Trump un­loads on Comey ahead of for­mer FBI di­rec­tor’s in­ter­view

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - CATHER­INE LUCEY

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took to Twit­ter on Sun­day to un­load on James Comey over his forth­com­ing mem­oir, call­ing him “slip­pery,” sug­gest­ing he should be in jail and la­bel­ing him “the WORST FBI Di­rec­tor in his­tory, by far!”

Trump fired off a se­ries of tweets ahead of Comey’s first in­ter­view on the book, which of­fers his version of the events sur­round­ing his fir­ing as FBI di­rec­tor by Trump and the in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sian elec­tion med­dling and Hil­lary Clin­ton’s email prac­tices.

On Sun­day, be­fore the ABC in­ter­view aired, Comey tweeted that his book draws on sto­ries from his life and from lessons he has learned from oth­ers.

“3 pres­i­dents are in my book:

2 help il­lus­trate the val­ues at the heart of eth­i­cal lead­er­ship;

1 serves as a coun­ter­point,” he wrote. “I hope folks read the whole thing and find it use­ful.”

In an ex­cerpt shown Satur­day, Comey said his be­lief that Clin­ton would beat Trump in the

2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was a fac­tor in his de­ci­sion to dis­close the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her emails. Trump seized on that, say­ing Comey “was mak­ing de­ci­sions based on the fact that he thought she was go­ing to win, and he wanted a job. Slime­ball!”

Comey’s dis­clo­sure shortly be­fore the elec­tion that the FBI had re­opened its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her email use en­raged Democrats. Af­ter Clin­ton’s loss, many Democrats blamed Comey, and Clin­ton her­self has said it hurt her elec­tion prospects.

Trump on Sun­day pushed back again against Comey’s claims that Trump sought his loy­alty, say­ing, “I hardly even knew this guy. Just an­other of his many lies.” He ques­tioned Comey’s in­tel­li­gence and place in his­tory, writ­ing, “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!”

He also sug­gested Comey should be im­pris­oned, say­ing, “how come he gave up Clas­si­fied In­for­ma­tion (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail).” There is no in­di­ca­tion Comey is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for do­ing ei­ther.

Asked if the pres­i­dent wanted the Jus­tice De­part­ment to in­ves­ti­gate Comey, White House spokes­woman Sarah Huck­abee

San­ders said Sun­day on ABC’s “This Week” that she was not aware of a spe­cific re­quest. But, she said, “if they feel there was any wrong­do­ing, they should cer­tainly look into that just as they do on a num­ber of other top­ics.”

Comey is em­bark­ing on a pub­lic roll­out of his book, “A Higher Loy­alty,” which comes out Tues­day. In the book, Comey com­pares Trump to a mafia don and calls his lead­er­ship of the coun­try “ego driven and about per­sonal loy­alty.”

For­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Loretta Lynch pushed back against Comey’s crit­i­cism in the book that, early in the Clin­ton email in­quiry, she had in­structed him to re­fer to it as a “mat­ter” rather than an “in­ves­ti­ga­tion.” In a state­ment to The As­so­ci­ated Press on Sun­day, Lynch said she was sim­ply fol­low­ing long­stand­ing Jus­tice De­part­ment pro­to­col against con­firm­ing or deny­ing the ex­is­tence of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. She also said that Comey never raised any con­cerns with her re­gard­ing the email in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Trump fired Comey in May 2017, set­ting off a scram­ble at the Jus­tice De­part­ment that led to the ap­point­ment of Robert Mueller as spe­cial coun­sel over­see­ing the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Mueller’s probe has ex­panded to in­clude whether Trump ob­structed jus­tice by fir­ing Comey.

Trump has said he fired Comey be­cause of his han­dling of the FBI’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Clin­ton’s email prac­tices. Trump used the in­ves­ti­ga­tion as a cud­gel in the cam­paign and re­peat­edly said Clin­ton should be jailed for us­ing a per­sonal email sys­tem while serv­ing as sec­re­tary of state. Democrats, on the other hand, have ac­cused Comey of politi­ciz­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In the in­ter­view ex­cerpt re­leased Satur­day, Comey said he did not re­mem­ber “con­sciously think­ing” about the elec­tion re­sults as he de­cided to dis­close that the FBI had re­opened its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into can­di­date Clin­ton’s email use. But, he ac­knowl­edged, “I was op­er­at­ing in a world where Hil­lary Clin­ton was go­ing to beat Don­ald Trump, and so I’m sure that it was a fac­tor.”

He added: “I don’t re­mem­ber spell­ing it out, but it had to have been that she’s go­ing to be elected pres­i­dent and if I hide this from the Amer­i­can peo­ple, she’ll be il­le­git­i­mate the mo­ment she’s elected, the mo­ment this comes out.”

The Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee has helped with the push­back ef­fort against Comey for his book by launch­ing a web­site and sup­ply­ing sur­ro­gates with talk­ing points that ques­tion his cred­i­bil­ity.

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