Trump wanted loyalty pledge from Comey, then-FBI director refused: reports
Days after President Donald Trump took office, he met James Comey for dinner to ask whether the FBI director would promise his loyalty to the new president, according to multiple reports.
Comey refused the request at the January dinner, but vowed to give the president “honesty,” The New York Times reported, citing unidentified associates of Comey.
Later in the dinner, Trump asked again whether Comey would give him loyalty. When the top cop again promised loyalty, Trump asked whether it would be “honest loyalty,” according to The Times.
“You will have that,” Comey said, according to the newspaper.
Comey was fired Tuesday, four years into his role as FBI director. The White House said the termination was prompted by Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email scandal, although sources told The Times that Comey believes his refusal to pledge loyalty to the president ultimately led to his dismissal.
In an interview Thursday with NBC News, Trump disputed the report. He said he met Comey for dinner at the request of the FBI director, who was worried about whether he would keep his job in the new administration. Trump said he was assured three different times that he was not under investigation, despite the FBI’s probe into Russian meddling in the November election.
However, a former official who spoke with NBC News on the condition of anonymity said Comey “would never have told the president he was not under investigation.”
“(Comey) tried to stay away from (discussing the Russian probe),” the official told NBC News. “He would say, ‘Look, sir, I really can’t get into it, and you don’t want me to.’”
The official also challenged a claim made Thursday by White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said she had heard from multiple FBI employees who praised 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 official said.