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Thursday, June 8, 2017

James Comey feared Trump would lie after meetings on Flynn and Russia probe

James Comey testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today about his meetings and phone calls with President Trump, who fired the FBI director, claiming he is a "nut job" (photo credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images).

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

Editor's note: The headline was incorrect when this was posted originally. To correct it, I changed "Kelly" to "Flynn.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Fired FBI Director James Comey testified today he made sure to write detailed memos after his conversations with Donald J. Trump before and after he was inaugurated as president on Jan. 20.

"I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document," Comey told members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Comey referred to Trump's propensity to lie as "the nature of the person [the president]," according to a New York Times transcript.

And he said he wrote memos after all or nearly all of the nine conversations he had with Trump in person or on the phone.

The former FBI director, who grew up in Allendale, noted he never wrote memos after conversations with President Obama or President George W. Bush.

Here is how ABC News reported Comey's testimony and White House reaction:

"The White House denied that the president is a 'liar' [LOL].
"Comey, among other things, also said during the course of his testimony:

  • "The Trump administration tried to smear his reputation;
  • "The president had said Comey was 'doing a great job' before his firing;
  • "He leaked his notes hoping for a special counsel;
  • "He believes he was 'fired because of the Russia investigation';
  • "And Trump never explicitly told him to drop the Michael Flynn investigation."

  • I doubt the accuracy of the ABC News reporting on Trump "never explicitly" telling Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn, the national security adviser who was fired for lying about his meetings with the Russian ambassador.

    Comey testified that when Trump, then the president-elect, said he hoped the FBI would drop the Flynn investigation, he took that as a direct order.

    And when Comey testified he told Trump he personally wasn't under investigation, I was reminded of how Governor Christie successfully insulated himself from prosecution in the Bridgegate scandal. 

    Glued to TV

    Many Americans took the day off to make sure they were in front of the TV when the hearing started at 10 a.m. today.

    At the gym this morning, a man on the exercise machine next to me said his wife was traveling, and he was planning to get coffee and bagels before going over to his mother's house to watch Comey's testimony.

    Comey spoke for only about 5 minutes, and didn't read the prepared statement the committee released on Wednesday.

    The rest of the time, he answered questions from the chairman and vice chairman, and other committee members.