Does the left-leaning media finally have the ever-elusive "smoking gun" that could finally dethrone Donald Trump? Politico is hoping that some newly-obtained flight records will prove that Trump made a false claim to James Comey that could "aid Mueller" in taking him down. But a closer look at Comey's own record of his conversations with Trump about his infamous "golden showers" Moscow trip suggests that this is probably yet another overblown story.
On Monday, Bloomberg reported on the flight records they just obtained related to Trump's 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant. Here are the key details of Bloomberg's report:
- Trump reportedly left North Carolina on Nov. 7, 2013 on a Bombardier Global 5000 private jet owned by Phil Ruffin and arrived at an "unspecified time" in Moscow on Friday.
- A Facebook post of Trump at the Nobu Moscow restaurant proves that he was in the city on Friday; he also attended a birthday party for the pageant's host that night.
- According to the host, Trump stayed at the Ritz-Carlton about an hour away from the airport that night.
- On Saturday, Trump tweeted about touring Moscow and then attended the pageant, "followed by an after-party whose scheduled start time was 1 a.m."
- Around three hours later, Ruffin’s Bombardier took off from the airport. The plane arrived in New York at 4:11 a.m. Sunday morning, at which point Trump tweeted, "I just got back from Russia-learned lots & lots. Moscow is a very interesting and amazing place!"
It was during this trip, the unverified and salacious Steele dossier claims, that Trump paid prostitutes to pee on a bed where Barack Obama had supposedly slept.
In his newly-released memos written before he was fired by Trump, Comey says that Trump told him he hadn't even slept in Moscow on that trip. The new flight records, which show that Trump did stay one night in Moscow, Politico hopes, is proof that Trump deliberately misled Comey and thus could be grounds for Mueller to charge him for obstruction.
But just how deliberately did Trump mislead Comey? Here's how Politico reports Comey's statement:
Late last January, at a private White House dinner attended only by Donald Trump and Jim Comey, the president steered the conversation to a sensitive topic: “the golden showers thing.” He wanted the then-FBI director to know, Comey later wrote in a memo, that not only did he not consort with hookers in a Moscow hotel room in 2013, it was an impossibility. Trump “had spoken to people who had been on … the trip with him and they had reminded him that he didn’t stay over night in Russia for that," Comey recalled.
So Trump, trying to remember details about his whirlwind trip across the globe, said people who were with him "reminded him that he didn't stay over night in Russia for that." In other words, Trump is guilty of . . . telling Comey what other people misremembered?
In a follow-up conversation with Comey, Trump made the assertion again, though this time, according to Comey's recollection of the conversation, he didn't cite those who had been on the trip with him. Instead, Comey claims Trump said "that he hadn’t stayed overnight in Russia during the Miss Universe trip."
As Comey states in his newly-released memos, when he informed Trump about the wild accusation, Trump said he "may order [Comey] to investigate" the claims in the dossier to disprove it — a rather strange request if it had been true. With the social media record of events, it would also be a particularly dumb thing to deliberately lie about.
By the way, in case you missed it, during one of Comey's interviews promoting his new tell-all memoir, he admitted to George Stephanopoulos that when he told Trump about the claims in the dossier, he didn't bother telling him that it was funded by his political opponents, the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
H/T Jazz Shaw