Comey Details Trump's Dossier Concerns in Preview of Stephanopoulos Interview
The interview took place ahead of the April 17 release of the former FBI director's book 'A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.'
Former FBI Director James Comey is ready to break his silence about his time working with Donald Trump.
In an interview with ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, a clip of which aired on Good Morning America on Friday, Comey revealed that he requested a private meeting with Trump to warn him about the now infamous dossier that was compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. The 35-page document details the alleged sexual interaction between Trump and prostitutes during a trip to Moscow in 2013, as well as his ties to Russia. “I’m about to meet with a person who doesn’t know me who’s just been elected President of the United States,” he explained. “By all accounts and from my watching him during the campaign could be volatile and I’m about to talk to him about allegations that he was involved with prostitutes in Moscow and that the Russians taped it and have leverage over him.”
When asked if he believes Trump had to right to know that the dossier had been financed by his political opponents, he responded, “I don’t know the answer to that. It wasn’t necessary for my goal, which was to alert him that we had this information.”
After explaining to Trump the information that he knew, Comey said, “He interrupted very defensively and started talking like, ‘Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?’ And I assumed he was asking that rhetorically. I didn’t answer that.” He continued, “I never said, ‘I don’t believe it’ because I couldn’t say one way or another.”
“It was almost an out-of-body experience for me,” Comey said of the briefing. “I was floating above myself looking down saying, ‘You’re sitting here briefing the incoming President of the United States about prostitutes in Moscow.’”
Trump once again raised the issue of the dossier weeks later at a private dinner at the White House. Comey shared that Trump was interested in him investigating it “to prove it didn’t happen.” The former FBI director then revealed that Trump didn’t want his wife to believe the sexual interactions happened. “I remember thinking, ‘How could your wife think there was a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow?’”he said. “I’m a flawed human being, but there’s 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 there’s only a 99 percent chance you didn’t do that?”
He also claims that he warned Trump about the implications of the investigation. “You 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,” he said.
When asked is he believed Trump’s denial, he stated, “I don’t know whether the current President of the United States was with prostitutes peeing with each other in Moscow in 2013. It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
Comey also detailed his first interaction with Trump. The meeting was meant to brief the then-president-elect and his top aides about how the Russians interfered with the 2016 election. “President-elect Trump’s first question was to confirm that it had no impact on the election and then the conversation, to my surprise, moved into a PR conversation about how the Trump team would position this and what they could say about this,” he shared. “They actually started talking about drafting a press release with us still sitting there. And the reason that was so striking to me is that that’s just not done. That the intelligence community does intelligence, the White House does PR and spin.”
The clip was released just hours after excerpts of Comey's book leaked, including the former FBI director calling the president "untethered to the truth." The memoir, which the Associated Press obtained a copy of this week, also describes the president as obsessed with having the FBI disprove the dossier. Trump fired back at the news about Comey's book via his preferred platform, Twitter, on Friday morning, calling Comey an "untruthful slime ball" and claiming it was his "great honor to fire" him.
The interview will air during a 20/20 special on Sunday, April 15.