Fired FBI director James Comey confirmed in a statement Wednesday that US President Donald Trump urged him to drop an investigation into his former national security advisor Michael Flynn, then under scrutiny for his Russia contacts.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy,” Comey quoted Trump as telling him on February 14 as they sat alone together in the Oval Office.

“I had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with his false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December,” Comey said in a statement released ahead of his appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

Comey also described a one-on-one dinner he had with the president at the White House on January 27 in which Trump asked him if he wanted to stay in his job.

Made uneasy by the set-up, Comey said he told Trump he was not “‘reliable’ in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth.”

“The president said, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’ I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed,” Comey said.

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