Former FBI director James Comey appeared on 20/20 on Sunday, discussing his upcoming book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership and providing a candid evaluation of President Donald Trump in an interview with ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.
In one particularly notable exchange, Comey gave what he himself called a “strange” answer when asked if Trump should be impeached. Comey explained that while he does believe that Trump is “morally unfit to be president,” he does not hope for the impeachment of the president.
Pointing to examples such as seeing “moral equivalence in Charlottesville” and treating women “like they’re pieces of meat,” Comey explained that Trump’s inability to “respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country,” most notably the truth, make him unfit to be president “on moral grounds.”
But, he went on, “I think impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook and have something happen indirectly that I believe they’re duty bound to do directly.”
“People in this country need to stand up and go to the voting booth and vote their values,” Comey said.
While the American people clash on issues ranging from guns to taxes, what Comey sees as Trump’s lapses in character and integrity are an affront members of all political parties, he said.
“You cannot have, as president of the United States, someone who does not reflect the values that I believe Republicans treasure and Democrats treasure and Independents treasure,” he said
Impeachment would “short circuit” the American people’s ability to express their own views and values. Instead, Comey argued that “as a citizen, I think we owe it to each other to get off the couch and think about what unites us.”
Trump, meanwhile, spent the weekend trashing Comey on Twitter, referring to him as “slippery” and “a slime ball.” The White House has called the former FBI director, whom Trump fired in May, “a liar and a leaker” who will “be forever known as a disgraced partisan hack.”