Friday 17 January 2020

Trump calls Comey 'a slimeball' over book

Former FBI director James Comey testifying before a Senate Intelligence committee hearing on Capitol Hill last June, Photo: Getty Images
Former FBI director James Comey testifying before a Senate Intelligence committee hearing on Capitol Hill last June, Photo: Getty Images

Ben Riley-Smith

US President Donald Trump yesterday called James Comey a "weak and untruthful slimeball" after the former FBI director's new book made a string of damning claims about the US president.

Mr Trump said Mr Comey, who he fired last May, should be prosecuted for leaking while in office, as other White House figures questioned the ex-intelligence official's integrity.

The furious response followed a string of details from Mr Comey's new book, 'A Higher Loyalty', emerging ahead of its publication on Tuesday.

In the book, Mr Trump is depicted as an "unethical" bully who is "untethered to truth" and has little regard for the institutions of US democracy.

James Comey’s book cover. Photo: Reuters
James Comey’s book cover. Photo: Reuters

Mr Comey compares the president to a mob boss, writing: "The silent circle of assent. 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 organisation above morality and above the truth."

He mocks the president's physical appearance, saying his face was "slightly orange with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles".

Mr Comey also jokes about Mr Trump's hand size, recalling: "It was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so."

Elsewhere, Mr Comey describes Mr Trump's fixation on claims he got prostitutes to urinate on each other in Russia - an allegation detailed by Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 agent, which has always been denied.

ABC News released a clip of its interview with Mr Comey, to be broadcast tomorrow, where he says it is "possible" the allegation is true.

In his book, Mr Comey recalls the president saying, "I'm a germaphobe. There's no way I would let people pee on each other around me, no way" and asking if he "seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes".

Mr Comey says Mr Trump discussed the "golden showers thing" four times with him, expressing concern about the impact on Melania, his wife, and wondering if intelligence services could prove it to be untrue.The former FBI director also ruminates on his handling of the Hillary Clinton email scandal, which he announced had been reopened 11 days before the US 2016 election, boosting Mr Trump's campaign.

Mr Comey admits he thought Ms Clinton would win at the time, but defends how he acted, saying Barack Obama reassured him after Mr Trump won that he had acted with "integrity".

The president's response to Russia's election meddling is also questioned.

Mr Comey says when he detailed what the Kremlin had done, Mr Trump begun discussing how to spin the news rather than how to stop such attacks in the future.

Mr Comey also repeated claims that the president asked for him to pledge loyalty at a dinner between the pair, saying he felt Mr Trump wanted to establish a "patronage relationship".

The book, which has been much-anticipated in Washington, triggered a heated response from Mr Trump on Twitter.

He wrote: "James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did - until he was, in fact, fired.

"He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and ... untruthful slimeball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI.

"His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst "botch jobs" of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!"

Kellyanne Conway, a counsellor to the president, described Mr Comey as "self-aggrandising" and a "disgruntled ex-employee", questioning why he did not quit at the time of Mr Trump's alleged behaviour.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump yesterday pardoned Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, a former adviser to former vice-president Dick Cheney, convicted over a scandal about the leaking of a CIA officer's identity.

Commentators noted it was Mr Comey who appointed the special counsel in that case. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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