Comey's response to Trump's claim of not being under investigation
Posted June 7
Testimony released from former FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday helped shed light on a claim by President Donald Trump that Comey had thrice told him that the President himself was not under investigation.
Trump said repeatedly last month that Comey assured him on three separate occasions that the President was not under Justice Department investigation over whether his campaign colluded with Russia.
"While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau," Trump wrote in his letter firing Comey.
In his opening statement posted on the Senate intelligence committee, Comey describes four times the issue of whether Trump was under investigation came up.
The first time, on January 6, occurred when Comey went to Trump Tower to brief the President-elect along with intelligence leaders. As CNN reported, it was agreed that Comey would pull aside Trump and explain a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Trump's campaign. Comey had discussed with FBI leadership what to say if Trump asked if he was under investigation. Comey writes he was ready to assure Trump he was not. In the end: "During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on (Trump's) reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance."
The second time, during the January 27 dinner, was more nuanced. The President brought up the dossier that he had been briefed on at Trump Tower. "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. He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it."
In a March 30 phone call, Comey "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. I reminded him I had previously told him that. He repeatedly told me, 'We need to get that fact out.'"
James Comey testimony: Trump asked me to let Flynn investigation go
Despite Trump saying there were three instances where it came up, there's a fourth incident where the investigation came up, according to Comey.
"On the morning of April 11, the President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I 'get out' that he is not personally under investigation. I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that 'the cloud' was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. He said that perhaps he would have his people reach out to the Acting Deputy Attorney General. I said that was the way his request should be handled."