Bid­ding war set as Comey prom­ises tell-all au­to­bi­og­ra­phy

The Southland Times - - WORLD -

UNITED STATES: Pub­lish­ing houses will do bat­tle this week for a hotly an­tic­i­pated de­but work from an au­thor with lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence in the lit­er­ary trade but a track record of stir­ring the en­tire na­tion into fits of out­rage and amaze­ment.

James Comey, the for­mer director of the FBI who was fired by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in May and coun­ter­at­tacked with grip­ping tes­ti­mony be­fore the Se­nate, has be­gun work­ing on a book about his life, ‘‘in­clud­ing his re­cent ex­pe­ri­ences with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’’, one of his new lit­er­ary agents, Matt La­timer, said.

His dis­missal led to talk of ob­struc­tion of justice - an im­peach­able of­fence - that grew louder af­ter the pres­i­dent ac­knowl­edged that the sack­ing was prompted by the FBI’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling in the elec­tion and pos­si­ble col­lu­sion by the Trump cam­paign.

Comey then leaked notes from a meet­ing in which he said that the pres­i­dent had urged him to drop an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Mike Flynn, a re­tired gen­eral who was forced to re­sign as Trump’s na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser af­ter it emerged that he had lied about tele­phone calls he made to the Rus­sian am­bas­sador be­fore the in­au­gu­ra­tion.

Comey’s sub­se­quent tes­ti­mony be­fore the Se­nate in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee was packed with po­lit­i­cal drama and drew the at­ten­tion of pub­lish­ers and Hol­ly­wood ex­ec­u­tives who were imag­in­ing how his story might play be­fore an even larger au­di­ence. Comey, 203cm tall and hand­some, was com­pared to Jimmy Ste­wart and John Wayne. ’’You are big, you are strong,’’ Sen­a­tor Dianne Fe­in­stein told him dur­ing the hear­ing. ‘‘Why didn’t you stop and say, ‘Mr Pres­i­dent, this is wrong?’’’

‘‘That’s a great ques­tion,’’ he replied. ‘‘Maybe if I was stronger I would have. I was so stunned by the con­ver­sa­tion ... I was play­ing in my mind what my re­sponse should be.’’

He threw in a ref­er­ence to English history. He said that Trump speak­ing of Gen­eral Flynn and ask­ing him to ‘‘let this go’’ was not an ex­plicit or­der, but put him in mind of the line: ‘‘Will no-one rid me of this med­dle­some priest?’’ quot­ing Henry II’s plea that led to the mur­der of Thomas Becket.

The drama was height­ened by the fact that Comey had been the bete noire of Trump’s elec­tion op­po­nent Hil­lary Clin­ton, af­ter pub­licly an­nounc­ing two weeks be­fore the elec­tion that he was re­open­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her use of a pri­vate email ac­count while she was sec­re­tary of state. Clin­ton later claimed that Comey’s in­ter­ven­tion had lost her the elec­tion.

La­timer and Keith Ur­bahn, of the lit­er­ary agency Javelin, said that Comey’s book would ex­plore his guid­ing prin­ci­ples. ‘‘It’s a book about lead­er­ship and his search for truth, in­formed by lessons and ex­pe­ri­ences he’s had through­out his ca­reer,’’ La­timer said. It is ex­pected to be of­fered to pub­lish­ers in an auc­tion this week. - The Times

James Comey

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