House Speaker Paul Ryan said it was “obviously” not appropriate for President Donald Trump to ask former FBI Director James Comey for this loyalty while he conducted the bureau’s probe into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The ousted ex-FBI chief said in a written statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee ahead of his Thursday testimony on Capitol Hill that during a Jan. 27 dinner at the White House, the president had said to him, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”
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Pressed on whether he found the comments appropriate during an interview on MSNBC Wednesday, Ryan voiced his opposition.
“Obviously, I don’t think that is,” the House speaker said.
Comey also wrote Wednesday in his statement that during a March 30 phone call President Trump had characterized the ongoing Russia investigation as ‘”a cloud’ that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country, before asking what Comey and the bureau could to do “lift the cloud.”
The House speaker called for more information about James Comey’s interactions with the president in mid-May following the revelation that Trump has asked Comey to back off his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“We need the facts,” Ryan said in response to the reports.
Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee at 10 a.m. on Thursday.