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Former FBI Director James Comey will tell the Senate Intelligence Committee during his hearing Thursday that he immediately began documenting each each of his conversations with President Donald Trump in memos, despite never having done so with his predecessor, according to prepared remarks released by the committee Wednesday.
Comey’s first meeting with Trump, who was then the President-elect, took place on Jan. 6 in a Trump Tower conference room in New York City, according to the remarks.
Comey said he had visited Trump as part of a group of intelligence community leaders to brief him on an intelligence assessment on Russian efforts to interfere in the presidential election. But he said he stayed behind alone afterward to discuss “some personally sensitive” information gathered during the intelligence assessment.
In the remarks, Comey characterized the information as “salacious and unverified” and said he and the Director of National Intelligence agreed the information should be discussed with Trump alone to “minimize potential embarrassment.”
According to Comey’s remarks, Comey also offered Trump unsolicited assurance during their one-on-one conversation that the FBI was not investigating him personally. Immediately after that meeting, Comey began typing out notes on what was discussed, according to his remarks.
“I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it out on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting,” Comey will tell the committee.
“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.”
Comey’s remarks go on to reveal that he only had one-on-one conversations with former President Barack Obama twice – both times in person, never over the phone. One of those conversations took place in late 2016 to say goodbye, and the other occurred in 2015 “to discuss law enforcement policy issues,” according to the remarks.
“In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions,” Comey said.
With Trump, however, Comey recalls nine one-on-one conversations over a period of four months – three of which were in-person, and six over the phone.