James Comey would have never told President Trump that he was not under investigation as part of the FBI’s investigation into Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government.
That was one of the claims made by people described in various media reports as being “familiar with the thinking” of Comey. But it turns out that Comey’s pals are not as acquainted with the former FBI director’s thought processes as they’ve claimed.
That’s because Comey does indeed plan to reveal at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday that he informed Trump on three separate occasions that the Republican was not under investigation. (RELATED: Comey Told Trump He Was Not Under Investigation)
In prepared remarks released on Wednesday, Comey states that he told Trump on Jan. 6, Jan. 27, and March 30 that he was not a target of the Russia probe.
And Comey’s comments appear to leave little room for a nuanced interpretation.
Comey will say that in a meeting at Trump Tower on Jan. 6, he “offered that assurance” to Trump that the FBI did not “have an open counter-intelligence case on him.”
In a Jan. 27 dinner meeting at the White House, Comey says that Trump asked him to open an investigation in order to disprove claims made in a now-infamous dossier alleging various misdeeds by Trump and members of his campaign.
Comey says he warned Trump that opening such an investigation “might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative.”
The third assurance came during a March 30 phone call.
Comey says he reminded Trump that he had previously told congressional leaders “that we were not personally investigating President Trump.”
“I reminded [Trump] I had previously told him that,” Comey will state.
The notion that Comey assured Trump he was not under FBI investigation came to light on May 9, the day that Trump unceremoniously fired Comey.
In a terse letter informing Comey of the decision, Trump wrote, “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”
The statement quickly became the subject of intense speculation. Pundits insisted that Comey would never have assured Trump that he was clear of an investigation. Friends of Comey also told various news outlets that the former federal prosecutor would never have done what Trump claimed.
On Tuesday, CNN reported that a source close to Comey said that he “is expected to explain to senators that those were much more nuanced conversations from which Trump concluded that he was not under investigation.”
“Another source hinted that the President may have misunderstood the exact meaning of Comey’s words, especially regarding the FBI’s ongoing counterintelligence investigation,” CNN reported.
A source described as being familiar with Comey’s thinking made similar statements to ABC News.
“However, Comey has told associates he will not corroborate Trump’s claim that on three separate occasions Comey told the president he was not under investigation as part of the probe into Russian meddling in the U.S. election, a source familiar the former director’s thinking told ABC News,” ABC News reported.
“Comey’s associates have insisted in recent weeks that Comey would never have offered such assurances, even to the president, as a matter of principle,” the ABC News report continues.