James Comey said he felt the need write detailed memos after his conversations with Donald Trump because he was worried the president would lie about what happened later on.
As the former FBI director testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, he explained why he kept such detailed records of their meetings and phone calls.
“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document,” Comey said. “It led me to believe I got to write it down.”
Comey also said the Trump administration “chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI, by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader.”
In his prepared opening statement released by the committee Wednesday, Comey explained further why he wrote the memos.
“I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo,” Comey writes. “To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward.”
“This had not been my practice in the past,” he continued. “I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) — once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016. In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions. I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months — three in person and six on the phone.”