James Comey says President Trump is “morally unfit to be President” and “possibly” obstructed justice in the Russia investigation.
Comey, in a television interview with ABC News that aired Sunday night, ahead of his high-profile book release, ratcheted up his war of words with the commander-in-chief, attacking Trump, who fired him, on everything from the polarizing Russia probe to the quality of his hair.
Comey trod some old ground, telling anchor George Stephanopoulos about a series of awkward meetings with Trump, including one White House dinner in which the President allegedly asked him for a pledge of loyalty, and another encounter in which the President allegedly asked him to back away from an investigation of a top aide.
Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
Then, after nearly a year of reflection since his abrupt firing, Comey scorched some new ground.
“I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or in the early stages of dementia,” Comey said. “He strikes me as a person of above-average intelligence who’s tracking conversations and knows what’s going on. I don’t think he’s medically unfit to be President. I think he’s morally unfit to be President.
“A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be President of the United States, on moral grounds.”
Comey said the issue goes beyond politics and Americans’ views on guns and taxes.
“There’s something more important than that that should unite all of us,” he said. “And that is our President must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country. The most important being truth. This President is not able to do that. He is morally unfit to be President.”
Comey, in a preview of his book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” which is being released Monday, revealed that his wife and daughter participated in the Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration.
The former FBI director also said that despite his infamous role in the outcome of the 2016 election — Comey announced an 11th-hour followup investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails — he didn’t even vote.
“I’m trying to be outside of politics, so I intentionally tried not to follow it a lot,” he said. “I shouldn’t be choosing between the candidates.”
Comey also scoffed at the Republican notion that the Russia probe, which began during the election, started with the infamous Steele dossier.
He said the investigation was triggered by information that Trump campaign foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos was meeting with Russian operatives to get dirt on Clinton.
Still, the dossier gave Comey pause.
“I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth,” Comey said. “But I don’t know whether the current President of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013. It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
What was also possible, Comey said, was that Trump may have been obstructing justice when he allegedly asked the FBI director to back off his investigation of Michael Flynn, Trump’s then-national security adviser.
“Was President Trump obstructing justice?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Possibly,” Comey said. “I mean, it’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice.”
Trump fired Comey on May 9, and in a meeting with the Russian foreign minister in the Oval Office the next day, called the ex-FBI head “a nut job.” Stephanopoulos asked Comey for his reaction.
” ‘Wow’ was my reaction. First of all, what are the Russians doing in the Oval Office?” Comey replied. “One, as a counterintelligence person I’m thinking, ‘That’s crazy’ — without any Americans being present, one. And, two, it — the pretense is melting away, the bit about, ‘You were fired because of how you handled the email investigation,’ is melting away. ‘You were fired because of the Russia investigation.’ That’s the substance of what I heard those words as.”
Trump, before the interview aired, launched a series of preemptive strikes at Comey, calling him “slippery” and “a slimeball,” while denying that he ever asked Comey for his loyalty.
“I hardly even knew this guy,” Trump tweeted ahead of the program. “Just another of his many lies. His ‘memos’ are self-serving and FAKE!”
I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His “memos” are self serving and FAKE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
Comey did manage a compliment of sorts, as he recalled their first meeting.
“He had impressively coiffed hair,” Comey said. “It looks to be all his. I confess, I stared at it pretty closely and my reaction was, ‘It must take a heck of a lot of time in the morning, but it’s impressively coiffed.'”
Comey was not so impressed with the rest of the package.
“His tie was too long, as it always is,” he said. “He looked slightly orange up close with small white half-moons under his eyes, which I assume are from tanning goggles. And otherwise looked as I had expected him to look, as I thought he looked on television.”
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