Former FBI chief Comey says in memos that Trump showed concerns about leaks, loyalty, dossier

The memos also describe a dinner former FBI director James Comey and US President Donald Trump had at the White House about a week after the inauguration, where Mr Comey said Mr Trump told him he expected loyalty from him.
The memos also describe a dinner former FBI director James Comey and US President Donald Trump had at the White House about a week after the inauguration, where Mr Comey said Mr Trump told him he expected loyalty from him. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS, NYTIMES) - Former FBI Director James Comey in memos recounting conversations with President Donald Trump last year said Mr Trump repeatedly raised concerns over salacious allegations in an intelligence dossier, the need for loyalty and ferreting out leakers.

The partially redacted memos were handed over on Thursday (April 19) by the US Justice Department to three House of Representatives committees.

The memos, seen by Reuters, include notes on a meeting at the Trump Tower in New York in January 2017, just before Mr Trump's inauguration, in which Mr Comey spoke alone with the then president-elect about the dossier that detailed an alleged 2013 encounter involving Mr Trump and prostitutes in Moscow.

The memos also describe a dinner Mr Comey and Mr Trump had at the White House about a week after the inauguration, where Mr Comey said Mr Trump told him he expected loyalty from him.

Mr Trump fired Mr Comey in May 2017 while Mr Comey was leading the FBI investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and possible collusion between Mr Trump's campaign and the Russians.

The firing led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to continue the investigation.

Mr Trump seized on the memos in a Twitter message posted late on Thursday to repeat what has become a constant refrain, that there was “NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION.”

“Will the Witch Hunt continue?” he added.

Russia denies any meddling in the election. Mr Trump says there was no collusion and that the investigation is a witch hunt.

 
 

Much of the memo's contents were included in a book by Mr Comey titled A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership and published this week in which he compares the Republican President to a mob boss who stresses personal loyalty over the law and has little regard for morality or truth.

In one memo, Mr Comey recounts a Feb 8, 2017, meeting with then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, about two weeks after acting Attorney General Sally Yates had warned the White House that General Michael Flynn, then Mr Trump's national security adviser, had lied about his December 2016 conversation with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Mr Comey wrote in the memo that Mr Priebus asked "if this was a 'private conversation.'"

Mr Priebus then asked: "Do you have a FISA order on Mike Flynn?" referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to the memo.

At the White House dinner in January, Mr Comey said Mr Trump told him that Gen Flynn "has serious judgement issues".

Mr Comey said Mr Trump's comment came after he learned there was a delay in returning a congratulatory phone call from a foreign leader.

According to a memo in mid-February, Mr Priebus requested that Mr Comey and other senior FBI officials "publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign".

They declined to do so.