Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Three times James Comey’s testimony contradicted Donald Trump

Lauren Carroll
By Lauren Carroll June 8, 2017

Ousted FBI Director James Comey was so concerned President Donald Trump "might lie" about their conversations that he wrote memos describing their meetings in detail.

Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee in a June 8 hearing that it became clear to him early on that his interactions with Trump would be different than past presidents.

Senators called on Comey to testify about his interactions with Trump regarding the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the election after Trump’s abrupt dismissal of Comey May 9.

Several comments in Comey’s testimony contradicted statements by Trump and his White House staff.

Let’s play the tape.

On whether Trump asked Comey to back off the FBI investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

In his prepared remarks, Comey wrote that Trump got him alone in the Oval Office Feb. 14 and asked him to "let this go," an exchange first reported in the New York Times on May 16.  

"The president then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, ‘He is a good guy and has been through a lot,’ " Comey wrote. "He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the vice president. He then said, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.’ "

Trump and White House spokespeople denied this allegation.

"No. No. Next question," Trump said during a May 18 press conference, when a reporter asked him about the New York Times story.

In his testimony June 8, Comey said of Trump’s response, "I don't believe it is" a true statement.

Trump’s outside lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, delivered a statement following Comey’s hearing in which he said Trump never suggested that Comey "let Flynn go."

On who set up meetings with who

Though Comey did tell Trump he wasn’t under investigation several times, Comey and Trump’s stories also don’t align regarding the setting and circumstances of the conversations.

In his written testimony, Comey wrote that he discussed with Trump the fact that he wasn’t under investigation four times: In an intelligence community leaders meeting at Trump Tower Jan. 6; a Jan. 27 Trump-arranged dinner at the White House; and in two Trump-initiated phone calls, on March 30 and April 11.

Trump, speaking with NBC’s Lester Holt May 11, Trump said there were three occasions: in a Comey-requested dinner and in two phone calls. "In one case I called him and one case he called me," Trump said.

So Trump didn’t mention the Jan. 6 Trump Tower meeting, and he said Comey requested the dinner and one of the phone calls. Comey said that Trump initiated both interactions.

All told, Trump and Comey had nine one-on-one conversations in four months, Comey wrote.

"I never initiated a communication with the president," Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

On whether FBI rank-and-file lost confidence in Comey

In his May 11 NBC interview, Trump said, "The FBI has been in turmoil. You know that, I know that, everybody knows that."

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters May 10, "The rank-and-file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director."

She said she had heard that from "numerous" members of the FBI.

In his opening remarks to senators, Comey emphatically disagreed.

"The administration then 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," he said.

"Those were lies, plain and simple."

Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Lauren Carroll

Three times James Comey’s testimony contradicted Donald Trump