Former FBI director James Comey met with President Trump on February 14. According to Comey’s sworn testimony, Trump said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting [former National Security Adviser Michael] Flynn go.” Flynn was under active FBI investigation related to his communications with the Russians and other matters.
In a press conference on Friday, Trump insisted Comey was lying.
Q Always fair. Mr. President, can we get back to James Comey’s testimony. You suggested he didn’t tell the truth in everything he said. He did say, under oath, that you told him to let the Flynn — you said you hoped the Flynn investigation he could let —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I didn’t say that.
Q So he lied about that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I didn’t say that. I mean, I will tell you I didn’t say that.
So it was a bit surprising that Donald Trump Jr. went on national TV on Sunday night and supported Comey’s version of the events.
“You and I are friends: ‘Hey, I hope this happens, but you’ve got to do your job.’ That’s what [my father] told Comey,” Trump Jr. said.
Trump Jr.’s appearance highlights a major legal risk for President Trump, who is now insisting that Comey committed perjury in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller will be investigating Trump’s firing of Comey for possible obstruction of justice. As part of that process, Mueller will likely talk to Trump and Comey, but the inquiry will not end there. Mueller will likely want to talk to people around Trump and Comey to find out if they were told about their meetings.
If Trump told his friends and family a different version of his meeting with Comey than he is presenting now, he could be setting himself up for perjury.
Trump has expressed a willingness to repeat his version of the events under oath. If Trump’s account differs from Comey’s account, Comey’s contemporaneous notes, what Comey told his associates at the time and what Trump told associates at the time, the president could be in acute legal jeopardy.