Flight records reveal Donald Trump spent nearly 46 hours in Moscow during the 2013 Miss Universe, despite what former FBI Director James Comey says were his protestations that the ‘Golden Showers’ claim couldn’t be true because he didn’t stay overnight.
According to his now-released memos of his private conversations with Trump, Comey says the president repeatedly denied the salacious claim in the Steele dossier. The president told Comey directly that ‘he hadn’t stayed overnight in Russia during the Miss Universe trip,’ according to the memos.
Trump told Comey he merely used his room at the Moscow Ritz – where President Obama had stayed previously – only to change clothes before the pageant, according to the documents that he penned before turning a copy over to the Justice Department last year.
But flight records unearthed by Bloomberg News indicate that the private jet belonging to Trump business partner Phil Ruffin that with Trump most likely on board departed at 3:58 a.m Moscow time.
I’M OUTTA HERE: President Trump told then-FBI Director James Comey he left Moscow for New York the evening of the Miss Universe pageant, which would mean an event described in the Steele dossier couldn’t have happened
The records indicate Trump was in Moscow for all of 45 hours and 43 minutes.
The departure time was technically Sunday, though in the wee hours. During a private dinner described by Comey in the memos: ‘He said he arrived in the morning, did events, then showered and dressed for the pageant at the hotel’ and ‘departed for New York by plane that same night.’
‘Afterwards, he returned only to get his things because they departed for New York by plane that same night,’ Comey wrote.
As Buzzfeed reported, Trump tweeted about a ‘weekend’ in Moscow in a 2013 Tweet that mentioned Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, whose facility hosted the pageant.
‘@AgalarovAras I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW! ‘
Prior to the pageant, Trump attended the funeral for the Rev. Bill Graham. The, a jet belonging to Trump business partner Phil Ruffin flew from Asheville, North Carolina, arriving in Moscow at 6:15 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 – the day before the pageant.
In this file photo taken on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, Russian businessman Aras Agalarov, left, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler, from Venezuela, center, and pageant owner Donald Trump, of the United States attend the final of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Russia
According to the report, after the pageant on Saturday, Trump attended an after-party scheduled to start at 1 am.
The Comey memos show President Trump repeatedly assuring the former FBI director he has an alibi that disproves a key element in the ‘golden showers’ dossier – although it is contradicted by what Trump’s former bodyguard testified.
According to Comey – who Trump brands a liar and a leaker – the president twice brought up what he called ‘the golden showers thing’ in order to dispute salacious claims in the Steele dossier, calling the rumor a ‘complete fabrication.’
Trump tries to rebut the unproven claim of his conduct in a Moscow hotel room involving prostitutes in 2013 by saying he didn’t even stay in the city over night.
Comey describes the encounter with Trump and former chief of staff Reince Priebus in a Feb. 8, 2017 memo.
‘The President brought up the ‘Golden Showers thing’ and said it really bothered him if his wife had any doubt about it,’ Comey wrote in the memo.
‘He then explained, as he did at our [previous] dinner, that he hadn’t stayed overnight in Russia during the Miss Universe trip. Twice during this part of the conversation. Reince tried to interject a comment about the [redacted] and ‘why it was even in there,’ but the President ignored him.’
‘The President said ‘the hookers thing’ is nonsense but that Putin had told him ‘we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.’ He did not say when Putin had told him this and i don’t recall [redacted],’ Comey writes.
The memo contains no further information on why Putin would make the comment about Russian hookers to Trump, in what context, or when he made the comment.
The dossier by ex British intelligence officer Christopher Steele argues that the Russians engaged in an effort to gain compromising material on Trump.
TIME FOR SOME SHUT-EYE: Former Director of Oval Office operations Keith Schiller testified that he walked Trump back to his hotel room following the Miss Universe pageant, and the two men joked about the rejected offer of prostitutes
Former Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller testified to the House Intelligence Committee Trump turned down a Russian who offered to ‘send five women’ to his hotel room.
Schiller testified the offer came up after a business meeting. But he considered it a joke, saying, ‘We don’t do that type of stuff,’ NBC reported.
Sources told the network Schiller and Trump talked about the offer, which came after a morning meeting, while walking back to his hotel room that evening.
The two men ‘laughed about it as Trump went to bed alone,’ according to the report. Then, Schiller said he stood outside Trump’s hotel door and then went to bed.
The testimony, if accurate, would indicate that Trump spent the night in Moscow rather than immediately flying back to New York.
According to the Washington Post’s account of Schiller’s testimony, a Russian or Ukrainian man unkown to him made the offer after a late-morning meeting about the pageant.
Comey’s now-released memos describe times Trump brought up with him the ‘golden showers thing’
NONSENSE: ‘The President said ‘the hookers thing’ is nonsense but that Putin had told him ‘we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world,’ Comey writes
The memos were released as Comey is promoting his book, ‘A Higher Loyalty,’ which also describes his encounters with President Trump
‘Can you believe one of these guys wanted to send some women up to your room?’ Schiller told Trump on the way to his room that evening.
A lawyer for Emin and Aras Agalarov, who were at the meeting, denied they had any knowledge of the offer. ‘They didn’t do it, they didn’t hear it, and they have no reason to believe it’s true,’ lawyer Scott Balber told the paper.
An earlier Comey memo from January 28, he describes a one-on-one dinner with Trump at the White House where prostitutes also came up.
When Trump brought up the ‘golden showers thing,’ he called it ‘fake news,’ and said it bothered him if ‘his wife thought there was even a one percent chance it was true in any respect.’
Copies of the memos written by former FBI Director James Comey are photographed in Washington, Thursday, April 19, 2018
He told Comey that he spoke to people who had been on the trip and they reminded him that he ‘didn’t stay over night in Russia for that.’
According to Comey: ‘He said he arrived in the morning, did events, then showered and dressed for the pageant at the hotel (he didn’t say the hotel name) departed for New York by plane that same night.’
Interestingly, Putin spoke publicly about Russian prostitutes in his first comments since the publication of the dossier – just days before Trump claims Putin had told him about Russian prostitutes being the most beautiful.
‘I can hardly imagine that he ran off to a hotel to meet our girls of ‘lowered social responsibility’,” Putin joked at a news conference. Then he added: “Although they are of course the best in the world, I doubt Trump fell for that.”
Said Putin: ‘Trump when he came to Moscow … wasn’t any kind of political figure, we didn’t even know of his political ambitions … Does anyone think that our special services chase every American billionaire? Of course not, it’s just completely ridiculous,’ he said, the South China Morning Post reported.
Comey’s memorialized recollections, if accurate, draw attention to Trump repeatedly pushing to contest the dossier, rather than leaving the matter to settle – which itself raises questions.
DEWEY NEED A FEW MORE? The index to Comey’s book lists references to prostitutes, Putin, sexual assault, and Russian election interference
‘The principle of he doth protest too much is the question that comes up immediately in my mind,’ Paul Pillar, a longtime CIA official who is now a fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies.
‘There’s no particular reason for Trump to get so worked up about these things unless there’s some fire behind the smoke. That’s just glaringly obvious,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘The only way you could explain it in some other terms would be, well, Trump is such a narcissist so even false accusations get him upset. I don’t think that’s as likely as that there’s a there there,’ he added.
As for Trump’s statement that Putin made a boast to him about Russian prostitutes, Pillar observed that Putin is an ‘experienced intelligence officer. He would be open to whatever kinds of leverage possibilities, whatever form they would take, whether they involve prostitutes or anything else.’