This year, James Comey found himself in the uncomfortable spot many of us have found ourselves. His new boss was asking him to do things that seemed wrong and could lead to trouble down the road.
"A combination of things - the circumstances, the subject matter, and the person I was interacting with" drove Comey to start writing a memo directly after talking with the President. He would write down verbatim every word he could recall. Sometimes, that meant leaving Trump Tower and going out directly to his car to start writing.
"I knew there might come a day when I would need a record of what happened," Comey testified.
As Comey surmised, eventually it came down to his word against the President's. But Comey at least had his written record to fall back on.
"You wrote down the words so we can all have the words in front of us now," Senator James Risch (R-Idaho) said appreciatively. "You put this in quotes - words matter."
It is a lesson that everyone should learn. If you are ever in a situation where you think there is even an outside chance that eventually you might have to prove your word against someone else's - write it down.
Write it as soon after it happened as you can, and as fully as you can recall. Date it, and send it off to yourself in an email so you can prove the date.
Comey also protected himself by discussing his situation and what was said with other people. This is also smart. Then people can testify that they knew you were troubled by what was going on, and that you had related the words that were said.
Memos such as these can be absolutely critical if you ever need to prove your own word against someone else's.
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