President of the United States that there was no national security risk where you would actually convey that to the President of the United States? Is that your testimony? 

Mr. Comey. That is correct. We had an -- 

Mr. Meadows. I just find that -- 

Mr. Kelley. Let him finish the answer. 

Mr. Comey. We had an open investigation, criminal investigation, counterintelligence investigation. There was no way I would discuss that with the President. 

Now, I was aware that the Deputy Attorney General had gone and voiced the Department of Justice's concerns about his susceptibility to blackmail at a high level to the White House. 

But, during this dinner, it did not -- I did not and would not talk about a pending criminal investigation with the President. 

Mr. Meadows. Well, was it a criminal investigation at that point or a counterintelligence investigation? 

Mr. Comey. It was both. Every counterintelligence investigation has, as an aspect, criminal -- 

Mr. Meadows. It has potential criminal -- but it was opened as a counterintelligence investigation. 

Mr. Comey. Correct. 

Mr. Meadows. And so, was there a criminal investigation opened at this point?  

Mr. Comey. Yes. 

Mr. Jordan. I mean, Director, it just strikes me as that's, it seems to me, twice in a 3-day period where you did not inform the White House of something that seemed to be pretty important information. I want to move on to memo No. 6, which is the 3/30/17 memo, if I could. 

Mr. Comey. Okay. I have it. 

Mr. Jordan. Now, Director, actually, one of the things I wanted to ask you, too, is -- so when I went through the memos, I think on seven different occasions you referenced the fact that you are not investigating the President. And the President is pretty clear he would love for you to have made that information public, told the American people that the President, their President, the guy they elected, wasn't under investigation. 

Why didn't you do that? Why wouldn't you just tell the American people he is not under investigation? 

Mr. Comey. Two reasons. First, I wouldn't do it without the approval and direction of the leadership of the Department of Justice, one. Two, saying that publicly had significant consequences, both in terms of creating a duty to correct and potentially being misleading. 

Mr. Jordan. At the end of this memo, you say, "I called Acting Attorney General and relayed the substance of the above and said I was telling him so he could decide what guidance to give  me, if any," which sort of squares with what you just answered -- what you just said to my previous question. What did the AG say? 

Mr. Comey. I don't recall him saying anything then except "Thanks for telling me," and then my conversation with the Acting AG ended. I didn't hear back from him on the subject before the President called me again 10 or so days later. 

Mr. Jordan. But from March 30th, 2017, when you write this memo until you leave the FBI a month and a half later, you never heard back from the Attorney General with an answer to your question? I mean, that's a pretty important question. The President is -- seven different times in your interactions with the President, he has said, 

"Hey, can you let the American people know I'm not under investigation?" 

You said, 

"You know what? There's a way to do this. We're going to work through proper channels. I'm going to call Dana Boente over at Justice, and we're going to get an answer." 

And you do that on the 30th of March. And you're still FBI Director until May 9th, I believe. So, in that 7-week time period, no answer from the Justice Department? 

Mr. Comey. To be clear, I just want to correct one thing you said, Mr. Jordan. I didn't tell the President we would get an answer. I told him that I would relay his request. 

Mr. Jordan. I didn't ask -- 

Mr. Comey. I contacted --  

Mr. Jordan. -- that, but that's fine. 

Mr. Comey. After the President called back -- and I think it was April 11th -- to ask about it again, the President said -- when I told him I had relayed his request, the President said he would have the White House Counsel follow up directly with the Department of Justice to get an answer. And I think my chief of staff spoke to Mr. Boente at that point to tell him that we'd gotten another call, and Mr. Boente said, in substance, "Oh, God, I was hoping that would go away." And -- 

Mr. Jordan. Wait, wait. Say that again. Acting Attorney General Boente said what? 

Mr. Comey. My recollection is he said something to the effect of, "Oh, God, I was hoping that would go away" when he was contacted the second time to say the President wanted to know the answer. 

Mr. Jordan. And the second time, that contact was from you or White House Counsel? 

Mr. Comey. No. I'm sorry. Maybe I'm screwing it up. The President called me March 30th. I relayed his request to the Acting Attorney General. I didn't hear back. The President calls me again. Again, I think it's April 11th. Says, "What did you do with what I had asked?" 

I told him I had given it to the Acting Attorney General. And we had a conversation where he said he understood the way to proceed was to have the White House Counsel ask the Justice Department to get out that he wasn't under investigation. Then we gave a heads-up. 

I think -- I don't think I did it directly. I think my chief of staff did it. Called Mr. Boente and said, "The President just called. Wants to know what happened with that thing." 

And Mr. Boente's reaction was, in substance, "Oh, God, I was hoping that would go away." 

Mr. Jordan. But that's on the 10th of April. 

Mr. Comey. I think the 11th of April maybe. I could have the dates wrong. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay, 10th or 11th of April. So, again, you've got another month still on the job. Nothing happened? 

Mr. Comey. I don't know what happened. I don't remember any further conversations that I was involved in until I was fired on May the 9th. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. 

Mr. Gowdy. Director Comey, I think your counsel has a copy of one of the exhibits to the Cohen sentencing memo that purports to be the notes of Andy McCabe. Do you see that? 

Mr. Comey. I see the document dated January 24th, 2017. 

Mr. Gowdy. That's right. Will you look at the last paragraph with me, kind of the sentence in the middle? "I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between him and the agents only." Does that change your impression of whether or not the Bureau discouraged him from having White House Counsel or other lawyers present? 

Mr. Comey. Let me just read the whole paragraph, if I could. Okay. Could you say your question again, sir? 

Mr. Gowdy. Well, you and I were quibbling a little bit over whether or not you took exception to something in a serial question I asked you about whether the Bureau discouraged General Flynn from having either White House Counsel or other counsel present. And you took exception to that, and that's why I went and got the document. And I'm wondering whether or not you still take exception to that in light of what you read

Mr. Comey. I take exception to your characterization of it as discouraging. But I'm reading Andy -- and I'm sure Andy this wrote this accurately, that he had said the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between him and the agents only. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. 

Mr. Comey. So I would read it as encouraging him to meet with the agents without White House Counsel present. [What a snake this mealy mouth penis breath is D.C]

Mr. Gowdy. Well, what's the next sentence? 

Mr. Comey. "I further stated that if Lieutenant General Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House Counsel, for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. He stated this would not be necessary."  

Mr. Gowdy. Then, if you look at the first sentence, "I explained to Lieutenant General Flynn that my desire was to have two of my agents interview him as quickly, quietly, and discreetly as possible." So you've got the Deputy Director of the FBI saying let's do this quick, it's not going to be quick if you involve other people, and you do not think that that sends the -- [Discussion off the record.] 

Mr. Gowdy. I'm not going to make you listen to two people at the same time. 

Mr. Comey. I got it. Go ahead. Sorry. 

Mr. Gowdy. You do not think that that left the impression with General Flynn that he needed to go ahead and do it without counsel involved? 

Mr. Comey. I can't speak to the impression it left with General Flynn. I take these words -- in a memo I haven't seen before, but I take them to be accurately recounting what Andy's conversation was. 

Mr. Gowdy. Why was it important to do it so quickly? 

Mr. Comey. I don't know what Andy meant by "quickly." I wanted it done quickly because the best investigations are done promptly, before things sit around and people have an opportunity to take your investigation in different directions. You jump on it; you go get an interview done. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. But if --

Mr. Comey. That's how I've always investigated. 

Mr. Gowdy. -- if your goal is to get the Vice President to quit misspeaking publicly, you could have told the Vice President, "Quit saying that. It's not true." 

Mr. Comey. Could have. Yeah.

Mr. Gowdy. I want you to flip over to the affidavit, if you will, from Peter Strzok, who was one of the two Bureau agents that interviewed Flynn. 

Mr. Comey. I'm sorry, I don't see an affidavit. 

Mr. Gowdy. Page 3. Do you see that? 

Mr. Comey. I'm looking for an affidavit. I don't -- hold on. 

Mr. Gowdy. Maybe it's a 302. 

Mr. Comey. I see a 302 from an interview on 7/19/2017 of Peter Strzok. 

Mr. Gowdy. I am looking at one date of August 22nd, 2017. 

Mr. Comey. Okay, hold on. I got it. I'm sorry. 

Mr. Gowdy. Can you look at page 3? 

Mr. Comey. Oh, I see. The write-up is August 22nd; the interview is 7/19. That's what was confusing me. I got it. Page 3. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. Second full paragraph, begins "Before the interview"? 

Mr. Comey. I see that, yep

Mr. Gowdy. "Before the interview, McCabe" -- redacted -- "and others decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed and they were concerned that giving him the warnings might adversely affect the rapport." You could fashion an argument, Director Comey, that the purpose of an FBI interview is not so much to establish a rapport as to get the facts and the truth. Do you believe that warning someone that there are consequences for not telling the truth adversely affects your getting the truth? 

Mr. Comey. It can, yes. 

Mr. Gowdy. So you did consider warning him and decided not to. 

Mr. Comey. I did not. 

Mr. Gowdy. But you see that McCabe and others did. 

Mr. Comey. I see this paragraph in the 302 that they had a conversation about it. I wasn't present for it, but I see that they did. 

Mr. Gowdy. And they made the deliberate decision not to advise him that there were consequences for lying because they, quote, "did not want to adversely affect the rapport." 

Mr. Comey. I see that. Totally reasonable, consistent with the FBI's practice in thousands of interviews

Mr. Gowdy. Well, in our next hour, Director Comey, we are  going to go -- we are going to contrast the decision to not allow Michael Flynn to have an attorney, or discourage him from having one, with allowing some other folks the Bureau interviewed to have multiple attorneys in the room, including fact witnesses. Can you see the dichotomy there, or is that an unreasonable comparison? 

Mr. Comey. I'm not going to comment on that. I remember you asking me questions about that last week. I'm happy to answer them again. 

Mr. Gowdy. You will not say whether or not it is an unreasonable comparison to compare allowing multiple attorneys, who are also fact witnesses, to be present during an interview but discouraging another person from having counsel present? 

Mr. Comey. I'm not going to answer that in a vacuum, Mr. Gowdy. Someone who has a lawyer, and you know as an investigator that person is represented -- to have an interview with that person that you know to be represented is a violation of your ethical duties as a lawyer and an FBI agent. So they're totally different circumstances. 

Mr. Gowdy. Is that why you went through White House Counsel for the Obama and the Bush administrations? 

Mr. Comey. I didn't go through White House Counsel for the Obama -- 

Mr. Gowdy. You've said that was the protocol. 

Mr. Kelley. No, that's not what he said. He said he hasn't  had experience doing that in either the Obama or Bush administrations. 

Mr. Gowdy. You said the protocol was to go through White House Counsel, correct? 

Mr. Comey. That was what I understood, yes. 

Mr. Gowdy. Were there any deviations from that protocol? 

Mr. Comey. I don't know. 

Mr. Gowdy. So it was protocol and practice to go through White House Counsel to interview administration officials under Bush and Obama. 

Mr. Comey. No. My understanding was, to do an interview at the White House complex, we would arrange -- the FBI would arrange those interviews through the White House Counsel's Office. I never participated in one, don't know of one, but I have a recollection that's what the protocol was. Not that they would have a lawyer present, but to arrange it, they would do it through the White House Counsel. 

Mr. Gowdy. There's a note that Sally Yates was very upset when she learned about the interview. Is that accurate? 

Mr. Comey. Yes. 

Mr. Gowdy. What was she upset about? 

Mr. Comey. That I had sent the agents to do the interview without telling her. 

Mr. Gowdy. Why would that upset her? 

Mr. Comey. Because she had been involved in conversations about what to do about the apparent false statements that the Vice President was making publicly and felt that she should've been consulted before agents were dispatched to interview Flynn

Mr. Gowdy. And I think your testimony was, at least once and possibly twice, she went and met with White House Counsel after your Flynn interview? 

Mr. Comey. Correct. Maybe both of the next 2 days. At least one of those 2 days. 

Mr. Gowdy. And she took Mary McCord with her? Does that ring a bell? 

Mr. Comey. Yeah, it rings a general bell. I think so. I'm certain she went. It rings a bell that Mary McCord went, but I can't say for certain. 

Mr. Gowdy. Am I mischaracterizing prior testimony by saying that the Bureau was about to wrap up its Michael Flynn investigation at the time this conversation with the Russian Ambassador took place? 

Mr. Comey. I don't think that's one I can answer. In other words, I think that calls for an answer that's still classified. And I'll consult with the FBI. If they tell me it's not, I'm happy to tell you later. 

Mr. Gowdy. Okay. [Discussion off the record.] [11:20 a.m.] 

Mr. Comey. Sorry, no luck. I can't answer that question. [Trump needs to unclassify all of this DC]

Mr. Gowdy. You can't answer any part of it? You can't answer that there was an investigation of Michael Flynn? You can't answer that it was about to wrap up? Both? 

Mr. Comey. Either of those. 

Mr. Gowdy. Okay. A couple more questions, and then we'll cede time to our colleagues on the other side. If President Trump had told you he was going to let Michael Flynn go, is that obstruction? 

Mr. Comey. I'm not going to answer a hypothetical, Mr. Gowdy. 

Mr. Gowdy. Why not? 

Mr. Comey. Because I'm not. It is irresponsible to answer hypotheticals. I tried to do a lot of it last time. I will answer factual questions, but the what-ifs and what-abouts, I'm just not going the answer those. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. Well, let me see if we can get at it this way. From a factual standpoint, what is your understanding of the power to pardon? 

Mr. Comey. I'm not qualified to answer. I mean, I know the pardon power is written in the United States Constitution. It is broad. It is sweeping. Beyond that, you would have to talk to an expert. 

Mr. Gowdy. What are the limitations -- you're right that it is broad and sweeping. What are the limitations? 

Mr. Comey. The same answer I gave you earlier, I'm not qualified to answer that question. 

Mr. Gowdy. If the President had told you he was going to talk to Jeff Sessions about letting Flynn go, would that constitute obstruction? 

Mr. Comey. I'm not going to answer a hypothetical. 

Mr. Gowdy. All right. 

Mr. Jordan. Hey, can I get one more question real quick? Director, are there other versions of your memos, other drafts or other versions? 

Mr. Comey. Not that I'm aware of. Than what you have here before me? 

Mr. Jordan. Right. 

Mr. Comey. Not that I'm aware of. 

Mr. Jordan. When you the drafted memo -- I think last time we talked, you said put together a memo; you would meet with your top people, go through it, go over it. What kinds of changes were made? Were there changes made to the memo after you had had those discussions with the leadership of the FBI? 

Mr. Comey. I don't remember any changes to memos after I initialed them and dated them and then shared them with the team. I don't remember any changes as a result of consultation with the team. 

Mr. Jordan. Okay. Thank you. 

End Morning Session

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