Donald Trump was fixated on the allegation that he paid prostitutes to urinate on a bed in a Moscow hotel, according to formerly secret memos authored by then-FBI Director James Comey that were made public last week. In one of the memos, written immediately following a meeting on January 28, 2017, Comey recounted that Trump offered him an alibi for the so-called "pee tape" story, claiming that he never stayed in the Moscow hotel in 2013. Instead he said he was simply flying in to attend the Miss Universe pageant from the United States and flying back in a single day.
But according to a new report by Bloomberg News based on flight records and public social media posts, there was a problem with Trump's account to Comey. It was a lie. In fact, the records analyzed by Bloomberg reporter Vernon Silver show Trump arrived in Moscow on the morning of November 8, 2013. He did not leave until the early morning hours of November 10, according to the records from the flight-tracking service FlightAware that were obtained by Bloomberg.
Trump would have stayed in his hotel room on the night of November 8, and at least part of the night of November 9, though his private jet departed Moscow at 3:58 a.m. local time, the records examined by Bloomberg indicate. Social media accounts analyzed by Silver show that Trump, as he claimed, attended a 1 a.m. party that followed the Miss Universe pageant, meaning that on his second night in Moscow he may have spent very little time in his hotel suite at Moscow's Ritz-Carlton.
But his own personal bodyguard provided an account of Trump's activity on the previous night.
In congressional testimony last November, Keith Schiller — Trump's longtime bodyguard, confidant and aide — said that while Trump was indeed offered the services of five Russian prostitutes that evening by someone whose name the bodyguard claimed not to recall — Schiller scoffed at the offer and accompanied Trump to his hotel room, stood guard briefly outside the door and retired to his own room in the Ritz-Carlton, leaving Trump's possible activities for the rest of the night unaccounted for, according to a CNN report.
"It's possible Trump misremembered the trip, or concocted a false alibi despite being innocent of the accusation," wrote New York Magazine columnist Jonathan Chait, in a piece published on Monday. "A more plausible account of his motives is that he lied because he was covering up his behavior."
The Comey memos containing the ex-FBI director's account of his "pee tape" conversations with Trump may be read online at this link. According to Comey, Trump told him "there were no prostitutes, there never were prostitutes."
Comey also included an account of his conversations with Trump about what Trump called "the golden showers thing" in his recently released book, A Higher Loyalty. In the book, Comey added that Trump said the incident could not have happened because he was "a germaphobe."
"There's no way I would let people pee on each other around me. No way," Trump told him, according to Comey's account in the book.
Watch a video report on the Bloomberg News analysis of Trump's flight records for his Moscow trip, from Bloomberg TV below.
The "pee tape" description of the alleged Moscow incident comes from the allegation in the Christopher Steele dossier that Russian intelligence agents filmed the "golden showers" episode to use against Trump as blackmail material at some later date. That dossier, compiled by Steele, a former British intelligence agent who specialized in Russian affairs, may be read online at this link.