Tags: Donald Trump | Law Enforcement | Trump Administration | The New York Times | James Comey | loyalty | pledge

NYT: Trump Demanded Comey's Loyalty, Only to Receive Pledge for 'Honesty'

Image: NYT: Trump Demanded Comey's Loyalty, Only to Receive Pledge for 'Honesty'
President Donald Trump (AP Photo)

By    |   Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:18 PM

President Donald Trump demanded loyalty from James Comey over dinner in January – but the former FBI director, whom Trump fired Tuesday, only promised "that he would be honest with him always," according to news reports Thursday.

But Trump pushed Comey on whether it would be "honest loyalty," The New York Times reported.

"You will have that," the former FBI director said he responded, according to associates Comey told of the conversation.

Trump said Thursday he fired Comey, 56, who was nominated in 2013 by President Barack Obama, because he was a "showboat" and "grandstander."

He told NBC News host Lester Holt that Comey told him three times — at a dinner and in two telephone calls — that he was not the subject of any FBI investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election.

"I said, 'If it's possible, would you let me know am I under investigation?' He said you are not under investigation," Trump said.

But the Times reported President Trump and Comey met for dinner Jan. 27, seven days after he was sworn in as commander-in-chief.

"They are believed to have had only one dinner together," according to the Times.

Comey discussed the dinner with two associates interviewed by the newspaper – and they said the former director now believed the loyalty conversation "was a harbinger of his downfall" at the intelligence agency.

He described the details of the dinner to the associates "on the condition that they not discuss it publicly while he was FBI director," according to the Times.

"They felt free to discuss it on the condition of anonymity" now that Comey has been fired.

But deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders disputed the account of the dinner.

"We don't believe this to be an accurate account," she told the Times. "The integrity of our law enforcement agencies and their leadership is of the utmost importance to President Trump.

"He would never even suggest the expectation of personal loyalty, only loyalty to our country and its great people."

In his NBC interview, Trump described a dinner Comey had asked for.

"It was not clear whether he was talking about the same meal," the Times reported.

Trump also did not tell Holt whether he had asked Comey for his loyalty.

When asked at the White House press briefing Wednesday whether loyalty would be a factor in naming a Comey's successor, Sanders responded President Trump wanted someone who is "loyal to the justice system."

The Comey associates told the Times that Trump requested the dinner he described in the NBC interview – and he was initially reluctant because of the Russia probe.

He eventually agreed because "he did not believe he could turn down a meeting with the new president," the Times reported.

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Politics
President Donald Trump demanded loyalty from James Comey over dinner in January – but the former FBI director, whom Trump fired Tuesday, only promised "that he would be honest with him always," according to news reports Thursday.
The New York Times, James Comey, loyalty, pledge
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2017-18-11
Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:18 PM
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