Comey speculates Russians may have damaging info on Trump
WASHINGTON — In his scathing appraisal of the man who fired him as FBI chief, James Comey cited “some evidence of obstruction of justice” in President Donald Trump’s actions and speculated that Russians might have dirt on the president. Trump struck back, branding Comey a criminal.
Their war of words escalated Monday after Comey, in an ABC interview broadcast the night before, labelled Trump “morally unfit” for office.
Trump tweeted that Comey drafted an exoneration of Hillary Clinton long before he talked to her as part of an investigation into her email practices. He labelled Comey “disgruntled” and accused him and allies of having “committed many crimes.” For his part, Comey has said that nine or 10 months into the Clinton probe, he had a “clear picture” where it was going and it’s common to draft statements before an investigation is complete.
Comey’s remarks, coupled with the release of his forthcoming book, offer his version of events surrounding his firing and the investigations into Russian election meddling and Clinton’s email practices. Several of the episodes he describes in detail, including a private conversation about former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, are central to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and his recollections are presumably valuable for prosecutors examining whether the president’s actions constitute obstruction of justice.
The ex-FBI director, who until his firing in May led an investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, acknowledged that it was “stunning” to think that Russia could have damaging information about a U.S. president. But he said that in Trump’s case, he could not discount the possibility that the president had been compromised.
“These are more words I never thought I’d utter about a president of the United States, but it’s possible,” Comey told ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos. He also acknowledged he had no proof that Russia has dirt on Trump: “I think it’s possible. I don’t know.”
He also answered “possibly” when asked if the president was attempting to obstruct justice when he cleared the Oval Office of other officials in February 2017 before encouraging him to close the investigation into Flynn, who by that point was suspected of lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts. The retired general pleaded guilty in December and is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.
Comey also said he believed Trump treated women like “pieces of meat.”
“A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it — that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds,” Comey said.