How things have changed. Only nine days ago, James Comey, then director of the FBI, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on FBI oversight that he had never been an anonymous source for news reports related to the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.
Comey further testified that he never authorized anyone else at the FBI to serve as an anonymous source in news media coverage of that investigation or the agency’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
Fast forward to yesterday. The New York Times published intimate details allegedly from inside a one-on-one dinner at the White House between Comey and Trump that took place seven days after the president was sworn in.
The article quoted liberally from “two people who have heard [Comey’s] account of the dinner” in what seems to be a leak from Comey’s camp to fight back after Trump fired Comey earlier this week. At one point in the article, the Times describes the sources as “associates” of Comey’s.
The White House disputed the Times’ dinner account, which claims that Trump asked Comey to pledge loyalty to him.
“We don’t believe this to be an accurate account,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary, 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 also tweeted the following warning about Comey leaking to the news media.
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
The alleged leaks follow Comey’s May 3 testimony in which he steadfastly denied aiding in leaks to the news media regarding the FBI’s investigations into alleged Russian interference or the Clinton email probe.
The denials came during the following exchange with Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa):
GRASSLEY: And thank you for your opening statement. I’m going to start out probably with a couple subjects you wish I didn’t bring up, and then a third one that I think everybody needs to hear your opinion on on a policy issue. It is frustrating when the FBI refuses to answer this committee’s questions, but leaks relevant information to the media. In other words, they don’t talk to us, but somebody talks to the media.
Director Comey, have you ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?
GRASSLEY: Question two, relatively related, have you ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.