Excerpts from former FBI Director James Comey’s upcoming memoir, and from an interview Comey gave to ABC News, set off a Sunday-morning tweetstorm of accusations, corrections and annotations from President Trump, including the bizarre assertion that “I hardly even knew this guy.”
In the Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty,” set to be published Tuesday, the former FBI director details numerous meetings, include some one-on-one with Trump, during which Comey claims the president was seeking his loyalty.
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
In testimony to Congress after his firing last year, Comey said he made contemporaneous memos about his conversations with Trump and described them to other top FBI officials.
In the book, Comey tries to explain his rationale for his controversial announcement, just before the election, that the FBI had reopened its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
Comey told ABC he assumed Clinton would win and didn’t want her legitimacy tainted if the investigation came out after the election.
“Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!”
But Comey’s decision to reopen the investigation on the eve of the election is what some Clinton supporters, and the candidate herself, believe cost her the presidency. Trump’s interpretation — that Comey was angling for a job in a Clinton administration — seems to make no sense.
Trump also revived criticism of a meeting former President Bill Clinton had with then Attorney General Loretta Lynch in June 2016, while the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails was underway.
“Comey throws AG Lynch ‘under the bus!’” Trump tweeted. “Why can’t we all find out what happened on the tarmac in the back of the plane with Wild Bill and Lynch? Was she promised a Supreme Court seat, or AG, in order to lay off Hillary. No golf and grandkids talk (give us all a break)!”
Trump also weighed in on what he described as “big questions” left unanswered by Comey’s memoir — and suggested Comey ought to be prosecuted.
The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
Comey has never been formally accused of lying to Congress or leaking classified information. He admitted leaking his contemporaneous memos to a New York Times reporter, though they were not thought to have contained any classified material.
The president punctuated his Twitter rant with a new disparaging nickname for his former FBI director.
“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!” the president tweeted.
Comey, who has not responded publicly to Trump’s Twitter barbs, tweeted a vague statement promoting his memoir early Sunday afternoon.
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.
— James Comey (@Comey) April 15, 2018
In the initial excerpts of Comey’s book published late last week, Comey describes Trump as “untethered to the truth,” likens him to a mob boss, and recounts a meeting with the president in which the former FBI director says Trump asked him to investigate salacious allegations from the so-called dossier to disprove the claims to first lady Melania Trump.
“He brought up what he called the ‘golden showers thing’ … adding that it bothered him if there was ‘even a 1 percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true,” Comey writes. “He just rolled on, unprompted, explaining why it couldn’t possibly be true, ending by saying he was thinking of asking me to investigate the allegation to prove it was a lie. I said it was up to him.”
“He said, you know, ‘If there’s even a 1 percent chance my wife thinks that’s true, that’s terrible,‘” Comey told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview that is set to air in full on Sunday night. “And 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 there’s only a 99 percent chance you didn’t do that?”
Stephanopoulos asked Comey whether believed Trump’s denial.
“Honestly, I never thoughts these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” Comey said. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
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