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    Former US Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James Comey set the stage for his highly-anticipated testimony to Congress by allowing the Senate Intelligence Committee to release his testimony detailing a series of explosive charges against President Donald Trump regarding the Russia probe.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In the written statement released on Wednesday, a day before the congressional hearing, Comey accused Trump of pressing him to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's relations with Russia.

    "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go," Comey quoted the US president as saying.

    Trump allegedly told Comey that Flynn had done nothing inappropriate in his contacts with Russian officials.

    "The President began by saying Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but he had to let him go because he had misled the Vice President [Mike Pence]," Comey wrote. "He added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify."

    Comey said Trump also demanded that a promise of loyalty as an implied condition for keeping his job as FBI chief.

    "I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my ten-year term as director," Comey recalled. "A few moments later, the president said, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’"

    Comey’s written statement to the Senate Intelligence confirms for the first time previously reported allegations about Trump’s interactions and conversations with Comey. The former FBI chief requested that the committee make his written statement public before he testifies in Congress on Thursday.

    The statement details nine separate conversations with Trump, including a March 30 phone call in which the president allegedly told the FBI chief that he had nothing to do with Russia.

    "On the morning of March 30, the President called me at the FBI," Comey stated. "He said he had nothing to do with Russia… and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia."

    The ex-FBI director wrote that Trump pushed him in the same phone call for a public acknowledgment that he was not the subject of the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

    In the phone call, Trump asked why there had been a congressional hearing about the Russia probe.

    "I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those Congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump," Comey wrote. "I reminded him I had previously told him that. He repeatedly told me, ‘We need to get that fact out’."

    Ranking member of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said Comey's statement confirmed some of the most concerning claims that have been reported in recent weeks about Trump's interactions with the former FBI chief.

    But while some said the statement was worrisome, Trump's lawyer said the president felt vindicated by Comey's testimony, because it confirmed that he was not under investigation with respect to the Russia probe.

    "The President is pleased that Mr. Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russia probe," Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz said in a statement. "The President feels completely and totally vindicated."

    Trump has long denied allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia to change the outcome of the November 2016 election.

    The Kremlin has also repeatedly denied allegations of having ties to Trump and attempting to sway the November 8 vote in Trump's favor.


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