I told you earlier this morning about the private dinner the newly-inaugurated President Trump had with FBI Director James Comey, and the reported request by Trump that Comey pledge loyalty to him.
I also told you that Trump spoke of that dinner in his NBC interview with Lester Holt, describing it quite differently.
Trump’s telling is that Comey requested the dinner, in order to ask to keep his job.
Those in a position to know, former and current FBI officials, are throwing flags on the field over that one.
“We had a very nice dinner at the White House very early on. I think he [Comey] asked for the dinner. And he wanted to stay on as the FBI head,” Trump said in the interview. “And I said, ‘You know, consider, we’ll see what happens.’ But we had a very nice dinner, and at that time, he told me, ‘You are not under investigation,’ which I knew anyway.”
That’s the part FBI officials are having a problem with.
Pretty much all of that is wrong, they say.
“[Comey] tried to stay away from it [the Russian-ties investigation],” a former official close with Comey told NBC. “He would say, ‘look sir, I really can’t get into it, and you don’t want me to.”
A current FBI official also confirmed to NBC that Comey did not request the one-on-one dinner.
“The president is not correct,” the former official continued. “The White House called him out of the blue. Comey didn’t want to do it. He didn’t even want the rank and file at the FBI to know about it.”
“He’s still the commander in chief. He’s your boss. How do you say no?” the official added.
If Caleb Howe said, “Let’s hash out RedState particulars over a Big Mac,” I’d feel obliged to go along with it. How much more obliged do government officials feel when the president makes such a request?
The former official also refuted claims Thursday by White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that she had talked to “countless members of the FBI who are grateful for the president’s decision” to fire Comey.
“I doubt five people at the FBI even have the [phone] number of the deputy White House press secretary,” the former senior official said.
To that point, when asked about Comey’s status with FBI employees during Thursday’s Senate hearings, acting director Andrew McCabe disputed claims by Trump’s administration that Comey had lost the confidence of the bureau, by saying Comey did, and still does enjoy the full support and respect of the FBI.
The bottom line here is that Trump and his staff are lying about Comey and the circumstances surrounding his firing.
This will not play out well in the long run for the president.