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Comey declined to answer some questions in open setting

James Comey  offered a surprising level of detail on his conversations with President Trump and even about ongoing investigations – particularly that involving former national security adviser Michael Flynn. But several times, he declined to answer senators’ questions, saying he cannot do so in an open setting.

Comey declined, for example, to say if the FBI was able to confirm any of the criminal allegations in the dossier compiled by a former British spy that included lurid claims about the president. He also declined to describe his reaction to the dossier.

Comey confirmed that Flynn was being investigated for possible false statements to government investigators, but he declined to provide many more details than that.

Comey would not say whether there were unreported contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign, nor would he offer any thoughts on Vnesheconombank – the Russian financial institution whose leader met Trump’s son-in-law in December. If the question hit to the heart of the Russia investigation, Comey would essentially not go there.

On the Clinton email case, Comey offered several candid thoughts.

But he would not offer any real details on a document that is said to have played a critical role in Comey’s decision to announce his findings on the case publicly, without telling the attorney general what he was about to do.

The Washington Post has reported the document was faulty in a number of respects. Comey said “there’s been some public accounts of it that are nonsense” but he did not offer details.

Comey also suggested, somewhat mysteriously, of Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he knew facts that led him to believe a recusal from the Justice Department’s Russia proposal was inevitable, though he declined to say what those were.



James Comey testimony: Updates and reaction

Former FBI director James B. Comey is set to testify today in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.; a closed hearing is to start at 1 p.m.

Comey’s testimony was previewed on Wednesday in written remarks in which he describes President Trump’s demand of loyalty and the investigations.