One of the early lessons of Comey’s testimony is that we should be at least a little bit wary about what we hear from “associates” of the key figures in this story. The Wall Street Journal, a fine paper with many well-placed sources all over Washington, reported May 11:
Mr. Comey’s associates also denied the claim made by Mr. Trump, in his letter firing Mr. Comey, that the director told him on three occasions that he wasn’t under investigation. They said Mr. Comey never gave Mr. Trump any such guidance, which would violate longstanding policies on criminal investigations. “That is literally farcical,” said one associate.
But we now know from Comey’s account that yes, he did indeed tell the president three times that he, personally, was not under criminal investigation. As our Andy McCarthy points out, the investigation into Russia’s activities in the election are a counter-intelligence investigation, not a criminal one. (He elaborates about the differences here.)
Another irony here is that it’s likely that no one is lying. The Comey associates are offering their honest opinion that their friend or colleague would never do such a thing. The reporter is quoting the unidentified source accurately. And Comey probably never told these particular associates about this aspect of his conversations with Trump.