Why Comey Documented His Trump Meetings: “I Was Honestly Concerned That He Might Lie”

”Lordy,” he added, ”I hope there are tapes.”

Alex Edelman/Zuma

One of the key points to come out of former FBI Director James Comey’s written testimony submitted on Wednesday to the Senate intel committee was that Comey felt the need to contemporaneously document his interactions with President Donald Trump, beginning with his first meeting with him on January 6. In his questions to Comey during the committee’s hearing on Thursday, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) asked the former FBI director to elaborate on that point.

“What was it about [the January 6] meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record?” Warner asked.

Comey said it was based on the circumstances of the moment (he was alone with the then-president elect), the subject matter of that first conversation (touched on FBI responsibilities, as well as issues related to Trump himself), and “nature of the person” he was dealing with. 

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document,” Comey said Thursday. “That combination of things I’d never experienced before, but it led me to believe I’ve got to write it down, and I’ve got to write it down in a very detailed way.”

Watch the highlight below: 


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.