Former federal prosecutor Bill Mateja said former FBI Director James Comey felt obligated to document his interactions with Donald Trump about the FBI’s investigation into possible links between the president’s campaign and Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.
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“I don’t think he kept memos in the normal course of things,” Mateja said during an interview on the FOX Business Network, “but I think he did with regard with Donald Trump.”
Comey had written notes and memos to himself after having a private dinner with Trump. His prepared remarks for Thursday’s testimony, which were released Wednesday, say President Trump told him “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” Comey also says that he informed Trump on three separate occasions between January and April that he is not “personally” under investigation.
Mateja, who served as special counsel to Comey when he was the deputy attorney general, added: “One thing I know about Jim Comey is that he has a phonographic and a photographic memory. Everything he hears and everything he sees, he remembers, but I think that he felt compelled to do that given the situation.”
Comey and Trump had a complicated relationship during the campaign; Trump praised Comey after he announced the FBI would reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was the secretary of state, but fired him last month, citing his handling of the investigation as a reason. But in Mateja’s opinion, Comey will not hold it against the president.
“You’re not going to see any bitterness; quite frankly, Jim has had a distinguished career, had a distinguished time while he was at the FBI. I’m sure he feels very proud about that, and I think he probably feels proud of the way he handled that situation,” he said.