Comey arrange an unparalleled public problem from somebody of his stature to a sitting commander in leader, framing probably the most penetrating critique of Trump’s White House but from an established order determine.
“The foundation of this country is in jeopardy when we stop measuring our leaders against that central value of the truth,” Comey mentioned in an unique interview with ABC News leader anchor George Stephanopoulos.
His indictment got here firstly of a media blitz to advertise his ebook “A Higher Loyalty,” publishing Tuesday — 11 months after he used to be fired. The motion sparked claims the President used to be looking to hinder justice over the Russia probe and resulted in the appointment of a unique suggest.
The former FBI director’s look threw into center of attention questions that will likely be at play over the following 10 days: Which model of occasions will Americans in finding maximum credible — that of the previous FBI director or the person who fired him? Will Comey’s wholesome sense of his personal ego and position in historical past serve to alienate any not sure Americans somewhat than persuade them of his arguments about Trump?
And — in the long run — will there be a political worth to pay for the President?
Another factor is whether or not Comey’s critique concerning the President can penetrate the everlasting hurricane that whirls round Trump and essentially reshape already polarized opinion concerning the President’s conduct.
But it isn’t as though Comey’s view of the President represents a unexpected surprise to the citizens. For instance, his descriptions of a President at risk of mendacity are borne out via the information of the ultimate 15 months. The image he paints of a virtually feudal patriarchy presided over via Trump seems to be validated via the way in which the President casually fires aides on Twitter and undermines his best aides.
Still, maximum criticisms of the President via elites like Comey simply serve to solidify the perspectives of his supporters that he’s being unfairly maligned.
Comey known as for a countrywide second of mirrored image, during which everyone, without reference to partisan perspectives, to judge the President and to believe whether or not he gifts a danger to America itself.
The simplicity of that problem appeared an try to minimize during the chaos, recriminations, wild temper swings and political meltdowns of the ultimate 15 months, during which viewpoint has steadily been the sufferer of the following outrage.
Comey discounted earlier theories via some Trump critics that the President is incapable or now not mentally as much as the process, arguing that what he sees as an ego-driven presidency in keeping with lies, calls for for loyalty from subordinates and calculated deceit isn’t any coincidence.
“He strikes me as a person of above average intelligence who’s tracking conversations and knows what’s going on. I don’t think he’s medically unfit to be president. I think he’s morally unfit to be president,” Comey mentioned.
“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 mentioned.
Comey wired that he used to be now not creating a political level, pronouncing he didn’t care what other people considered sizzling button problems like weapons or immigration.
“There’s something more important than that that should unite all of us, and that is our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country. The most important being truth,” he mentioned. “This president is not able to do that. He is morally unfit to be president.”
Contrast in persona
Comey’s deliberative, forensic way contrasted to the emotional, offended tirades during which his nemesis, Trump, prefers to be in contact used to be on show on some other atypical day within the melodrama of the present presidency.
“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 on Twitter Sunday.
Comey’s interview additionally laid naked probably the most elementary conflict between him and the President. The former FBI director is a person who reveres the establishments of justice and govt. Trump has proven via his conduct and public feedback — for example via bemoaning how he can not keep watch over the Justice Department, that he sees them as signs of a corrupt established order.
Even so, Comey mentioned his most well-liked strategy to the Trump presidency would now not be impeachment, however a rejection via citizens.
“I think impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook and have something happen indirectly that I believe they’re duty bound to do directly,” Comey mentioned. “People in this country need to stand up and go to the voting booth and vote their values.”
The interview didn’t seem to include any important new data related to the questions on the heart of Mueller’s investigation over alleged collusion between Trump’s 2016 marketing campaign and Russia and whether or not the President hinder justice.
But Comey additionally would now not rule out the chance that Trump used to be compromised via a Russian intelligence operation.
“It is stunning and I wish I wasn’t saying it, but it’s just — it’s the truth. I cannot say that. It always struck me and still strikes me as unlikely, and I would have been able to say with high confidence about any other President I dealt with,” Comey mentioned. “But I can’t, it’s possible.”
Holier than thou?
Comey’s ebook, and the media excursion on which he’s embarking, may be highlighting one of the criticisms of his personal persona and behaviour which might be serving to to form the Trump group’s pushback in opposition to him.
While he won’t need to be branded a “slimeball,” as Trump did on Sunday, Comey does chance coming throughout as a disgruntled ex-employee and somebody looking for vengeance for his dismissal. He has a extremely evolved sense of his personal morality and every so often comes throughout as holier than thou.
He may be elevating the query of whether or not he’s additional harmful the FBI’s creed of being apolitical via mounting one of these frontal assault on a sitting President.
The fierce counter-attack via Trump, the White House and the Republican National Committee is much less an try to protect the President’s conduct or dispute Comey’s issues than to lift questions on his integrity and motivation with a purpose to devalue his devastating takedown of Trump.
“James Comey’s publicity tour reaffirms that his true higher loyalty is to himself,” mentioned RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in a remark issued on the finish of the ABC News display on Sunday night time. “The only thing worse than Comey’s history of misconduct is his willingness to say anything to sell books. He has no credibility and President Trump was right to follow through on the bipartisan calls for him to be fired.”
Trump group’s has seized on Comey’s admission that he reopened the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails days ahead of the election as a result of he idea she would win and didn’t need her to be compromised as president via the concept the FBI hid the truth it used to be nonetheless investigating her.
“The guy knew exactly what he was doing. He thought Hillary Clinton would win. And he thought this would give him some cover,” mentioned White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on ABC News “This Week” on Sunday.
“When the person that is supposed to lead the highest law enforcement agency in our country starts making decisions based on political environments instead of on what is right and what is wrong, it’s a really dangerous position,” she mentioned.