Former FBI director James Comey has stated Donald Trump is “morally unfit to be president” and treats girls like “pieces of meat”.
Mr Comey used to be giving his first main tv interview since he used to be fired by means of President Trump closing 12 months.
He advised ABC News that Mr Trump lies continuously and could have obstructed justice.
Hours sooner than the interview aired, the president went at the offensive, accusing Mr Comey of “many lies”.
Mr Comey advised ABC’s 20/20 programme on Sunday evening: “I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia.”
“I don’t believe he is medically unfit to be president. I believe he is morally unfit to be president.
“Our president will have to embrace admire and cling to the values which can be on the core of this nation. The maximum necessary being reality. This president isn’t in a position to do this,” Mr Comey stated.
After the interview aired, Mr Trump’s birthday party – by means of the Republican National Committee – launched a remark announcing Mr Comey’s exposure excursion for his new ebook confirmed “his true upper loyalty is to himself”.
“The only thing worse than Comey’s history of misconduct is his willingness to say anything to sell books,” it stated.
How did we get right here?
It is the newest construction in a long-standing feud between the 2 males, additional fuelled by means of the approaching e-newsletter of Mr Comey’s memoir A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.
The ex-FBI chief is on a exposure blitz for the ebook.
President Trump has stated the “badly reviewed book” raises “big questions”. He additionally urged Mr Comey will have to be imprisoned, and in contemporary days started referring to him as a “slime ball”.
The tale dates again to the 2016 presidential election, when Mr Comey used to be FBI director, and the investigation into Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton’s dealing with of categorised emails on a personal server whilst Secretary of State.
In July 2016, he stated that she were “extremely careless” in her dealing with of the emails, however the FBI would now not press fees.
However, in October, days sooner than the vote, he despatched a letter to Congress telling them the FBI used to be reopening an investigation after discovering extra emails. The letter went public – and Mrs Clinton says it handed Donald Trump the election.
On 6 November, the FBI stated it had finished its evaluate into the brand new trove of emails and there would, once more, be no fees.
Once Mr Trump changed into president, Mr Comey says he attempted to extract a pledge of private loyalty from him – one thing the president fiercely denies.
In March 2017, when alleged hyperlinks between Mr Trump’s marketing campaign and Russia had been being investigated by means of the FBI, Mr Trump allegedly harassed Mr Comey to publicly claim that the president used to be now not individually being investigated – one thing the then director says he declined to do.
Some Democrats blamed Mr Comey for costing Mrs Clinton the election, whilst Trump supporters felt he used to be focused on the president with the Russia investigation.
Before revealing the brand new Clinton investigation, one body of workers member requested Mr Comey: “Should you consider that what you’re about do to may help elect Donald Trump president?”
Mr Comey stated he replied: “Down that path lies the death of the FBI as an independent force.”
On the Clinton probe extra normally, he stated: “The FBI drove this investigation and we did it in a competent and independent way. I would bet my life on that.”
He used to be fired by means of President Trump in May and came upon about his dismissal by means of gazing TV information.
Is there proof of obstruction of justice?
ABC News has released a full 42,000-word transcript of the interview between Mr Comey and chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.
A piece of the interview offers with the sacking of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on 13 February 2017 for mendacity about contacts with the Russian ambassador.
An afternoon later, Mr Comey is sitting within the Oval Office with Mr Trump by myself – the vice-president and the attorney-general were requested to depart.
The former FBI head asserts within the interview that Mr Trump attempted to power him into losing any investigation into Mr Flynn.
“I took it as a direction,” he advised Mr Stephanopoulos. “He’s – his words were, though, ‘I hope you can let it go’.”
Mr Comey says he let the remark cross, however concedes he will have to most likely have urged to the president that it could quantity to obstruction of justice.
“It’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice. It would depend – and I’m just a witness in this case, not the investigator or prosecutor, it would depend upon other things that reflected on his intent.”
Mr Trump strongly denies Mr Comey’s account.
Getting out alive?
Analysis by means of the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher
James Comey thinks Donald Trump is a serial liar who degrades girls and is “morally unfit” to be president.
He says it is “possible” however “unlikely” that Russia has compromised the president, and that he could have obstructed the collusion investigation.
He additionally believes the American folks cannot do anything else about it till the November 2020 presidential election.
That’s simply one of the crucial contradictions that emerged in Mr Comey’s interview. He stated he strove to make non-political selections in regards to the extremely political 2016 investigations into Hillary Clinton and the Trump marketing campaign. He spoke of integrity and honour, however confessed that he won’t have had the “guts” to confront the president.
The former director gave a fancy interview reflecting a person challenged to draw which means from his position on the centre of the most important political tales of an entire life. It made for gripping tv. Now Trump loyalists will pick out aside his remarks and go back fireplace.
“Nobody gets out alive,” Mr Comey quipped within the early days of the Clinton investigation.
It wasn’t actually a comic story then. And it definitely is not now.
What else did Mr Comey say?
In the primetime TV interview, Mr Comey urged that the president had surrounded himself with folks unswerving to him – he in comparison Mr Trump to mob bosses he had investigated as a prosecutor.
“The loyalty oaths, the boss as the dominant centre of everything, it’s all about how do you serve the boss, what’s in the boss’ interests,” he stated.
Asked if the ones across the president had been “enabling bad behaviour”, Mr Comey stated: “The challenge of this president is that he will stain everyone around him.”
Mr Comey, alternatively, stated he didn’t imagine President Trump will have to be impeached.
“I hope not because I think impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook,” he stated.
Instead, he stated, it used to be one thing the American folks had been “duty-bound to do directly” on the vote casting sales space.
During the intensive interview, Mr Comey additionally stated:
- “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”
- Talking about himself in reference to the Clinton investigation, Mr Comey described himself as “a deeply flawed human surrounded by other flawed humans trying to make decisions with an eye, not on politics, but on those higher values”
- Readers of his ebook “may still walk out of this thinking I’m an idiot, but I’m an honest idiot”