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In his private meeting with President Donald Trump, FBI Director James Comey told him that CNN was ready to publish unproven allegations from the Steele dossier about him interacting with Russian prostitutes.
“I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook,” Comey wrote in his memo, adding that he told the president that the information in the dossier was in “many hands.”
Comey’s memos were released to the public on Thursday, with some classified information redacted.
Comey explained to Trump that he had to brief him about the allegations so that the media could not accuse the FBI of keeping it from the president.
According to Comey, Trump said that he could not believe that CNN had not published the fake allegations already.
“I said that it was inflammatory stuff that they would get killed for reporting straight up from the source reports,” Comey noted after the meeting.
After the meeting, CNN broke the news that intelligence officials had informed Trump of the dossier information, describing it as “allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.”
The entire dossier, including the unproven allegations about Russian prostitutes, was later published by BuzzFeed.
After Trump fired Comey, he told the New York Times he felt the former FBI director was trying to use the dossier information as leverage.
“In my opinion, he shared it so that I would think he had it out there,” Trump said.
“As leverage?” the New York Times reporter asked.
“Yeah, I think so. In retrospect,” he said.