President Donald Trump watched former FBI Director James Comey testify in front of the Senate committee on television while sitting in the White House dining room.
Trump had an open schedule the morning of June 8, when Comey was set to testify in front of a Senate committee about his brief time as FBI director under Trump, NBC News reported. Trump's public schedule was open during the time of the hearing, and he reportedly followed it surrounded by his legal team.
Some speculated Trump may use Twitter to respond to Comey in real time, but Trump's account had not been updated in several hours.
The interactions between the two men were described as "very awkward," according to Comey's testimony. Comey also stated in his testimony that he believed he was fired as a direct result of the investigation into alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 election, as well as investigations of Russian interaction with members of the Trump team.
Comey detailed one of his final interactions with the president, when Trump pressed Comey to declare loyalty to him, as well as drop investigations into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey made clear that Trump did not explicitly direct Comey to halt the FBI probe into Flynn, but rather Comey inferred what Trump meant based on the tone of the conversation.
When asked how Comey responded when approached with the idea of dropping the investigation, Comey said he was "stunned" and did not reply at the time in a more forceful manner.
"Maybe if I were stronger, I would have. I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in,” Comey said. "I was playing in my mind to remember every word he said. I was playing in my mind, ‘What should my response be?’ That’s why I very carefully chose the words."
During his testimony, Comey said the White House engaged in "lies, plain and simple" when giving rationale for Comey's ousting as FBI director, accusing Comey of undermining morale at the agency, according to NBC News.
The Trump administration, Comey said, "chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader."
Comey also said he wrote detailed memos about most conversations he had with Trump because he had a "gut feeling" that Trump might lie about the nature and subject matter of the meetings.
"I knew there might come a day when I needed a record of what happened," Comey said.