Pres­i­dent as­sails Comey over new book

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - NEWS - By Joseph Tan­fani Wash­ing­ton Bureau

WASH­ING­TON — For­mer FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey and the pres­i­dent who fired him lobbed rhetor­i­cal bombs at each other Sun­day, keep­ing up a ver­bal war that has ratch­eted up the ten­sion in the White House even as it has con­trib­uted might­ily to the ad­vance sales of Comey’s new book.

In an in­ter­view broad­cast Sun­day on ABC, Comey de­scribed Trump as ob­sessed with his own rep­u­ta­tion — in­clud­ing al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing Moscow pros­ti­tutes — and un­con­cerned with coun­ter­ing at­tacks from Rus­sia.

He also re­peated his book’s de­scrip­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as “un­teth­ered” to truth­ful­ness and its state­ment that Trump’s White House style re­minded him of the mob: “The boss in com­plete con­trol. The loy­alty oaths. The us-ver­sus-them world­view. The ly­ing about all things, large and small, in ser­vice to some code of loy­alty that put the or­ga­ni­za­tion above moral­ity and above the truth,” he said in the book. Trump, hours be­fore the in­ter­view aired, blasted Comey with a se­ries of tweets at­tack­ing the for­mer FBI chief as a “slime­ball” and “slip­pery” and claim­ing that he “hardly knew this guy.”

“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!” the pres­i­dent tweeted.

He ap­peared to call for Comey’s im­pris­on­ment, declar­ing that Comey’s book, which is sched­uled to be re­leased Tues­day, did not ex­plain why he “gave up Clas­si­fied In­for­ma­tion (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail).” Trump of­fered no ev­i­dence that Comey has com­mit­ted ei­ther of those of­fenses. Comey’s book, “A Higher Loy­alty: Truth, Lies and Lead­er­ship,” of­fers a with­er­ing por­trait of Trump, which he de­scribed dur­ing the hour­long in­ter­view with ABC’s Ge­orge Stephanopou­los.

Comey said that Trump asked him to in­ves­ti­gate and dis­prove al­le­ga­tions con­tained in the so-called dossier — a col­lec­tion of al­le­ga­tions com­piled by a for­mer Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence agent work­ing for Trump’s po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. Trump fo­cused re­peat­edly on an al­le­ga­tion that he had been com­pro­mised by Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence by con­sort­ing with pros­ti­tutes in a Moscow ho­tel in 2013.

“He may want me to in­ves­ti­gate it to prove that it didn’t hap­pen,” Comey said. “And then he says some­thing that dis­tracted me be­cause he said, you know, ‘If there’s even a 1 per­cent chance my wife thinks that’s true, that’s ter­ri­ble.’ ” “And I re­mem­ber think­ing, ‘How could your wife think there’s a 1 per­cent chance you were with pros­ti­tutes pee­ing on each other in Moscow?’ I’m a flawed hu­man be­ing, but there is lit­er­ally zero chance that my wife would think that was true. So, what kind of mar­riage to what kind of man does your wife think (that) there’s only a 99 per­cent chance you didn’t do that?”

By con­trast with Trump, some other Repub­li­cans have tried to stay clear of the de­bate. On Sun­day, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., de­clined to de­fend Comey.

“I don’t know him very well,” Ryan said of Comey on NBC News. “I’m not try­ing to be eva­sive. But what I don’t want to do is — is join some food fight, some book-sell­ing food fight. I don’t see any value in that.”

Ryan said again that he does not see the need for Congress to pass a law pro­tect­ing spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller in case Trump moves to fire him.

The Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee has cre­ated a “Lyin Comey” web­site that promi­nently fea­tures at­tacks on him from Democrats.

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