Comey calls Trump ‘morally unfit’
Former FBI Director James Comey said in his first televised interview since being fired last May that he believes Donald Trump is “morally unfit to be president,” and it is “possible” that the Russians have material that could be used to blackmail him.
In a wide-ranging conversation with George Stephanopoulos broadcast on ABC late Sunday night, Comey took aim at Trump in no uncertain terms, comparing the president’s administration to a mafia family, likening his presidency to a forest fire and asserting there is evidence that he had committed a crime.
Comey said, curiously, 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” — meaning through elections. But he made clear his view of whether Trump was fit to hold the position.”This president does not reflect the values of this country,” Comey said.
The interview airs just days before Comey is set to release a new book and embark on a media tour to promote it. Much of what Comey said to Stephanopoulos mirrors what he wrote, although his televised, extemporaneous comments are sure to attract the attention of the president, who is an avid TV viewer.
On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted criticism of Comey, denying some of Comey’s allegations and alleging that Comeyrevealed classified information and lied to Congress.
“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!” Trump wrote.
The Washington Post was allowed to review a complete transcript of the Comey interview, which lasted nearly five hours.
As he did in his book, Comey detailed in the interview Trump’s fixation on unproven allegations that he watched prostitutes urinate on one another in a Moscow hotel in 2013, asserting 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.
Comey said that struck him as odd. “I remember thinking, ‘How could your wife think there’s a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow?’” he said, adding that his assessment was that it is possible Trump is guilty of the accusation.
“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,” Comey said. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
Comey said it was possible, too, that the Russians might have material that could be used to blackmail Trump.