Most senate hearings and testimonies are barely noticed by the public, but all eyes were on the Intelligence Committee as James Comey was questioned for the first time since he was sacked by Donald Trump.

On Wednesday evening (7 June) we got a taste of the tone of the hearing after Comey's testimony was released, in which he claimed that Trump had pressured him to drop the investigation into the former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The documents also revealed Trump had demanded "loyalty" from Comey, something the president denied when questioned by journalists last month.

Testimony summary

Early on in the hearing, Comey defended the FBI saying: "The FBI is honest. The FBI is strong. And the FBI is and always will be independent."

Chairman senator Richard Burr asked: "Did the president at any time ask you to stop investigation?"

Comey responded: "Not to my understanding, no."

He lashed out at the Trump administration for saying that officials inside the FBI didn't like Comey soon after he was fired, saying: "The administration chose to defame me, and more importantly, the FBI.

"Those were lies, plain and simple."

Vice chairman Mark Warner asked why he started writing memos of his meetings with Trump saying: "He might lie about the nature of our meetings."

He explained that he never felt the need to document his discussion with either President Bush or President Obama.

Comey said that he felt that Trump was "looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job."

This came as a surprise to Comey after on three separate occasions, Trump has said he was "looking forwards to working" together."

Speaking to Democrat Diane Feinstein he said: "I've seen the tweet about 'tapes.' Lordy, I hope there are tapes."

This in response to a tweet by Donald Trump suggesting that there were tapes of their conversations.

Under later questioning, he made it clear he felt Russia was involved in interfering with the election, saying: "There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever – the Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle."

He also believed that he was fired "because of the Russian investigation".

During his round of questions, Senator Angus King said: "I don't think Putin is a Republican or a Democrat. He's an opportunist."

Trump was asked directly at a press conference if he in "any way, shape or form" asked Comey to "back down" from the Flynn investigation, to which Trump replied, "No. No. Next question."
Asked if he believed this to be an accurate statement, Comey said: "I don't believe it is."

Comey explained that he leaked aspects of the discussion regarding Flynn to a close friend, a Columbia law professor, to hand to the press.

In one of the lighter moments during the testimony, Comey revealed that he had to cancel personal plans to meet with Trump for a last minute dinner, he said: "I had to call my wife and break a date with her, I was supposed take her out to dinner that night."

In another funny moment point Comey said that he was currently "in between opportunities".

Comey was pressed about the Hillary Clinton email scandal, to which he described as getting a
"queasy feeling" when the former attorney general Loretta Lynch spoke to him about calling it a "matter" as opposed to an "investigation".

Asked by senator Joe Manchin if he thought he would still be in charge of the FBI if Hillary Clinton had won, he said: "I'm not sure."

And if he thought it was an obstruction of justice he said: "I don't know, that's down to Mr Muller to do so" as part of the special counsel.

He was asked directly by senator Tom Cotton: "Do you think Donald Trump colluded with Russia" to which his reply was "That's a question I don't think I should answer in an open setting." He added that there was no active investigation to this when he departed the FBI.

Several times during the marathon two and a half hour testimony, Comey said that even if he was no longer at the FBI, the work and investigations would be continuing.

How to watch the hearing

With all eyes on the hearing, most of the major US TV networks have cleared their schedules to air what is one of the most anticipated senate hearings in recent history.

In the UK, those wanting to watch the events unfold will be able to watch things play out on BBC News and Sky News.

Watching C-SPAN is a simple way to stay on top of proceedings as well. The network can be watched online and airs most US government meetings, committees and congress sessions.

The testimony starts at 10am ET and 3pm BST on Thursday 8 June.

In this latest chapter in the Trump saga, there are, as always, far more questions than there are answers.

A few of the big questions look set to be answered on Thursday, and some of those answers could have far-reaching consequences.