Former FBI Director James Comey now says he tried to hide among the tall, blue curtains adorning a White House meeting room in an attempt to hide from President Trump at an Inauguration Day event.
Comey said the incident was one example of what he believed were times Trump tried to create a public image that showed Comey was on his side.
"Comey described really not wanting to go to that meeting, for the same reason he later did not want to go to the private dinner with Trump: the FBI director should be always at arm's length from the President, in his view. There was an additional sensitivity here too, because many Democrats blamed Comey for Trump's election, so he didn't want any shows of closeness between the two that might reinforce a perception that he had put a thumb on the scale in Trump's favor," Benjamin Wittes wrote late Thursday.
"But he also felt that he could not refuse a presidential invitation, particularly not one that went to a broad array of law enforcement leadership. So he went," Wittes continued.
"But as he told me the story, he tried hard to blend into the background and avoid any one-on-one interaction. He was wearing a blue blazer and noticed that the drapes were blue. So he stood in the back, right in front of the drapes, hoping Trump wouldn't notice him camouflaged against the wall. If you look at the video, Comey is standing about as far from Trump as it is physically possible to be in that room."
The report states that for a while Trump did not notice him, but at the very end, he did, singling him out and calling him across the room for what Comey hoped at the worst would be a handshake.
"Comey took the long walk across the room determined, he told me, that there was not going to be a hug. Bad enough that he was there; bad enough that there would be a handshake; he emphatically did not want any show of warmth.
"Again, look at the video, and you'll see Comey preemptively reaching out to shake hands. Trump grabs his hand and attempts an embrace. The embrace, however, is entirely one sided," Wittes added.
"Comey was disgusted. He regarded the episode as a physical attempt to show closeness and warmth in a fashion calculated to compromise him before Democrats who already mistrusted him," he said.
Trump fired Comey nine days ago and warned him not to reveal information about their relationship or he might release hypothetical "tapes" of their talks. Comey was caught in the middle of an investigation into Russia's interference in the U.S. election, sometimes getting criticism from Republicans and at other times, getting slammed by Democrats.