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The 'Awkward' Moment James Comey And Donald Trump Stared At Each Other In Silence

08/06/2017 5:19 AM AEST | Updated 08/06/2017 7:22 AM AEST

Former FBI Director James Comey’s prepared testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee contains several bombshells about his interactions with President Donald Trump

It also contains one extremely uncomfortable moment ― one Comey himself described as “awkward.” 

Comey describes in detail a one-on-one dinner he attended with the president on Jan. 27, roughly three-and-a-half months before Trump fired him. According to the then-FBI director, Trump asked Comey whether he planned to stay in his post.

Comey said he did. However, Comey felt that the setting of the meeting and the president’s comments “meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship.”

Feeling “uneasy” with that, Comey told the president he was “not on anybody’s side politically” and could only assure the president that he would be honest.”

Here’s Comey’s account of the moment that followed:

A few moments later, 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. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.

...

Near the end of our dinner, the President returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay, adding that he had heard great things about me from Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, and many others. He then said, “I need loyalty.” I replied, “You will always get honesty from me.” He paused and then said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” I paused, and then said, “You will get that from me.” As I wrote in the memo I created immediately after the dinner, it is possible we understood the phrase “honest loyalty” differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further. The term – honest loyalty – had helped end a very awkward conversation and my explanations had made clear what he should expect.

Comey is set to appear before the Senate committee Thursday morning.

Read his full prepared testimony here.

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