Comey says Trump told him, 'I need loyalty. I expect loyalty'

FILE PHOTO - FBI Director James Comey waits to testify to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on "Russia's intelligence activities" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former FBI Director James Comey, in a written statement posted on the web on Wednesday, said President Donald Trump asked him to back off from a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and told Comey, “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.”

Comey, who will testify in person to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, will use his opening statement to recount a dinner he had with Trump on Jan. 27, a week after the president took office, according to a copy of the statement posted on the Senate panel’s website.

Comey said that during the dinner Trump asked him if he wanted to stay on as Federal Bureau of Investigation director. Comey said he became concerned that Trump was trying to create “some sort of patronage relationship.”

In the statement Comey added: “That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch.”

Reporting by Caren Bohan and Chris Sanders; Editing by James Dalgleish