Comey on his firing: ‘There was an explanation. I just don’t buy it.’

Comey on his firing: ‘There was an explanation. I just don’t buy it.’
Former FBI Director James Comey, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, disputed the White House’s claim that the former FBI director lost the “confidence” of “rank-and-file” FBI employees during his tenure. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday that he does not believe the White House’s account of his termination.

“There was an explanation, I just don’t buy it,” he said of the explanations offered by President Donald Trump’s administration for the president’s decision to fire him.

Comey disputed the White House’s claim that the former FBI director lost the “confidence” of “rank-and-file” FBI employees during his tenure.

“The administration then 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 said. “Those were lies, plain and simple.”

The White House also accused Comey of mishandling the FBI’s investigation into former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct government business as secretary of state.

Comey disputed that narrative as well, arguing that it didn’t make sense due to the “time and all the water that had gone under the bridge since those hard decisions had had to be made.”

Comey said that, based on remarks about him by the president, he was fired because of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said. “I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.”

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