Former FBI Director James Comey sat down with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos for his first televised interview since he was abruptly fired by President Donald Trump in May 2017 — and boy, he did not hold back.
The 57-year-old, who is all set to release his memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” called the commander-in-chief “morally unfit,” said it was “possible” Russia had some blackmail-worthy material on Trump and suggested the president’s request to shut down the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn amounted to obstruction of justice.
The much-hyped interview did not solely focus on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia investigation and the possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Kremlin operatives, but also touched on other issues plaguing the chaotic administration.
Here’s are some explosive revelations from the ABC interview:
1. Comey Called Trump “Morally Unfit”
“I don't buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia,” Comey said. “He strikes me as a person of above average intelligence who's tracking conversations and knows what's going on. I don't think he's medically unfit to be president. I think he's morally unfit to be president.”
2. He Said Trump Treats Women Like “Piece Of Meat”
“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,” he continued.
3. He Suggested Trump Was A Liar
“There's something more important than that that should unite all of us, and that is our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country,” Comey told Stephanopoulos. “The most important being truth. This president is not able to do that. He is morally unfit to be president.”
4. He Described Trump As A “Stain” On Everyone Around Him
“The challenge of this president is that he will stain everyone around him. And the question is, how much stain is too much stain and how much stain eventually makes you unable to accomplish your goal of protecting the country and serving the country?” the former FBI chief said. “So I don't know. And it would be hard for anybody to answer that. But everyone's gotta answer that individually.”
5. Comey Thinks Trump Tried To Obstruct Justice
According to the former FBI director, the president’s plea to drop the Flynn probe while he was alone with Comey in the Oval Office hinted there was some obstruction of justice.
“He started explaining to me that Flynn was a good guy and that he had to be let go 'cause he was… had lied to the vice president and he said he had other concerns about him, which he didn't in that meeting spell out,” Comey recalled.
The meeting, which was first reported by The New York Times in May 2017, took place not long after Trump took office. At the time, Flynn was being investigated for lying to federal officials about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak discussing U.S. sanctions, so Trump reportedly asked Comey to stop it.
“In the moment I should’ve — you know, another person would have said, ‘Sir, you can't ask me that. That's a criminal investigation. That could be obstruction of justice,’” Comey told Stephanopoulos. “Again, it's one of these deals where I'm so — even though I knew something important was going to happen, it didn't occur to me he was going to ask me to drop a criminal investigation. And so a little bit of it is the shock of it, and part of it is just from the environment I think I had a good gut sense that he knows what he's doing.”
However, Flynn soon became the Trump administration’s first casualty after he was fired for allegedly lying to Vice President Mike Pence about the said phone calls.
6. Comey Defended His Handling Of Clinton Email Scandal
The former intelligence chief said he was aware the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server was going to be a “no-win situation.” However, when Stephanopoulos asked about his decision to reopen the email investigation days before the election, Comey defended it.
“Down that path lies the death of the FBI as an independent force in American life. If I ever start considering whose political fortunes will be affected by a decision, we're done. We're just another player ... in the tribal battle,” he explained.
Although he didn’t vote in the 2016 election, he said his family supported Clinton.
“I'm pretty sure that at least my four daughters, probably all five of my kids, wanted Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president. I know my amazing spouse did. My wife and girls marched in the Women's March the day after President Trump's inauguration,” he revealed. “There was a lot of passion in this house for Hillary Clinton. And I get that. But again, I hope it illustrates to people that I really wasn't making decisions based on political fortunes.”
7. Comey Went To Extreme Measures To Hide From Trump
“I’m 6’8?. And then I — I look and right next to me is this blue curtain,” he recalled. “And I’m wearing a blue suit the doesn’t match perfectly, but close enough. So I’m thinking, ‘How great is that? I got a little camouflage.’ And so I start moving over and I pressed myself against the blue curtain, true story.”
8. Comey Thinks Steele Dossier Is ‘Credible’
“Those allegations are at the core of the Steele dossier, and we already knew that was true from totally separate information,” Comey told the ABC host. “And so at its core, it said something that was consistent with what we believed. It was coming from a credible source, someone with a track record, someone who was a credible and respected member of an allied intelligence service during his career. And so it was important that we try to understand it, and see what could we verify, what could we rule in or rule out?”
In his upcoming tell-all book, Comey has written detailed accounts of his short time under the Trump administration — drawing the president’s ire.
James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2018
....untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI. His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst “botch jobs” of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2018
Meanwhile, Comey’s recent interview is taking the social media by storm:
In the full transcript of the interview, Comey called Trump a serial liar and described him as a “stain” on everyone who worked for him.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) April 16, 2018
But it's not just those who worked for him. Trump is a stain on our entire country.
Say what you will about @Comey but the one thing that stands out in this interview, is that this is a man who serves one master - the truth. And his faithfulness is evident even when it makes him look bad personally. That, ladies and gentlemen, is integrity. #ComeyInterview— John Leonori (@Demiurge_33) April 16, 2018
Anyone going after Comey for mocking Trump’s physical appearance can go F themselves. Trump constantly attacks people’s physical appearance so why should this be “beneath” Comey? #ComeyInterview— Greg Shugar (@GregShugar) April 16, 2018
Comey: This President does not reflect the values of America.— Bryce Tache ???? (@brycetache) April 16, 2018
I’m grateful for someone, finally, speaking the truth in simple, clear language.#ComeyInterview
I beg your pardon, Stephanopoulos? Did you just say the 2016 election was between two celebrities? TRUMP = celebrity. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON is an accomplished lawyer, former US senator and former Sec of State. But she is a woman so, you know, none of that counts. #ComeyInterview— Beth Prusaczyk (@BethP_STL) April 16, 2018
Comey: "I was struck by it. I've never seen him laugh. Not in public, not in private."— Kanisha J (@KaniJJackson) April 16, 2018
Trump is obviously a sociopath. He only laughs AT someone#ComeyInterview
Whatever you think of #Comey and the #ComeyInterview, there's no denying we're living through one of the most fraught moments in US history. It's just jaw-dropping when you step back and realize what he's saying.— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) April 16, 2018
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Jonathan Ernst