Then-President Barack Obama reassured then-FBI Director James Comey of his support after the 2016 election during a private meeting in the Oval Office, Comey writes in his upcoming book.
Comey recalls that during the meeting, in late November 2016, Obama told him, “I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability. I want you to know that nothing – nothing – has happened in the last year to change my view.”
CNN obtained a copy of the book and corroborated news reports about Comey’s highly anticipated recounting of his time in the Trump administration.
Comey had been widely criticized for his handling of Hillary Clinton’s email server investigation when he announced just before the presidential election that the FBI was reopening the probe. In the days leading up the election, he announced there were no new developments, but Clinton has said Comey’s actions contributed to her loss.
“He, I think, forever changed history,” Clinton said about Comey in an interview about her memoir with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in September 2017.
Additionally, Comey writes in his book that his handling of the email probe could have been affected by the general assumption that Clinton would win the election.
“It is entirely possible,” Comey writes, that “my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls. But I don’t know.”
Comey’s new book, titled “A Higher Loyalty,” is set to be released next week.
Trump allies are prepping an extensive campaign to undermine Comey’s credibility as he goes on his publicity tour, CNN reported Thursday.
The plan, obtained by CNN, calls for referring to Comey as “Lyin’ Comey” through a website, digital advertising and talking points to be sent to Republicans across the country. The White House signed off on the plan, which is being overseen by the Republican National Committee.
Comey served as the head of the FBI until Trump fired him in May 2017.
CNN’s Lauren del Valle, Eli Watkins and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.