AP

The NY Times Michael Schmidt reports President Trump called James Comey "weeks after taking office" to ask when the FBI would state publicly that he was not personally under investigation, and Comey told Trump not to take such questions up with him.

Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a friend of James Comey's, also published an account of his conversations with Comey on Thursday. Wittes writes that Comey told him Trump had "asked for loyalty" soon after taking office and been "perceptibly uncomfortable" when Comey offered only honesty.

  • "Ever since, the President had been trying to be chummy in a fashion that Comey felt was designed to absorb him into Trump's world — to make him part of the team."

A wild anecdote: Per Wittes, Comey was hesitant to attend a White House reception in January. When he did go, he wore a dark blue suit and "tried to blend in with the blue curtains in the back of the room." Trump eventually spotted him, and called him over. "Comey said that as he was walking across the room he was determined that there wasn't going to be a hug," and it ended up as a "one-sided" embrace.

"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."Comey also "expressed wariness" over Rod Rosenstein's nomination as Deputy Attorney General, telling Wittes: "Rod is a survivor. So I have some concerns." Wittes surmises that Comey was thinking Rosenstein, who later wrote the memo justifying Comey's ouster, must have been asked for a loyalty pledge.

Go deeper

Obama: The rest of us have to live with the consequences of what Trump's done

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Campaigning for Joe Biden at a car rally in Miami on Saturday, Barack Obama railed against President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying "the rest of us have to live with the consequences of what he's done."

Driving the news: With less than two weeks before the election, the Biden campaign is drawing on the former president's popularity with Democrats to drive turnout and motivate voters.

Murkowski says she'll vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court

Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Saturday that she'll vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday, despite her opposition to the process that's recently transpired.

The big picture: Murkowski's decision leaves Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) as the only Republican expected to vote against Barrett.