Comey says Trump reacted to news of Russian meddling by asking if it changed election results

Comey says Trump reacted to news of Russian meddling by asking if it changed election results
© Getty

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThere was nothing remotely treasonous in Trump's performance with Putin Opinion: One FBI text message in Russia probe that should alarm every American Clapper: Intel officials showed Trump evidence of Putin's role in election meddling MORE writes in his upcoming book that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE's initial reaction to news that the intelligence community had concluded Russia was responsible for meddling in the U.S. election was to ask whether officials were sure it had no impact on the result.

In excerpts of Comey's book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership" obtained by Reuters, the former FBI chief describes an intelligence briefing with Trump, who was then president-elect, in which top officials informed him about Russian meddling.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I recall Trump listening without interrupting, and asking only one question, which was really more of a statement: 'But you found there was no impact on the result, right?' ” Comey writes. He added that the officials had come to no such conclusion.

"What I found telling was what Trump and his team didn’t ask," Comey added. "They were about to lead a country that had been attacked by a foreign adversary, yet they had no questions about what the future Russian threat might be."

Comey goes on to say that while top intelligence officials were in the room, Trump campaign members began plotting how to "spin" the news in the briefing.

"They were keen to emphasize that there was no impact on the vote, meaning that the Russians hadn’t elected Trump," Comey says.

Trump has frequently been criticized for not acting to punish Russia over meddling in the 2016 election, and his administration has often been accused of not doing enough to protect America's election systems from future attacks.

Numerous members of the Trump campaign have also been ensnared in the ongoing special counsel investigation into possible collusion with Russian state actors during the 2016 election, though no collusion-related charges have been filed so far.

Comey's book is due to be released next week.