Comey calls Trump ‘morally un­fit’

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - By Matt Zapo­to­sky and Devlin Bar­rett

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.

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