Trump pressed Comey to pledge his loyalty: report
President Trump demanded in January that then-FBI Director James Comey pledge his loyalty to the newly-inaugurated president, but Comey refused, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Instead, the top cop said he would always be honest with Trump, and that he was not politically “reliable,” associates of Comey told The Times.
Later in the dinner, according to the account, Trump once again asked for Comey to pledge his loyalty. Once again, Comey refused.
Comey also tried to explain to the president how he viewed his post at the FBI, saying that the bureau’s director should be a non-partisan, independent enforcer of the nation’s laws. FBI directors are appointed to 10 years terms to ensure freedom from political impulses.
The White House denied the account of the dinner. Trump himself recounted a dinner with Comey in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt on Thursday, in which the question of loyalty never came up.
“We don’t believe this to be an accurate account,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders 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.”
Trump abruptly fired Comey on Tuesday, saying in a letter at the time that the ouster was recommended by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. But the president contradicted that statement on Thursday, telling Holt that he would have fired Comey regardless of Rosenstein’s recommendation.
“I was going to fire regardless of the recommendation,” he said.
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