The source said of the dinner between Comey and Trump on January 27 that it came at Trump’s request and was one-on-one. Trump told NBC he thought Comey asked for the dinner, but the source denied the President’s account, saying that if Comey had wanted to dine with Trump, he would have had to put the request in through the deputy attorney general.
“It doesn’t work that way. It’s ludicrous,” the source said.
A few days before the dinner, Comey had already been told by the President that he would stay on the job, the source said.
“It is absolutely untrue that Jim asked to have dinner or that he asked to have his job,” the source said. “That is a complete fabrication.”
As CNN has previously reported, Comey’s refusal to pledge loyalty is one of the reasons the President fired him, the other being the acceleration of the probe into alleged collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, another source close to Comey has said.
The source said Comey knew it was possible he would lose his job, especially when he did not agree to pledge loyalty and later with the fallout over refuting the President’s claims that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower, but he didn’t expect it when he was fired.
The source said Comey is likely not going to testify next week to Senate intelligence. As of Friday morning, Comey had not responded to the request.
“He loved his job and the mission,” said the source, who added, “he’ll be fine.”
The source also confirmed previously reported accounts that Comey learned of his firing by catching it on TV — initially, Comey thought it was a joke, and teased agents around him for teasing him. Then someone pull him aside and told him it was true, the source said.
The source said Comey thought at least he would get a phone call, adding, “the way (Trump) did it was remarkable.”
Shifting accounts of firing
But mounting evidence suggests Comey was actually fired because of the Russia probe.
On Thursday, Trump, discussing the firing of Comey, told NBC News that he was frustrated by the ongoing investigation and believed it was motivated by Democrats’ fury at losing the election.
Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt: “And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said ‘you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.'”