(CNN)When James Comey released seven pages of written testimony on Wednesday, many in Washington -- and beyond -- went searching for precedent, analysis or context. James Gagliano was looking for a shower.
'I literally wanted to rinse myself off,' ex-FBI agent says of Comey statement
"I read this and I literally wanted to rinse myself off afterwards," said the former FBI agent. "I felt completely disgusted."
"Can you expand on your sentence you felt like you had to rinse off?" requested Gergen, a White House adviser to four presidents.
"The vision of a small table in the Green Room with the President and the FBI director seated there having a quiet lunch in a cavernous room, with two Navy stewards waiting on them, and Director Comey feeling uncomfortable, awkward, knowing that they shouldn't be having that ... meeting," Gagliano rattled off, describing the scene, as detailed in Comey's statement, that had left him feeling icky.
For Gagliano, the collection of awkward exchanges between the President and the former head of the FBI dates back to a fateful moment in January at a White House ceremony.
"Beginning with that first awkward handshake that we saw on camera when Director Comey and the President met and ... it started out as a handshake, turned into kind of a half hug," Gagliano said. "You could tell -- it was palpable -- how uncomfortable Director Comey was."
As the political world looks ahead to Thursday's formal testimony, an event being billed as politics' version of the Super Bowl, Gagliano said he was reminded of a D.C. power struggle that seems to have tilted in favor of the Oval Office.
"For 48 years ... FBI Director (J. Edgar) Hoover pulled puppet strings, and had presidents on their heels," he said. "We now have a President that was attempting to put an FBI director on his heels."