James Comey never told President Donald Trump he wasn’t under investigation, according to sources close to the former FBI director quoted in a Wall Street Journal report.
In a letter Trump wrote to Comey informing him of his firing, the president made sure to point out that Comey had personally told him thrice that he was “not under investigation.”
This struck many as at odds with Comey’s recent testimony before Congress that the FBI was investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the election. Comey had declined to confirm whether the FBI was personally investigating Trump.
Trump doubled-down on his claim that Comey told him he wasn’t under investigation in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt due to air Thursday.
“We had a very nice dinner, and at that time he told me ‘you are not under investigation,’ which I knew anyway,” Trump said. “Then during a phone call he said it, and then during another phone call he said it.”
When Holt asked if Trump explicitly questioned Comey about it, Trump said: “I actually asked him, yes. I said, ‘If it’s possible, would you let me know am I under investigation?’ He said, ‘You are not under investigation.'”
But according to associates close to Comey quoted in the Wall Street Journal report, the FBI director never told Trump he was not under investigation:
They said Mr. Comey never gave Mr. Trump any such guidance, which would violate longstanding policies on criminal investigations. “That is literally farcical,” said one associate.
The report also described the mood inside the FBI as “somber” and “like a funeral parlor,” undermining White House statements that the bureau was eager to see Comey dismissed.
[image via screengrab]
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