In his soon to be released book, former FBI Director James Comey describes how he pushed back against a request from President Donald Trump to investigate the most infamous charge made inside the anti-Trump dossier – the widely mocked and entirely unsubstantiated claim that the politician hired prostitutes to urinate on a hotel room bed in Moscow.
Comey also describes numerus other conversations with Trump in which the president complained about the dossier allegations.
Comey’s description of events makes clear that he failed to tell the president on multiple occasion that his FBI was already fully aware that the dossier had been paid by Trump’s primary political opponents, namely Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Comey apparently also did not inform Trump that his own FBI had determined the dossier to be “only minimally corroborated,” as documented by a four-page House Intelligence Committee memo alleging abuse of surveillance authority.
Indeed, according to the GOP memo, senior officials at the FBI were aware that Clinton and the DNC financed the dossier when Comey himself cited the questionable document upon signing a FISA court application on October 21, 2016 to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, who briefly served as a volunteer campaign foreign policy adviser. Comey signed three more FISA applications also citing the dossier. The FBI was also aware that the dossier was produced by the controversial Fusion GPS political opposition research outfit.
A rebuttal of the GOP memo authored by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee confirmed that Comey’s FBI and the DOJ were fully aware when they applied for the FISA warrant that the dossier was funded by Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and DNC via the Perkins Coie law firm.
The GOP memo also relates that after dossier author Christopher Steele was terminated months earlier as an FBI source a “source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated.”
Still, Comey saw fit, according to the Republican and Democrat memos, to utilize the dossier in the FISA documents. He seemingly failed to tell Trump about the origins of the dossier on multiple occasions, as his new book spotlights.
ABC News and the Washington Post released extensive reports on the contents of Comey’s 304-page book, titled A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.
Consistent with his June 8, 2017 prepared remarks before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey relates in the book that he briefed Trump on the dossier charges at a pre-inauguration intelligence briefing at Trump tower.
Comey writes that Trump called him up one week later, on Jan. 11, and he was fixated on the allegation that he consorted with prostitutes in the presidential suite at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow in 2013.
The Post relates:
Comey writes that Trump called him and said he was concerned about the dossier being made public and was fixated on the prostitutes allegation. The president-elect argued that it could not be true because he had not stayed overnight in Moscow but had only used the hotel room to change his clothes. And after Trump explained that he would never allow people to urinate near him, Comey recalls laughing.
“I decided not to tell him that the activity alleged did not seem to require either an overnight stay or even being in proximity to the participants,” Comey writes. “In fact, though I didn’t know for sure, I imagined the presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow was large enough for a germaphobe to be at a safe distance from the activity.”
It was not clear why Comey failed to inform Trump of the specific activity described in the dossier, the claim that he hired “a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him.”
Comey describes how, during a one-on-one dinner on Jan. 27, he pushed back against Trump’s suggestion of probing the prostitution claim.
Comey relates that Trump brought up the topic of the dossier: “He may want me to investigate it to prove that it didn’t happen. And then he says something that distracted me because he said, you know, ‘If there’s even a 1 percent chance my wife thinks that’s true, that’s terrible.’”
“‘And I remember thinking, ‘How could your wife think there’s a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow?’ I’m a flawed human being, but there is literally zero chance that my wife would think that was true. So, what kind of marriage to what kind of man does your wife think [that] there’s only a 99 percent chance you didn’t do that?”
Comey quoted Trump ask saying, “I may order you to investigate that.”
Comey, however, writes that he urged the president to approach the possibility of an investigation with caution.
“I said, ‘Sir, that’s up to you. But you’d want to be careful about that, because it might create a narrative that we’re investigating you personally, and second, it’s very difficult to prove something didn’t happen,’” Comey said.
Comey had other chances to inform Trump about the highly questionable origins of the dossier, and that his own FBI already investigated the document and found it to be “only minimally corroborated.”
In March, Comey writes that Trump called him up to complain that the Russia investigation was a “cloud” impeding his ability to govern, drawing attention again to the golden showers allegation.
“For about the fourth time, he argued that the golden showers thing wasn’t true, asking yet again, ‘Can you imagine me, hookers?’ ” Comey writes of the call. “In an apparent play for my sympathy, he added that he has a beautiful wife and the whole thing has been very painful for her. He asked what we could do to ‘lift the cloud.’ ”
The Post continued:
Comey recalls telling the president the FBI was investigating it as quickly as possible, and that he had told Congress that Trump was not personally under investigation, to which the president repeatedly told him, “We need to get that fact out.”
Two weeks later, on April 11, Trump called Comey again to check on his request to “get out” that he is not under investigation, Comey writes.
“He seemed irritated with me,” Comey recalls.
“I have been very loyal to you, very loyal. We had that thing, you know,” Trump told him, according to the book, apparently referring to the loyalty dinner.