Why Comey Documented His Trump Meetings: “I Was Honestly Concerned That He Might Lie”

”Lordy,” he added, ”I hope there are tapes.”

Alex Edelman/Zuma

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One of the key points to come out of former FBI Director James Comey’s written testimony submitted on Wednesday to the Senate intel committee was that Comey felt the need to contemporaneously document his interactions with President Donald Trump, beginning with his first meeting with him on January 6. In his questions to Comey during the committee’s hearing on Thursday, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) asked the former FBI director to elaborate on that point.

“What was it about [the January 6] meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record?” Warner asked.

Comey said it was based on the circumstances of the moment (he was alone with the then-president elect), the subject matter of that first conversation (touched on FBI responsibilities, as well as issues related to Trump himself), and “nature of the person” he was dealing with. 

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document,” Comey said Thursday. “That combination of things I’d never experienced before, but it led me to believe I’ve got to write it down, and I’ve got to write it down in a very detailed way.”

Watch the highlight below: 

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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