Comey Hearing: The Most Talked About Moments

In a highly anticipated congressional hearing, former FBI Director James Comey gave blunt answers to questions about his interactions with President Donald Trump, the circumstances around his own firing and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

And though Comey released his written testimony the day before the hearing, his answers still rang loud across the Twitter-sphere and elsewhere. Here are the most talked-about moments of the testimony.

10:20 a.m. ‘Those were lies, plain and simple.’

Some of Comey’s earliest remarks would end up being those most widespread. In his opening statement, he said while he intended to return to life as a private citizen, he rejoined the conversation because of what Trump has said publicly about his firing: “Those were lies plain and simple.” He went on to say that the White House “chose to defame me and the FBI.”

So, what was it that Trump said? Comey said the Trump administration had contended that the FBI was in “disarray” and that the bureau’s agents had lost faith in Comey.

10:51 a.m. A Trump response – but not the one we were expecting

It was widely expected that Trump would tweet during the hearing, but he never did. Instead, at about an hour in, his son Donald Trump Jr. sent out a string of tweets in response to the testimony about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

And people took notice.

11:02 a.m. ‘Lordy, I hope there are tapes’

Comey was trying to defend that, in a conversation with the president about the Flynn investigation, he agreed that Flynn was a “good guy.” Comey explained that he had been trying to choose his words carefully during the conversation, which had made him uncomfortable. He then referred to a tweet by Trump in May, which implied there may be tapes of those conversations.

It wasn’t Comey’s only instance of enjoyable language.

And this from a guy who started the hearing looking like this.

11:24 a.m. Comey orchestrated a leak

Comey said that he asked a close friend to share the contents of a memo to a reporter, hoping that it would prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor.

12:40 p.m. A confusing McCain exchange

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) started down a line of questioning about the Hillary Clinton investigation that caused Comey to ask for clarification multiple times and sent Twitter’s head scratching.

11:47 a.m. Does ‘hope’ mean order? And was it obstruction?

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Comey shared a moment when the former asked if Comey took Trump’s words on the Flynn investigation as a directive. According to one of Comey’s memos, Trump had 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.”

Angus asked Comey whether he viewed the president’s “hope” as an order. Comey said yes, and proceeded to quote a line attributed to King Henry II in 1170.

Angus marvels that he was about to say the same thing.

But on a more serious note, by saying that he understood Trump’s “hope” that Comey could “let this go” to be an order, Comey contradicted other statements he made.

Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) earlier asked Comey if he thought Trump’s remarks were an obstruction of justice.