Fired FBI director James Comey breaks silence in first TV interview

Published: 16 April 2018 Image credit: Reuters

comey

Former FBI Director James Comey has broken his silence in his first interview before the release of his tell-all book, labelling Donald Trump as “morally unfit to be president.”

Mr Comey, who likened the “leadership culture” of the Trump administration to that of a “mob boss,” also said truth was not a “high value” for the 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,” Mr Comey said.

His explosive interview on the US 20/20 program comes after US President Donald Trump went on a pre-emptive Twitter tirade overnight calling James Comey a liar and a “slime ball”.

Mr Trump controversially fired Mr Comey from his position in May last year over his handling of a probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 US Presidential election.

Their war of words comes ahead of the much-anticipated release of Mr Comey’s tell-all book “A Higher Loyalty,” in which he details anecdotes on the last two decades of American government, including the probe into the 2016 Presidential campaign, leading up to his removal as director.

In his interview detailing excerpts from the book, the then-FBI Director claims Mr Trump pressed him for his loyalty during a private meeting in his early days as President.

However, Mr Trump overnight vigorously denied the claim, saying he never asked Mr Comey for “personal loyalty”.

“I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies,” Mr Trump tweeted, adding that he would go down as the “worst FBI Director in history, by far”.

Mr Trump also accused Mr Comey of giving up classified information, lying to congress and not confiscating the Democratic National Committee’s server during the FBI’s probe.

Mr Comey oversaw investigations during the 2016 presidential campaign into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, which his critics claim sabotaged her lead over voters and led to Mr Trump’s victory.

Mr Comey today revealed he knew the probe would present a “no-win” situation for him and said after the November 8 election, he questioned whether the FBI had played a role in Mr Trump’s election.

However he insisted he would have still sent the letter to congress which announced the FBI was re-opening investigations into Mrs Clinton’s email, just days before the election, even if he knew the letter would elect Mr Trump.

Following Mr Trump’s Twitter attack, Mr Comey tweeted: “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. I hope folks read the whole thing and find it useful.”

“A Higher Loyalty” is set to be released on April 17.