WASHINGTON, U.S. - In his first televised interview since being fired by the U.S. President Donald Trump, the former FBI director James Comey spoke on wide-ranging topics.
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos broadcast on ABC, Comey declared that he believed Donald Trump was “morally unfit to be president.”
Clarifying his position on whether Trump was fit to hold the position, Comey said, “This president does not reflect the values of this country.”
Comey compared his administration to a mafia family and likened his presidency to a forest fire.
He even said that it was “possible” that the Russians had material that could be used to blackmail the President.
During his conversation, the former FBI boss asserted that there was evidence that Trump had committed a crime.
Comey said that he would not favor impeaching Trump to remove him from office, because that “would let the American people off the hook and have something happen indirectly that I believe they’re duty-bound to do directly (through elections).”
Comey’s interview took place just days before his book is set to release and he is set to embark on a media tour to promote it.
In the nearly five hours long interview, Comey even detailed Trump’s fixation on unproven allegations that he watched prostitutes urinate on one another in a Moscow hotel in 2013.
He asserted that Trump at one point said he was contemplating ordering Comey to investigate and disprove the incident because he did not want “even a 1 percent chance” that his wife, first lady Melania Trump, would believe it happened.
This, the former FBI directly said struck him as odd.
He explained, “I remember thinking, ‘How could your wife think there’s a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow?’” adding that his assessment was it’s possible Trump is guilty of the accusation.
Comey said, “I honestly never thought 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. It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
Comey added that it was possible, too, that the Russians might have material that could be used to blackmail Trump.
He also described several conversations he had with Trump, telling Stephanopoulos of how the president asked for his loyalty.
He explained how that interaction and others reminded him of his time as a prosecutor in New York pursuing mob families, for whom loyalty to the boss and the organization were the only values that mattered.
Comey said, “It’s the family, the family, the family, the family.”
However, even when Comey made the accusation first, Trump had denied asking for Comey’s loyalty.
He then described a controversial conversation with Trump on February 14, 2017.
During this conversation, Comey maintains the president said of an investigation the FBI was conducting into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, “I hope you can let it go.”
Trump has disputed even this account.
Comey however, continued that Trump had “possibly” obstructed justice.
He said, “I mean, it’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice. That something really important just happened and that I was a little — another one of those outta-body experiences, like, ‘Really? The president just kicked out the attorney general to ask me to drop a criminal investigation.’ Wow, the world continues to go crazy.”
Later, Comey took aim at Trump’s personal appearance, remarking how his “tie was too long, as it always is” and that his face “looked slightly orange up close with small white — half-moons under his eyes, which I assume are from tanning goggles.”
Further revealing that he had grave misgivings about the Trump presidency even before it began, Comey said that during a meeting with President Barack Obama in the last days of his administration, he told the president, “I dread the next four years. But in many ways, I feel great pressure to stay to try and protect the institution I lead.”
Comey did not just speak about Trump in his interview, he also took aim at others, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and said that Rosenstein had “acted dishonorably,” in authoring a memo lambasting Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
In one of the first and conflicted reasons for Comey’s removal, Trump cited the memo, and Comey said he came to believe Rosenstein was “part of the family now. I can’t trust him.”
Later, however, he said that he did not believe Rosenstein would fire special counsel Robert Mueller if ordered by Trump to do so.
Comey said that Rosenstein “has an opportunity in overseeing Bob Mueller to restore some of his professional reputation.”
Trump meanwhile started his Sunday morning tweeting criticism of Comey and denying some of Comey’s allegations.
Trump alleged that Comey revealed classified information and lied to Congress and wrote, “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!”