President Donald Trump spent his “executive time” Friday morning trashing former FBI Director James Comey, whom he fired 11 months ago.
Trump took to Twitter to express his disdain with Comey, who has a new book titled “A Higher Loyalty” coming out soon that details his interactions with the current president. In the book, Comey said that Trump demanded loyalty from the director and was obsessed with allegations about sexual improprieties allegedly recorded by the Russians (the so-called “pee tape”).
The president has vehemently denied that such a recording exists or that the incident occurred at all.
Trump used two tweets to strike at Comey's integrity. In the first, he called out Comey for allegedly being a terrible director at the nation’s top law enforcement agency.
“James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR,” Trump wrote. “Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did — until he was, in fact, fired.”
Contrary to Trump's meltdown, it has not been proven that Comey leaked any classified information. In June last year, Comey did release detailed memos of his personal interactions with Trump after being fired from his position, a move which didn’t violate policy or any laws on the books.
The memos were, in fact, Comey’s personal interactions with the president, and not government-related.
“It absolutely is legal for Comey to share his own private reflections that do not consist of closely held national security secrets with the press, whether by passing on the information himself or through a friend,” University of Minnesota Law Professor Heidi Kitrosser explained at the time.
In his second tweet, Trump — who frequently resorts to name-calling others who ruffle his feathers — described the former director as an “untruthful slime ball,” adding, “It was my great honor to fire James Comey!”
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
Trump is making statements that have basis in some small truths yet lack context, making them highly misleading. While many lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats — have been disappointed with Comey’s performance in the past, the timing and manner of Trump firing Comey sounded many alarm bells, including over whether Trump had removed the director in order to stall or possibly hamper an investigation into Russian meddling that was shifting its focus toward the White House.
It is, in fact, possible to believe that Comey wasn’t a great FBI director, and to believe that he was fired improperly — the two are not mutually exclusive.
Trump’s criticisms of Comey also seem half-hearted. His bringing up the supposedly “botched” investigation of Hillary Clinton ignores the fact that Trump decided to keep Comey as FBI director upon assuming office, embracing him just days after the inauguration at a reception honoring law enforcement.
It’s clear that Trump is feeling the heat when it comes to Comey’s new book specifically, and the Russia investigation in general. Both have cast the president in an embarrassing light. Lashing out the way he does on Twitter and in other public statements seems to be Trump’s modus operandi for dealing with issues that get under his skin.
Yet even if he’s blowing off steam, Trump is out of line with his latest social media posts. Comey wasn’t a perfect FBI director — no one, not even Democrats, are asserting as much. But it’s evident that Trump, with his blustering and pathological need to eviscerate those who are critical of his governing style, is the most unpresidential commander-in-chief our nation has had in modern history.
Americans deserve better than all the drama (and potentially criminal behavior) that Trump has brought to the White House.