Former FBI Director James Comey, who was recently fired by President Donald Trump, apparently had a strained relationship with the POTUS.
A New York Times article claimed that Comey always tried to keep Trump at “arm’s length” because of the business mogul’s attempts to influence him.
In one instance, Trump tried to hug Comey, but the ex-FBI director says this public display of affection made him feel “disgusting.”
The article, which talks about the relationship between the two men, mentions Comey kept memos of his interactions with Trump, be it phone calls, emails or meetings, which he passed on to his aides for the record. All of them reportedly are proof the president tried to win over and influence the then-FBI director with an ulterior motive (hint: Russia investigations) in mind.
Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, the editor-in-chief of the Lawfare blog and a friend of Comey’s, recalls Comey telling him about an incident that took place in the White House on Jan. 22, just two days after Trump had been sworn in as president.
The POTUS had hosted a ceremony to honor law enforcement officials who had provided security for the inauguration, and apparently, Comey did not want to go to the meeting. However, he went because he wanted to represent the bureau.
Wittes said Comey, who was wearing a dark blue suit, tried to “blend in with the blue curtains in the back of the room, in the hopes that Mr. Trump would not spot him and call him out.”
The strategy didn’t work, though. Trump spotted Comey from across the hall and said, “Oh and there’s Jim. He’s become more famous than me.”
The FBI director then had to walk up to the president and reach out for a handshake but Trump pulled him into an embrace.
Apparently, a few days later, Trump allegedly demanded loyalty from Comey at a private White House dinner, during which the POTUS asked him twice to pledge loyalty to him as the new commander-in-chief.
Comey did not give into his request and instead promised to be honest with him.
The president later asked Comey when federal authorities were going to release news that he was not personally under investigation to which he responded by telling the president to follow Justice Department guidelines, which prohibit conversations with the White House about active criminal investigations.
In Trump’s letter of dismissal to Comey, the POTUS wrote, “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”
Wittes claims that since his presidency began, Trump tried to establish a close relationship with Comey so that he could use him to his own benefit but “once he realized that he couldn’t do that — and that the Russia matter was thus not going away — he pulled the trigger,” Wittes concluded.
On Tuesday, Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House oversight committee, requested he be provided all documentation the fired FBI director kept of his communications with Trump by May 24.
However, in an interesting turn of events, two days later, Chaffetz announced he would be resigning from Congress and his last day in office would be June 30.
Citing family responsibilities, he wrote: “As you know, after careful consideration and long discussion with my wife, Julie, we agree the time has come for us to move on from this part of our life. This week I sent a letter to Gov. Herbert indicating my intention to resign from Congress effective June 30, 2017. My life has undergone some big changes over the last 18 months. Those changes have been good. But as I celebrated my 50th birthday in March, the reality of spending more than 1,500 nights away from my family over eight years hit me harder than it had before.”