A friend of James Comey said Thursday that the former FBI director was "disgusted" when President Trump tried to hug him at a White House event earlier this year, calling it an "intentional attempt to compromise [Comey] in public."

Brookings Institution fellow Benjamin Wittes, a close friend of Comey, recounted the incident on PBS "NewsHour" Thursday. According to Wittes, Comey was "disgusted" when Trump tried to pull Comey in for a hug during a White House visit for a ceremony honoring law enforcement officials that worked Trump's inauguration.


Wittes said Comey "really did not want to go to that meeting" and tried to distance himself from Trump to ensure the FBI's independence from the White House. Comey, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall, was wearing a dark blue suit and stood near the similarly colored curtains in the back of the room, hoping that Trump would not spot him.

Trump did end up calling out Comey.

"Right at the end, Trump singles [Comey] out in a fashion that [Comey] regarded as sort of calculated," Wittes said. "Trump grabs the hand and kind of pulls him into the hug, but the hug is entirely one-sided. Comey was just completely disgusted by the episode."

"He thought it was an intentional attempt to compromise him in public," he added.

A video of the event shows Comey standing at the opposite side of the room from Trump during the meeting, then walking across, arm extended, to shake hands with Trump, but Trump attempts to hug Comey.