Donald Trump repeatedly asked ex-FBI director James Comey about now famous claims of lewd behaviour made in a spy dossier, according to his new book.
The dossier had been compiled in advance of Mr Trump’s election and became public in 2017. With that, some of the document’s more scandalous claims were revealed: including an allegation that the president had engaged in strange behaviour at a hotel in Russia long before his election.
The president has been clear in his denial that the allegations in the dossier were untrue, Mr Comey writes. But he appeared keen to prove that it was a lie to his wife Melania, Mr Comey claims, and so asked the FBI if it could prove it was a lie.
Donald Trump’s least presidential moments so far…
Mr Comey, who was fired by Trump in May 2017, wrote in “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership” that Trump raised the dossier with him at least four times during meetings, the Washington Post said. The dossier was compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele about Trump’s ties to Russia, and included an allegation that involved sex workers.
Mr Comey writes in the book he described the allegations about Russian prostitutes during a one-on-one meeting. He claims that he told Trump about the dossier because it was the FBI’s responsibility to protect the presidency from coercion related to harmful allegations, whether supported or not. Mr Comey said he left out one detail involving an allegation that the prostitutes had urinated on a bed once used by the Obamas.
Mr Trump raised the subject again a week later, after the dossier had been made public. He then told Mr Comey, the director writes, that he had not stayed in the hotel and that the most salacious charge could not have been true because, Trump said, “I’m a germaphobe. There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me. No way.”
Comey writes that Trump raised the issue again, unprompted, during their one-on-one dinner at the White House and it bothered the president that there might be even “a one percent chance” his wife might think it was true.
Comey then registers surprise, writing that he thought to himself “why his wife would think there was any chance, even a small one, that he had been with prostitutes urinating on each other in a Moscow hotel room.”
The book otherwise mostly adheres closely to Comey’s public testimony and written statements about his contacts with Trump and his growing concern about Trump’s integrity. It also includes strikingly personal jabs at Trump that appear sure to irritate the president.
The 6-foot-8 Comey describes Trump as shorter than he expected with a “too long” tie and “bright white half-moons” under his eyes that he suggests came from tanning goggles. He also says he made a conscious effort to check the president’s hand size, saying it was “smaller than mine but did not seem unusually so.”
The book, “A Higher Loyalty,” is to be released next week.
“Donald Trump’s presidency threatens much of what is good in this nation,” Comey writes, calling the administration a “forest fire” that can’t be contained by ethical leaders within the government.
Trump fired Comey in May 2017, setting off a scramble at the Justice Department that led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation. Mueller’s probe has expanded to include whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey, which the president denies.
Trump has attacked Comey as a “showboat” and a “liar.”
Additional reporting by agencies