MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Tuesday uncovered previously-unseen evidence that refutes President Donald Trump's claim that ex-FBI Director James Comey lied to the Senate about their conversations prior to his firing.
Maddow's evidence comes in the form handwritten notes written on March 30, 2017 by then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente. Comey called Boente, who was at the time overseeing the still-burgeoning Russia investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, to relay to him an "unusual" conversation he'd had with the president. The acting deputy AG's notes echo, in some cases verbatim, what Comey later told Senate investigators after he was fired by the president.
In the notes Maddow acquired, Comey, per Boente, said that Trump considered the Russia investigation a "cloud" hanging over him that impaired his ability to govern the country. The former FBI director, the host continued, used that exact word when testifying before the Senate after he was fired.
Exclusive: Handwritten notes we believe were written by Dana Boente on his talking with James Comey about the "clo… https://t.co/wPK2nToQIo— Maddow Blog (@Maddow Blog)1523410455.0
In that same conversation, Comey also told Boente that when he reminded the president that the FBI was "not investigating him," the president told him it would be great to "get out" that fact. Comey, as Maddow noted, also told Congress that Trump asked him to publicize that he was not under investigation.
"That would be great to get out" https://t.co/PvMWL9FFUQ— Maddow Blog (@Maddow Blog)1523410623.0
In the final handwritten Boente memo Maddow acquired, the then-acting deputy AG wrote that Comey told him about a discussion he had with Sessions prior to the recusal. In the note, Boente wrote that Comey told the AG he was concerned about an instance in which Sessions was kicked out of the room and he was left alone with the president — yet another anecdote the former FBI director brought up during his Senate testimony.
In his June 2017 testimony, Comey told Congress that he alerted people at the DOJ, including Sessions, about concerns related to Trump circumventing ethical boundaries to discuss an investigation he was the subject of with the man leading that investigation.
"I c/n be speaking with the pres. alone..." https://t.co/YX5vhKyoOv— Maddow Blog (@Maddow Blog)1523410699.0
"The president has spent the last year denouncing James Comey as a liar, saying he's somebody who lied publicly about his interactions with the president before he was fired by the president," Maddow said. "These notes, which we believe are Dana Boente's firsthand handwritten notes from his conversation with Comey after that March 30th call, this is the first contemporaneous evidence that we, the public, have seen of what James Comey told other public officials at the time about the president's behavior."
"As best as we can tell," she concluded, "it absolutely matches his public statements about the president's behavior."
Watch below, via MSNBC: