(Bloomberg) -- Former FBI Director James Comey said President Donald Trump last year mulled ordering the bureau to investigate the most salacious allegation in a controversial dossier -- that Trump was with prostitutes in Moscow in 2013, and Russians filmed the encounter.
Comey said he told Trump that it ultimately was up to the president to decide whether to open a probe but cautioned that doing so could "create a narrative" that the FBI was investigating him, Comey told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos in his first interview ahead of his book’s publication next week.
Trump brought up the allegation several times -- including during a private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017 -- before firing Comey only months into his new administration. Trump’s motivation for wanting an investigation? Comey said Trump told him that “if there is even a 1 percent chance my wife thinks that’s true, that’s terrible.”
Taking to Twitter shortly after the tape aired, Trump called Comey an “untruthful slime ball” and attacked his tenure as FBI leader. The president’s comments came after Press Secretary Sarah Sanders in her own tweet assailed the credibility of the lawman, and Republicans readied a campaign to discredit him.
"James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired," Trump said in a tweet.
In a follow-up message, he said Comey was "a terrible Director of the FBI.”
Comey recounted in the portion of the interview broadcast Friday how he informed Trump about the dossier allegation before the inauguration and that Trump raised the issue again at a private dinner, during which Trump said he may order the FBI to investigate the allegation to disprove it.
The former director said he remembered wondering, "how could your wife think there was a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow?"
"I’m a flawed human being. But there is literally zero chance my wife would think that was true," he added.
Comey said he still doesn’t know the truth of the allegation.
“I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” he said. “It’s possible. But I don’t know.”
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