James Comey & Donald Trump Dinner at the White House: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

James Comey Christopher Wray, new FBI Director, Chris Wray cases

Former FBI Director James Comey. (Getty)

Hours before former FBI Director James Comey heads to the Senate to testify on his numerous meetings with President Donald Trump, his seven-page testimony was released.

In it, Comey detailed the numerous meetings that he had with Trump throughout four months. Some of them were about the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, while others were directly about former NSA Advisor Michael Flynn.

To read Comey’s testimony ahead of the hearing, click here.

One conspicuous meeting between the two occurred just one week into Trump’s presidency. It was a one-on-one dinner meeting at the White House between the two, and an array of topics were discussed.

In a move that was unprecedented, Trump fired Comey from his role as the FBI’s director May 9, citing an inability to perform his job at the highest level.

Here’s what you need to know about the dinner meeting at the White House:

1. Comey & His Family Were Initially Invited by Trump for Dinner


In Comey’s testimony, he writes that Trump contacted him around “lunchtime” January 27 to invite him to attend dinner later that evening.

According to Comey, Trump said that he was initially going to invite his “whole family,” but decided to just have him at that time. Trump told Comey that the rest of his family would be invited to dinner “next time.”

Comey said that it was “unclear from the conversation who else would be at the dinner,” but he had assumed that there would be others present.

When he arrived in the Green Room at the White House, Comey was shocked to see that it was only Trump seated at an oval table with two “Navy stewards” waiting on the two. The only time the stewards entered, as Comey wrote, was to serve the pair food and drinks.

2. Trump Allegedly Asked Comey If He ‘Wanted to Stay on as FBI Director’

James Comey fired, James Comey Donald Trump, James comey FBI


Once the two sat down for dinner, Comey wrote that the conversation started with Trump asking him whether he wanted to stay on as FBI director or not.

Comey wrote that he found the question “strange” because Trump already told him “twice in earlier conversations” that he hoped he would stay on to serve as its director.

In his answer to Trump, Comey wrote that Trump told him that he intended to stay on and serve out his 10-year term. Trump allegedly responded by saying that there were “lots of people” that wanted his job as the FBI director, adding with the “abuse” he took in 2016, he would “understand” if he wanted to walk away.

Comey said that Trump asking him that question made him “uneasy,” and he figured that Trump wanted some kind of “patronage relationship” with him as a result.

“That concerned me greatly,” Comey wrote.

Trump returned to the topic of Comey’s job at the end of the dinner, saying that he was “glad” that he wanted to stay, saying that he heard great things about him from various members of his administration, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

3. Trump Allegedly Told Comey He Needed ‘Loyalty’


At some time over the course of their dinner — after Trump asked Comey if he wanted to stay on as the FBI’s director —
the president said that he needed “loyalty” from Comey. He reiterated it by saying “I expect loyalty.”

Comey relied to the statement by saying that “you will always get honesty from me.”

Trump misconstrued the two words, telling Comey “that’s what I want, honest loyalty.” He wrote in his memo after the dinner that he believed that it was possible Trump and himself understood “honest loyalty” in different ways.

Comey said that he didn’t move or speak during the “awkward silence” that followed Trump’s statement. Instead, the two just looked at each other in silence. The subject of the conversation changed, but Trump returned to the topic at the end of the dinner.

4. Trump Allegedly Denied Allegations Comey Told Him About Weeks Prior

James Comey Hillary, Hillary Clinton FBI, Hillary Clinton email


Also during the dinner, Trump talked about some material that Comey went to Trump Tower to brief him on Jauary 6, prior to him being inaugurated as the 45th president, believed to be the infamous “dossier.”

At that January 6 briefing, Comey apparently told Trump that he personally was not the subject of the FBI’s investigation.

However, at the January 27 dinner, Comey wrote that Trump told him that he “expressed his disgust for the allegations” and continued to “strongly” deny them.

Comey wrote that Trump told him at the dinner that he was considering ordering the former FBI director to “investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn’t happen.”

Comey then told Trump that he should “give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t.”

After the dinner, Comey wrote a memo from his agency’s vehicle “immediately afterwards” and shared it with the leadership team of the FBI.

5. Previously, Comey Had Spoke Alone With Obama Just Twice, but Had Done So With Trump 9 Times

Paris Agreement, Donald Trump Paris Agreement, Nicaragua Paris Agreement, Syria Paris Agreement


Comey was confirmed into office September 4, 2013 under then-President Barack Obama. He said that from then until the end of his presidency, he spoke one-on-one with Obama just two times.

One of those times was to brief Obama in 2015 on a law enforcement policy, and another was in late 2016 to “say goodbye” to him.

On the contrary, Comey wrote that he could recall “nine one-one-one conversations with President Trump in four months.” He said that three of those were in person and six of those times were over the phone, with the last being an April 11 phone call.