A friend of former FBI Director James Comey once described him as a "guy with a story to tell." Comey is now telling that story in a book called "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership" that goes on sale next week — and people are eager to read it.
In one excerpt obtained by multiple outlets, Comey reveals that President Donald Trump was very concerned about the so-called "pee tape" — a recording of Trump at a Russian hotel paying prostitutes to engage in the sex act some call "golden showers." It's not clear if the tape is actually real, but it was described in British spy Christopher Steele's notorious dossier, which claimed the video was a part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's stash of compromising material that he used to gain leverage over Trump.
At a dinner between the then-FBI director and the president in 2017, Trump "brought up what he called the ‘golden showers thing’ . . . adding that it bothered him if there was ‘even a 1 percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true,” according to an excerpt of Comey's book obtained by the New York Post.
The excerpt continues: “He just rolled on, unprompted, explaining why it couldn’t possibly be true, ending by saying he was thinking of asking me to investigate the allegation to prove it was a lie. I said it was up to him.”
Comey goes on to say that he found it odd that Trump would worry that Melania might think the tape was true. The former FBI director, who was later fired by Trump for his investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, says that his own wife would never have believed any such claim about him.
The story may provide support for the claim that the "pee tape" doesn't exist. Why would Trump suggest Comey investigate the matter if there was the possibility that he could discover the tape itself?
At the same time, it's notable that Trump didn't actually direct Comey to investigate the existence of the tape, leaving its existence an open question. Aside from the salacious aspects of the story, though, there are important questions surrounding this story that we still can't answer: What ties does the president have to Russia, and why has he spent so long pushing for a closer relationship to Putin?