In his first media interview since being fired in May 2017, former FBI director James Comey said he believes President Trump is “morally unfit” to be president.
“I think he’s morally unfit to be president,” Comey said in the interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s 20/20.
Comey also described his conversation with Mr. Trump at Trump Tower regarding the allegations in the unverified dossier authored by former British spy Christopher Steele.
“I mean, I don’t know whether it was weird for President-elect Trump, but I– it was almost an out-of-body experience for me,” Comey said of his meeting with then-president-elect Trump. “I was floating above myself, looking down, saying, ‘You’re sitting here, briefing the incoming president of the United States about prostitutes in Moscow.'”
Comey’s interview comes ahead of the publication of his book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership”– a titled he says was influenced by his conversation with Mr. Trump.
When asked if Mr. Trump has obstructed justice, Comey said “possibly.” He continued: “I mean, it’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice. It would depend and — and I’m just a witness in this case, not the investigator or prosecutor, it would depend upon other things that reflected on his intent,” he said.
Mr. Trump invited Comey to dine with him at the White House in January 2017.
Over the meal, which Comey described as “a constant series of assertions” from the president about his own character, Comey says he was asked to take a pledge of loyalty to the president.
“He said, again, ‘I need loyalty.’ And I said, ‘You will always get honesty from me,'” Comey recalled telling Mr. Trump. “And he paused and then he said, ‘Honest loyalty,’ as if he was proposing some compromise or a deal. And I paused and said, ‘You’ll get that from me.'”
The president fired Comey as head of the FBI on May 9, 2017. The firing ultimately led to the appointment of Robert Mueller to direct a special counsel inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
In the upcoming book, which will be published Tuesday, Comey characterizes Mr. Trump’s leadership as “ego driven and about personal loyalty.” He criticizes Mr. Trump as “unethical, and untethered to truth” and compares him to a mob boss. CBS News has seen an early copy of the book.
Comey also revealed histhat Hillary Clinton was going to win the election. This assumption, Comey says, influenced his decision to send a letter to Congress in October, just before the election, in which he revealed that new emails had surfaced that “appear to be pertinent” to the FBI’s closed investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server.
This disclosure is seen as a factor in Clinton’s loss.
“It must have been,” Comey told Stephanopoulos. “I don’t remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been. Because I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. And so I’m sure that it was a factor. Like I said, 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.”
Despite this, Comey told Stephanopoulos that he does not regret sending the letter.
Just ahead of Comey’s interview, Mr. Trump fired off aSunday morning labeling Comey a “slimeball” and “WORST FBI Director in history, by far,” while the president also said he “hardly even knew this guy.” The rant was five tweets and spanned slightly longer than an hour:
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