Comey calls Trump ‘morally unfit to be president,’ says he wouldn’t have changed handling of Clinton probe
In his first TV interview since being fired by President Trump, former FBI Director James Comey came out swinging, describing Trump as “morally unfit to be president,” and an ego-driven serial liar who treats women like “meat.”
In a wide-ranging interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, part of which aired Sunday night, Comey weighed in on Trump, the salacious – and unverified – Russian dossier, and his reason for going public about the probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server in the final days of the 2016 election.
Clinton – as well as a large number of Democrats – blamed her November defeat on Comey.
“I hope not – but the honest answer is, it wouldn’t have changed the way I think about it,” Comey said. He added he hoped people would read his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” and put themselves in his shoes.
Comey claimed he wasn’t trying to favor one candidate over the other but instead tried to do “the right thing,” though he admitted his decision was influenced by the assumption Clinton would beat Trump in the election.
“I don’t remember spelling it out, but it had to have been, that she’s going to be elected president and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out,” he told Stephanopoulos.
Comey also recounted his initial interactions with Trump over the unverified 35-page Russian dossier that was compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign. The dossier detailed a graphic account of Trump with Russian prostitutes during a 2013 trip to Moscow. Trump has denied the claims.
But in the ABC interview, Comey said that during a private dinner meeting on Jan. 27, 2017, Trump asked him to disprove the allegations.
“He said, you know, ‘If there’s even a 1 percent chance my wife thinks that’s true, that’s terrible.’”
Comey added, “‘I remember thinking, ‘How could your wife think there’s a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow?’ I’m a flawed human being, but there is literally zero chance that my wife would think that was true. So, what kind of marriage to what kind of man does your wife think [that] there’s only a 99 percent chance you didn’t do that?”
Comey said Trump told him, “I may order you to investigate that.”
He claimed he advised the president to “be careful about that because it might create a narrative that we’re investigating you personally, and second, it’s very difficult to prove something didn’t happen.”
Comey’s interview with Stephanopoulos is part of a media blitz designed to promote his book.
In released excerpts, Comey compared Trump to a mafia boss and questioned why the president initially refused to acknowledge Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. He also took aim at Trump’s physical appearance and intelligence. He described Trump a “slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles.”
Ahead of Sunday night’s televised interview, Trump lashed out at the country’s former top cop in a string of tweets. He called Comey a “slimeball,” a liar and denied he had ever asked the former head of the FBI to pledge his loyalty to him.
Trump also tweeted that Comey was the “WORST FBI Director in history, by far!” and referred to him as “a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!).”
The president also suggested Comey should be behind bars and accused him of leaking classified information.
Though he didn’t name Trump directly, Comey fired out a tweet of his own: “My book is about ethical leadership & draws on stories from my life & lessons I learned from others. 3 presidents are in my book: 2 help illustrate the values at the heart of ethical leadership; 1 serves as a counterpoint.”
Comey did not name the three presidents. In 1996, he served as assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia during President Bill Clinton’s administration. In 2002, he was named U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York under President George W. Bush. In that role, he secured high-profile convictions including one against Martha Stewart for securities fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
A decade later, Comey was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed 93-1 by the Senate as FBI director.
Trump fired him on May 9, 2017.
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called Comey’s credibility into question.
“This is nothing more than a poorly executed PR stunt by Comey to desperately rehabilitate his tattered reputation and enrich his own bank account by peddling a book that belongs in the bargain bin of the fiction section,” she said.
“A Higher Loyalty” hits store shelves on Tuesday.