According to a Fox News post on Facebook, Comey said during his testimony before the Senate committee that in his opinion, Trump did not try to obstruct justice:

Comey said flatly that President Trump did not tell him to drop his investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election; did not try to obstruct justice in his opinion.

However, I wasn't able to find any quote by Comey expressing this. Most articles on the matter - such as this one - seem to only include quotes about obstruction in the case of the Flynn investigation, such as Comey saying that the issue is disturbing and concerning, and that a special counsel should work on determining if obstruction occurred.

Did Comey say that in his opinion, Trump did not try to obstruct justice? If so, was this in relation to the Flynn investigation, or in relation to the Russia investigation as a whole?

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    @CPerkins That is my understanding as well, but I did not listen to the entire hearing. It could be that Comey did say that in his opinion, there was no obstruction of justice in regard to the whole Russia investigation, and that in regard to the Flynn case specifically, a special counsel should investigate.
    – tim
    Jun 8, 2017 at 17:28
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    I recall him saying "That's not for me to say" as well, and then stating its up to the special investigation headed up by Robert Mueller to determine if Trump tried to obstruct justice. Whenever someone finds the transcript of today's hearing that would be worth looking for.
    – Jimmy M.
    Jun 8, 2017 at 18:14
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    Nope. He flat out said the opposite, in a way. He said, "I cannot comment on that in an open session", which means yes. Jun 8, 2017 at 21:04
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    I know we interpret the site's charter of "scientific skepticism" broadly but this is too much of a reach, IMHO. Comey's testimony is public record and everyone is perfectly free to read it and see if their interpretation agrees with this one. What purpose does it serve to answer here, except to convey one person's interpretation to readers who are too lazy to read it for themselves? They don't even have to read the whole thing - just search for "obstruct". Jun 8, 2017 at 23:42
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    @LarryOBrien: It is one thing when the claim is just that "X said Y" and research is required to locate the source; then an answer can quote X's exact words and a reader can decide for themselves whether Y is an accurate description. In this case, everyone already knows the exact date, time, location, and event where X said what he said, and there are reliable verbatim transcripts. There's no research for us to contribute, and the accuracy of the description is outside the scope of this site as I see it. I could argue it should be closed for "no research effort". Jun 9, 2017 at 0:32

2 Answers 2


According to the transcript, he did not make a commitment one way or the other:

MANCHIN: Do you believe this will rise to obstruction of justice?

COMEY: I don’t know. That — that’s Bob Mueller’s job to sort that out.

MANCHIN: Thank you, sir.


BURR: ....In your estimation, was General Flynn, at that time, in serious legal jeopardy? And in addition to that, do you sense that the president was trying to obstruct justice, or just seek for a way for Mike Flynn to save face, given he had already been fired?

COMEY: General Flynn, at that point in time, was in legal jeopardy. There was an open FBI criminal investigation of his statements in connection with the Russian contacts and the contacts themselves. And so that was my assessment at the time.

I don’t think it’s for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work towards, to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that’s an offense.


The explicit claim is PARTLY TRUE BUT MISLEADING

Comey said flatly that President Trump did not tell him to drop his investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election; did not try to obstruct justice in his opinion.

The first part is true from the transcripts.

BURR: Director Comey, did the president at any time ask you to stop the FBI investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections?

COMEY: Not to my understanding, no.

But the second part is false

At no point did Comey ever take a position on whether Trump obstructed justice. He said "that's not for me to say", and he said Mueller would get into that question but he never said that the president did not obstruct justice.

What he did say is that (speaking of the investigation into Flynn's inappropriate/illegal/dishonestly hidden contacts with the Russians), the president said:

"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."

About which Risch attempted to make the point that that's not a direction, to which Comey asserted that he took it as one.

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