James Comey: 'Trump morally unfit to be president'

In an interview with ABC News, former FBI Director James Comey has said that US President Donald Trump is "morally unfit" to be president. Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway accused Comey of sinking into the "gutter."

Former FBI director James Comey said in an ABC News interview on Sunday that US President Donald Trump was "morally unfit" to be president.

Comey was fired by Trump in May of last year as the FBI was probing possible connections between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia's alleged meddling in the American elections.

The interview was his first major appearance since being removed from office.

Read more: Donald Trump cast as lying 'mafia boss' in James Comey book

Trump has lashed out at Comey and his book, "A Higher Loyalty" on Twitter calling him a "slimeball" and the "WORST FBI Director in history, by far!"

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway slammed former FBI director James Comey on Monday accusing him of having "a revisionist view of history" and seeming like "a disgruntled employee."

The Republican National Committee had already accused Comey of being willing to "say anything to sell books," and that the interview showed "his true higher loyalty is to himself."

Here are the key excerpts:

On Trump's suitability to be president

"I don't buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia. I don't think he's medically unfit to be president. I think he's morally unfit to be president. He is morally unfit to be president.

"Our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country. The most important being truth. This president is not able to do that."

Related Subjects

On obstruction of justice

Comey said he thinks there's "certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice" in the actions of Trump when he asked Comey to end an FBI investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump has denied that conversation, but Comey insisted that it definitely occurred. However, he noted that he's just a witness in the case and not an investigator or prosecutor.

Read more: Yale constitutional scholar: Trump’s justification of firing Comey looks like obstruction of justice

On Russia
Comey said he believes the source of a "dossier" containing raw intelligence on Trump's connections with Russians to be "credible." He said he believed from the outset in the credibility of the source — former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Read more: What you need to know about the five inquiries looking into Donald Trump, James Comey and Russia

Who is James Comey?

A divisive figure

The seventh in a lineage of FBI directors with law degrees, James Comey has shaped politics in the US as the head of the law enforcement agency. But who is the man behind the headlines? From prosecuting an American celebrity to refusing to sanction the NSA's mass surveillance program, DW explores the contentious life of James Comey.

Who is James Comey?

Taking down a celebrity

Serving as Manhattan's chief federal prosecutor, Comey rose to notoriety in 2002, when he led the prosecution of US celebrity Martha Stewart for securities fraud and obstruction of justice. Stewart, widely known in the US for her cooking and lifestyle shows, served a 5-month jail sentence following the highly-publicized case.

Who is James Comey?

Enhanced interrogation

In late 2003, Comey was confirmed as the US deputy attorney general, making him the second-highest-ranking official in the Justice Department. Serving under former President George W. Bush, Comey endorsed a memorandum approving the use of 13 enhanced interrogation techniques during the War on Terror, including waterboarding. He later said he lobbied to have the policy toned down.

Who is James Comey?

Mass surveillance

Comey has warned of the consequences of domestic mass surveillance, saying in March: "There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America." While serving as acting attorney general during the hospitalization of John Ashcroft in 2004, he refused to endorse the legality of the NSA's domestic surveillance program, even when pressured by the Bush administration.

Who is James Comey?

Obama's choice

In 2013, then-President Barack Obama nominated Comey to serve as the seventh director of the FBI. He received the nomination despite being a registered member of the Republican party. Later that year, he received congressional approval to takeover the office. In his installation speech, he said the bureau's work is founded on integrity. "Without integrity, all is lost," he said.

Who is James Comey?

More Holocaust education

In 2015, Comey penned an op-ed on why he required new FBI special agents and intelligence analysts to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington. He said the reason was to have them understand the consequences of abusing power and to be confronted by the atrocities humans are capable of. "I believe that the Holocaust is the most significant event in human history," he said.

Who is James Comey?

Election scandal

In July 2016, Comey announced that the FBI had found no evidence of criminal intention in Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as state secretary. But days before the presidential election, he issued a letter to lawmakers informing them of new emails deemed "pertinent to the investigation." He later said no evidence was uncovered. Clinton has since blamed Comey for losing the election.

Who is James Comey?

'You're fired'

On May 9, Trump sent Comey an unusual letter firing the FBI director, cutting short his 10-year mandate to lead the bureau. Given the ongoing FBI-led investigation into election-meddling by Russia, critics have warned that the move may amount to obstruction of justice for undermining the probe. Trump later appeared to threaten Comey over the existence of "tapes" of their conversations.

Who is James Comey?

Trump-Russia nexus

Comey reportedly kept memos of interactions between him and President Donald Trump, which appear to implicate the head of state in attempts to obstruct a federal probe into Russia's alleged involvement in influencing the 2016 election. The day after US media reported on the existence of the memos, the Justice Department named a special counsel to lead the probe amid fears of White House influence.

Who is James Comey?

Damning testimony?

In June 2017, shortly after being fired, Comey testified in Congress that he believed Trump fired him over the Russia probe. "I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted," he told lawmakers. He has since released a book, in which he described Trump as a "mafia boss" who is "untethered to the truth."

On Trump's treatment of women

"A person ... 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. And that's not a policy statement," Comey said.

On questions of loyalty

"He asked for my loyalty personally as the FBI director. My loyalty's supposed to be to the American people and to the institution," said Comey. Trump responded on Twitter, "I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies."

av/rt (AFP, DPA, Reuters) 

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