Former Director of the FBI James Comey came to Thursday’s briefing with the Senate Intelligence Committee ready to say the Trump administration had lied to the American people and that immediately after meeting Donald Trump, he was worried the president-elect would lie too. It was a stunning moment in American political history.
During his prepared opening statement, Comey told the committee that when the administration described the FBI “in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader,” as justification for firing him, “Those were lies, plain and simple, and I am so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them and I’m so sorry that the American people were told them.”
White House staff had told this “lie.” Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on May 11 that one of the reasons Comey was fired was because “most importantly, rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director.”
The president himself told NBC News on May 11, “The FBI has been in turmoil. You know that, I know that, everybody knows that.”
This was just one of several times throughout the hearing that Comey essentially accused the president and his administration of lying. Below is a list of some of the times when Comey explicitly challenged the veracity of Trump’s statements. There were other instances where Comey’s testimony itself flatly contradicted statements made by the president and the administration.
1. “Those were lies, plain and simple …” As mentioned above, Comey described the statements from the Trump administration in regard to the morale of the FBI as straight-up lies.
2. Trump Tower meeting: “I was honestly concerned that [Trump] might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.”
3. Who asked who for dinner? Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) asked Comey: “In his interview with Lester Holt on NBC, the president said, ‘I had dinner with him. He wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on.’ Is this an accurate statement?”
Comey’s answer: “No, sir.”
4. Who’s calling whom? King later asks, “In that same interview, the president said, ‘In one case, I called him, and in one case, he called me.’ Is that an accurate statement?
Comey’s answer: “No.”
5. Shutting down Flynn investigation: King asks Comey: “In his press conference on May 18th, the president was asked whether he had urged you to shut down the investigation into Michael Flynn. The president responded, quote, ‘No, no. Next question.’ Is that an accurate statement?”
Comey: “I don’t believe it is.”