Former FBI Director James Comey was reportedly "disgusted" by President Donald Trump's attempt to embrace him during a ceremony shortly after Trump took office (video below).
The ceremony was held at the White House two days after Trump became president, the Daily Mail reported. The event was meant to honor law enforcement officials who provided security at Trump's inauguration.
In a Lawfare blog post, Comey's friend, Benjamin Wittes, recalled the event, stating that Comey was reluctant to attend, but decided to go because he felt he could not turn down a presidential invitation:
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.
And for a long time, he reported, Trump didn’t seem to notice him. The meeting was nearly over, he said, and he really thought he was going to get away without an individual interaction. But when you’re six foot, eight inches tall, it’s hard to blend in forever, and Trump ultimately singled him out -- and did so with the most damning faint praise possible: 'Oh, and there's Jim. He’s become more famous than me!'
"Again, look at the video, and you’ll see Comey preemptively reaching out to shake hands," Wittes added. "Trump grabs his hand and attempts an embrace. The embrace, however, is entirely one sided.
"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."
Trump's decision to fire Comey sent shock waves throughout the country. Several critics called the move by the president obstruction of justice, considering the active FBI investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia.
The New York Times reported that Trump had asked Comey to end his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to a memo written by Comey.
“I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Comey, according to the memo.
Trump has since taken to Twitter to denounce the reports, calling the whole ordeal the "single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"
On May 18, during a press conference with the Colombian president, a reporter asked Trump if he had ever asked Comey to "close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn," AOL.com reported. Trump cut him off and said "No. No. Next question."