Former FBI Director James Comey on June 8, 2017 in Washington
Former FBI Director James Comey, fired in May by Donald Trump, lashed out in an interview with the US president on Sunday, saying he was „morally incapacitated“ to run the country.
Comey’s sayings are the latest episode of a war of words he has with Trump, who earlier in a series of tweets called the former FBI „rogue“ director and suggested he should be in jail.
The interview of Comey with the American chain ABC was issued as a prelude to the publication on Tuesday of the memoirs of the former official, „A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership“ (A greater loyalty: truth, lies and leadership), in which describes his interactions with the Republican president.
„I do not think he is medically incapacitated to be president, I think he is morally incapacitated to be president,“ said Comey de Trump, in his first televised interview after being fired in May 2017.
Trump abruptly dismissed Comey, dissatisfied with the investigation of a possible conspiracy of his election campaign in 2016 with Moscow to harm his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
The former federal official also highlighted in the interview how Trump „talks about women and treats them like pieces of meat,“ and said the president „constantly lies about big and small issues.“
Comey said that serving Trump’s government involves a serious ethical dilemma. „The challenge with this president is that he will be a stain for everyone around him,“ he said on ABC.
„And the question is when a spot is too big and how much does the stain eventually make you unable to achieve your goal of protecting and serving your country?“ He said.
– Compelling material? –
In his book, Comey describes Trump as a dishonest and self-centered mafia boss and says the president asked the then head of the FBI for his personal loyalty.
„I never asked for personal loyalty to Comey, I did not even know this guy, it’s just another of his many lies, his ‚memos‘ are self-service and FALSE!“, The agent sent on Twitter before the interview was broadcast.
Two archive photos show former FBI Director James Comey (I) in Washington, on March 20, 2017; and to the president of the United States, Donald Trump, in Washington, on June 6, 2017.
The president also said that Comey „stupidly“ handled an investigation into Trump’s rival in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton, which focused on the Democrat’s use of a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state.
In another tweet, Trump referred directly to the editorial launch: „The big questions are not answered in Comey’s book, such as how he delivered classified information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail)?“, Among others.
In the interview, Comey said he was not sure if the Russians had compromising material or not that could be used to extort Trump, relative to his conduct prior to the election or his campaign actions.
„I think it’s possible, I do not know,“ he replied.
– Possible obstruction –
Comey also said the president could have obstructed justice when he asked him to drop an investigation on his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
„There is certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice,“ said Comey. „It will depend on other things that occurred as a result of his attempt.“
Trump and his associates have faced Comey’s accusations in the media attacking his handling of the investigation into Clinton’s emails.
Comey acknowledged in the interview on Sunday that his conviction that Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election influenced his way of handling research about her.
The former head of the FBI says that her decision to announce the reopening of the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state – only eleven days before the election – aimed at guaranteeing the legitimacy of the choice.
„I do not remember thinking about it consciously, but it must have been like that, because I worked in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump, so I’m sure that was a factor,“ said Comey.
Clinton has said that she considers that Comey’s announcement of the reopening of the investigation on her had an impact on her defeat.
Meanwhile, Trump wrote about that episode: „He made decisions thinking that she was going to win, and wanted a job.
In his book, Comey also points out that he respects the classified nature of the investigation of special prosecutor Robert Mueller in the search for answers about the possible collusion of Trump’s electoral team with the Russians and the possible obstruction of justice by the president.