James Comey told President Donald Trump three times that he was not personally being investigated by the FBI, confirming the president’s account.
The Senate Intelligence Committee released the fired FBI director’s prepared remarks ahead of his testimony Thursday, which refute numerous news reports that claimed President Trump was not telling the truth about his conversations with Comey.
In his letter firing the FBI director in May, Trump said he was grateful to Comey for telling him he was not under investigation “on three separate occasions.” Trump then repeated his account during an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt.
Comey’s testimony confirms Trump’s account, revealing that—unprompted by Trump—Comey told the president he was not under investigation three times.
The first time Comey told Trump he was not under investigation was during a briefing with the then-president elect on Jan. 6 at Trump Tower.
Comey writes that prior to the meeting, “I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally.”
“That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him,” Comey said.
“We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted.”
Comey said he then decided to assure Trump that he was not being investigated personally after discussing with the president-elect the unverified and discredited dossier alleging that Russians had compromising information on Trump.
“During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance,” Comey said.
The second time Comey told Trump he was not under FBI investigation occurred during dinner at the White House on Jan. 27. The conversation again involved the unverified dossier.
“During the dinner, the president returned to the salacious material I had briefed him about on January 6, and, as he had done previously, expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them,” Comey said.
“He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn’t happen. I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative.”
Comey assured Trump that he was not under investigation a third time during a phone call on March 30. The president had asked about a congressional hearing on Russia the previous week.
“I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump,” Comey said.
“I reminded him I had previously told him that.”
Mainstream news outlets have repeatedly shed doubt on Trump’s account that the former FBI director was not investigating Trump personally.
CNN incorrectly reported Tuesday that Comey would refute Trump’s claim that Comey told him three times he was not under investigation personally.
The Huffington Post reported Comey would say he “never told President Donald Trump that he was not under investigation.”
During a May 24 interview between Anderson Cooper and Comey’s friend Benjamin Wittes, Cooper also cast doubt on Trump’s account.
“Does that make sense to you that Director Comey would have told the President of the United States that he was not the subject of the investigation?” he asked.
Wittes said he had “no personal knowledge” of the conversations between Trump and Comey and that he had never discussed it with Comey.
“But I would bet every dollar that I had that no such communication ever took place,” Wittes said.
In May, Politifact shed doubt on whether Comey assured Trump he was not under investigation because “we only have Trump’s side of the story.”
“With Comey out, it’s unclear whether the public will ever learn if the FBI was investigating Trump personally,” Politifact reported.