Comey to tell Senate Trump asked him to 'lift the cloud' of Russia probe

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Former FBI Director James Comey's prepared statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee has been released. (KABC)

In a prepared statement by former FBI Director James Comey released ahead of his planned testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey claims President Donald Trump asked him for "loyalty" and asked "what we could do to lift the cloud" of the investigation into his campaign's involvement with Russia.

In the lengthy statement, Comey describes several conversations with Trump, including a dinner where the president told Comey that he needed loyalty.

"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,'" Comey wrote.

Comey said he wrote a detailed memo about the encounter immediately afterward and shared it with the FBI's senior leadership team.

Comey recounted another phone conversation he had with Trump on March 30 regarding the Russia investigation.

"On the morning of March 30, the President called me at the FBI. He described the Russia investigation as "a cloud" that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia," Comey wrote.

"He asked what we could do to 'lift the cloud.' I responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn't find anything, to our having done the work well. He agreed, but then re-emphasized the problems this was causing him."

Read the full text of Comey's prepared statement here.

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