Comey memos expose major problem in Trump’s story about his night at the Moscow Ritz

Trump told Comey he didn't even spend a night there -- but that's not what his bodyguard testified.

CREDIT: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images
CREDIT: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

Former FBI Director James Comey’s newly released memos indicate that in early 2017, Donald Trump repeatedly tried to refute one of the most salacious allegations in the Steele dossier — that Trump engaged in acts with sex workers at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton during a trip to Russia for the 2013 Miss Universe competition — by claiming he didn’t even spend a night in Moscow.

But Trump’s defense against what he characterizes as “fake news” is directly contradicted by the sworn testimony of his longtime bodyguard, Keith Schiller.

Advertisement

Comey wrote that during a January 28, 2017 dinner with Trump at the White House, Trump brought up the “golden showers thing” and said “[h]e had spoken to people who had been on the Miss Universe trip with him and they had reminded him that he didn’t stay over in Russia for that.”

“He said he arrived in the morning, did events, then showered and dressed for the pageant at the hotel (he didn’t say the hotel name) and left for the pageant. Afterwards, he returned only to get his things because they departed for New York by plane that same night,” Comey’s memo continues.

CREDIT: SCREENGRAB
CREDIT: SCREENGRAB

Then, during a meeting between the two men on February 8, according to Comey, Trump again brought up the “Golden Showers thing.”

Trump “said it really bothered him if his wife had any doubt about it,” Comey wrote. “He then explained, as he did at our dinner, that he hadn’t stayed overnight in Russia during the Miss Universe trip… The President said ‘the hookers thing’ is nonsense but that Putin had told him ‘we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.’ (He did not say when Putin had told him this [redacted])”

CREDIT: SCREENGRAB
CREDIT: SCREENGRAB

This is not how Schiller characterized the events in his own testimony.

Testifying before Congress last November, Schiller said that a Russian man he didn’t know offered to send five women to Trump’s hotel room. According to an NBC News report about the testimony, Schiller said that although he interpreted the offer as a joke, he discussed it with Trump as they walked back to his hotel room before each of them turned in for the night.

Advertisement

“Schiller testified that he stood outside Trump’s hotel room for a time and then went to bed,” NBC reported. “One source noted that Schiller testified he eventually left Trump’s hotel room door and could not say for sure what happened during the remainder of the night.”

Comey’s memos recount other claims from Trump that seem implausible in light of what we’ve come to know about the president.

For instance, Comey writes that on two separate occasions, Trump tried to dismiss the dossier’s allegation about his engagement with sex workers in Moscow by asserting that he’s not the type of guy who would pay for sex.

“He then said something about him being the kind of guy who didn’t need to ‘go there’ and laughed (which I understood to be communicating that he didn’t need to pay for sex),” Comey writes about his first meeting with President-elect Trump on January 7, 2017.

Advertisement

But during an interview last month, Karen McDougal — a Playboy Playmate who says she had a consensual affair with Trump beginning the year after he married Melania — claimed Trump offered her money after the first time they had sex.

“After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me, and I actually didn’t know how to take it,” McDougal said, adding that Trump tried to hand her money. “I had never been offered money like that… I looked at him and I said, ‘that’s not me, I’m not that kind of girl,’ and he said, ‘oh… you’re really special.'”

Comey also writes that Trump told him he has “a beautiful wife,” so the allegations about paying for sex are “very painful” — implying that Trump wouldn’t cheat on her. But in recent months, both McDougal and adult film actress Stormy Daniels have spoken out publicly to detail credible accounts of having affairs with Trump, which they say began in 2006.