After former FBI Director James Comey testified on Thursday, people began to point out something that didn’t ring quite true in his testimony.
Comey testified that, unlike when he served under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, he never felt compelled to take notes in a meeting. The gist of that was obviously to make Trump seem more concerning and problematic.
But turns out that was a lie.
In his account of his meeting with President Bush, Comey, of course, painted himself as the hero. This was his exchange with Senator Warner:
WARNER: And so, in all your experience, this was the only president that you felt like, in every meeting, you needed to document, because at some point, using your words, he might put out a non-truthful representation of that meeting?
COMEY: That’s right, Senator.
And I — I — as I said in my written testimony, as FBI director, I interacted with President Obama. I spoke only twice in three years, and didn’t document it. When I was deputy attorney general, I had one one-on-one meeting with President Bush about a very important and difficult national security matter.
I didn’t write a memo documenting that conversation either — sent a quick e-mail to my staff to let them know there was something going on, but I didn’t feel, with President Bush, the need to document it in that way, again (ph), because of — the combination of those factors just wasn’t present with either President Bush or President Obama.
WARNER: I — I think that is very significant.
From Powerline Blog:
In Comey’s account… he was a hero, telling the president something that other aides had kept from him: that the Department of Justice was in revolt over the surveillance program, and mass resignations, including his, were imminent. Comey claims to have quoted Martin Luther before the Diet of Worms, as he explained that as a man of principle he would have no choice but to resign rather than execute an order he believed to be illegal. One of Comey’s colleagues, who also was about to resign, was Comey’s good friend Bob Mueller, who waited for Comey downstairs at the White House while Comey had his dramatic conversation with President Bush.
In fact, not only did Comey take notes of his meeting with Bush, he took significant notes.
The incident is recounted in Angler, an attack on Dick Cheney written by Barton Gellman. Comey was one of Gellman’s chief sources and his footnotes are instructive. The long description of the meeting is accompanied by this footnote.
“You don’t look well”: Quotations from the Bush-Comey conversation are taken verbatim from unclassified notes describing Comey’s report of the meeting shortly afterward…
All of that dialogue comes verbatim from “unclassified notes describing Comey’s report of the meeting shortly afterward.”
Looks like he did take rather extensive notes which Gellman used and credited.
The situation appeared similar to Trump in which he appeared to be taking digs at the Republican president in the notes, according to Powerline.
So it seems clear that Comey was not telling the truth, but was exaggerating the facts to make Trump appear worse and to justify his own actions in leaking.
The lies don’t end there. In addition, Comey attempted to justify his leaking the memo through his friend, lawyer Daniel Richman, to the NY Times. He said he woke up in the middle of the night on May 15, realizing that it was important to have his viewpoint of the conversation with President Donald Trump on the record after Trump tweeted out about possibly having tapes of the conversation on May 12.
Yet, the NY Times printed a story that, while not mentioning the memo, included information from the memo on May 11. The reporter who covered the story, Michael Schmidt, said he spoke with Richman for a story on May 16 that specifically mentioned the memo. But he also said that he had been aware of the existence of the memos for a “few days” before that. Again, clearly showing that Comey had leaked to someone before Trump’s tweet.
The DOJ is also questioning his testimony regarding attorney general Jeff Sessions. He intimated that there was some other reason for Sessions recusal apart from his working on the campaign. He also claimed that when he asked not to be left alone with Trump, Sessions did not reply to him. The DOJ released a statement disputing both of those characterizations. And Jeff Sessions has asked to speak to the committee, likely to call these comments from Comey into question.