Eight days after he was sworn in as president, Donald Trump told then-FBI Director James Comey during a one-on-one dinner at the White House that he "needed loyalty and expected loyalty," according to a memo Comey made following their conversation, one of numerous memos released to lawmakers and obtained by Fox News on Thursday evening.
The Jan. 28 memo was one of five redacted documents transmitted to three congressional committees.
Comey wrote that he "did not reply, or even nod or change my facial expression, which [Trump] noted because we came back to it later."
2018-4-19 Comey Memo - Enclosure Unclassified by Fox News on Scribd
At a later point, Comey wrote that Trump told him, "I need loyalty."
"I replied that he would always get honesty from me," said Comey. "[Trump] paused and said that's what he wants, 'honest loyalty.' I replied, 'you will get that from me.'"
"It is possible we understood that phrase differently," Comey adds as a parenthetical, "but I chose to understand it as consistent with what I had said throughout the conversation: I will serve the President with loyalty to the office, the country, and the truth. I decided it would not be productive to push the subject further."
During their dinner in the Green Room, Comey wrote that Trump "thought maybe he should ask me to investigate" salacious allegations raised in a dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele "to prove [the dossier] was a lie."
Comey wrote that "it was up to [Trump], but I wouldn't want to create a narrative that we were investigating him, because we are not and I worried such a thing would be misconstrued."
The assurance that he was not being investigated seems to have weighed on the president's mind as Michael Flynn was fired as national security adviser after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about contacts with the Russian envoy to the U.S.
More than two months later, on March 30, Comey wrote that Trump had called him and pressed the FBI director to make public that the president was not under investigation over contacts between Russian officials and members of his campaign.
"I reminded [Trump] that I had told him we weren't investigating him and that I had told the Congressional leadership the same thing," Comey wrote. "[Trump] said it would be great if that could get out and several times asked me to find a way to get that out."
Comey says Trump emphasized his request again at the end of their conversation, writing that the president "hoped I could find a way to get out that he wasn't being investigated.
"I told him I would see what we could do and that we would do the work well and as quickly as we could," Comey says he responded.
Trump called Comey again on April 11 to ask "if I did what he had asked last time -- getting out that he personally is not under investigation." Comey says he advised Trump to have White House Counsel Don McGahn call then-Acting Attorney General Dana Boente to request that such a statement be made.
After Trump said he would do so, Comey said the president told him, "I have been very loyal to you, very loyal, we had that thing, you know."
"I did not reply, or ask him what he meant by 'that thing,'" wrote Comey, who added that as Trump ended the call, Trump told him he was "doing a great job and wished me well."