In the ten days since former FBI Director James Comey lost his job, reports have indicated that he didn’t feel too comfy around President Trump. Not only did Trump asked him to pledge “loyalty,” but Comey felt the need to document “everything he could remember” about their encounters. His associates then leaked the memo about Trump attempting to pressure Comey into killing the investigation of Michael Flynn’s Russian ties (which Trump denies, of course). For a visual example to show how “unsettled” Comey felt in Trump’s presence, watch the ABC News video (above), which comes with a backstory (below).
The clip shows Comey in the White House Blue Room on January 22 with a group of law enforcement officers who Trump invited as a “thank you” for inauguration security. Benjamin Wittes, a Comey pal, told the New York Times that the bureau head didn’t even want to attend, so he tried to blend in with the drapes in a matching suit, but Trump noticed him and shouted across the room, “There’s Jim! He’s become more famous than me.” Here’s what Wittes says was going through Comey’s head:
Mr. Comey — who is 6 feet 8 inches tall and was wearing a dark blue suit that day — told Mr. Wittes that he tried to blend in with the blue curtains in the back of the room, in the hopes that Mr. Trump would not spot him and call him out.
“He thought he had gotten through and not been noticed or singled out and that he was going to get away without an individual interaction,” Mr. Wittes said Mr. Comey told him. But Mr. Trump spotted Mr. Comey and called him out.
“Comey said that as he was walking across the room he was determined that there wasn’t going to be a hug,” Mr. Wittes said. “It was bad enough there was going to be a handshake.”
As the video indicates, Comey extended his hand (“pre-emptively,” points out Wittes), and Trump sort-of moves for an embrace, which doesn’t happen. Yet Comey looked to be practically hugging those curtains. He reportedly felt uncomfortable with how chummy Trump wanted to be from the beginning, since most modern FBI directors have followed Justice Department customs to maintain “limited contact” with the president and his staff. And Comey’s instincts weren’t for nothing — a month later, Trump lashed out at the FBI after Comey refused to help bury Russia stories in the press.
No wonder Comey had no problems publicly admitting that he felt “mildly nauseous” over suggestions that he might have helped Trump get elected.