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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

President Donald Trump appears to have misled former FBI Director James Comey about his trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant in 2013, according to flight record obtained by Bloomberg. Though Trump reportedly told Comey that he didn’t stay overnight in the Russian city, per the director’s contemporaneous memos of their private meeting, the flight records and social media posts show that Trump stayed overnight in the city at a hotel.

This development is significant because it undermines Trump’s denials that the Russian government has blackmail material on him as mentioned in the Steele dossier, in the form of a video recording of him with prostitutes. The dossier’s author, former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, said sources told him that Trump had been videotaped with prostitutes at a hotel while he stayed overnight during the pageant.

Comey’s memos of his meetings with Trump in 2017 show that the president was preoccupied with proving these claims false. He claimed it couldn’t’ be true because he didn’t spend the night in Moscow. He even suggested that he might ask Comey to investigate the claims to show that they were untrue, but he never officially made this request.

The records clearly show, Bloomberg reports, that Trump arrived in Moscow on a Friday and didn’t leave until Sunday morning.

The fact that Trump appears to have lied when he said he didn’t even stay overnight in Moscow doesn’t prove the allegations are true, of course. He may have simply been overzealous in his denunciations of the dossier’s claims.

But it does call into question Trump’s fundamental credibility. He has called Comey a liar, saying that he never asked for the former director’s loyalty or encouraged him to drop the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

These facts could someday play a part in an obstruction of justice charge against the president or in articles of impeachment. Given that Trump’s credibility is highly questionable, he may have a hard time defending himself against these allegations.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.

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