So it's odd that Comey's devastating testimony before the Senate on Thursday will end up vindicating in part something Trump and his advisers have been saying for months: The FBI was not investigating the president as part of its probe into Russian election interference.
Comey, a skilled raconteur who generally tilts in favor of openness, is well-accustomed to the spotlight and in particular to sensational congressional hearings, including one 10 years ago in which he revealed a dramatic hospital room clash with Bush administration officials. On April 11, the last time Comey and Trump spoke, Comey wrote that Trump agreed to go through more traditional channels - the White House counsel and the Department of Justice - with his concerns about the Russian investigation. "That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him".
That revelation and others are contained in written testimony Comey submitted Wednesday ahead of his appearance Thursday before the Senate Intelligence committee.
Kaine says some of the red flags for him will be if Comey testifies Thursday that President Donald Trump asked for his loyalty and whether Trump requested Comey drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. His task was awkward; he needed to inform Trump that theFBI's counterterrorism unit was investigating claims that Russian Federation had embarrassing blackmail material on the billionaire real estate developer.
Comey says he documented their meeting afterward by typing up notes on a laptop in an Federal Bureau of Investigation vehicle outside Trump Tower "the moment I walked out of the meeting".
Comey also says Trump told him that he "had nothing to do with Russia" and "had not been involved with hookers in Russian Federation".
Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating Moscow's role in the election, including possible collusion with Trump's campaign.
In a statement, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said, "Director Comey's statement reconfirmed what the president has been saying all along - he was never under investigation".
"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'".
The suggestion that any further inquiry would wait until "our investigation progressed" could be taken to indicate that additional time would also allow for the collection of more evidence, if any, of presidential interference. The multiple investigations did leave our president feeling beleaguered.
Bars in the District of Columbia are about to do the most D.C. thing imaginable-host watch parties for patrons to see James Comey's testimony on Capitol Hill. We have now learned that Comey isn't the only top official whom Trump approached in an effort to free Flynn from his investigation.
Comey skips over Trump's exact response, but says that "based on President-elect Trump's reaction", he assures Trump that his personal conduct isn't under investigation.
Trump fired Comey in May.
A few moments later, the president said, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty".
In dramatic written testimony, Comey said Trump told him at a meeting in the White House in February, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go".
Comey comes across, at least in his own presentation, as extremely cautious about everything he said to Trump. And, more amazingly, Comey recalls that he had two one-on-one conversations with Obama in four years; he had nine (!) one-on-one conversations with Trump between January 6 and when he was sacked on May 9. What really happened is that Trump was wise to Comey's con and finally had enough of it.
Mr. Trump has referred to the fact that Comey has told him that he is not under investigation - mentioning it in his letter firing Comey in May and in an interview.
Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence committee Thursday.