Former FBI Director James Comey told a Senate panel Thursday that he created contemporaneous records of his conversations with President Trump because he "was honestly concerned that he might lie."
Comey was asked duringto explain his thinking behind writing detailed memos about his private conversations with Mr. Trump during his time as FBI director. In written testimony released Wednesday, Comey wrote that he documented his conversations immediately following his interactions with Mr. Trump, at one point typing notes on a laptop in a car after a meeting in Trump Tower on January 6.
"What was it about that meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record?" Sen. Mark Warner, the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, asked Comey.
"A combination of things. I think the circumstances, the subject matter and the person I was interacting with. The circumstances -- first, I was alone with the president of the United States, or the president-elect, soon-to-be president," Comey said. "The subject matter I was talking about, matters that touch on the FBI's core responsibility and that relate to the president, president-elect, personally."
Comey said Mr. Trump's "nature" was the third consideration in creating the memos.
"I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it really important to document," he said. "That combination of things I'd never experienced before, but it led me to believe I've got to write it down in a very detailed way."
"I think that's a very important statement you just made," Warner replied.
Comey said in his written testimony that he spoke privately with Mr. Trump a total of nine times -- three times in person and six times on the phone.
He said on Thursday he never felt compelled to document conversations with Presidents Obama or Bush.