WASHINGTON — James Comey’s new tell-all isn’t officially out yet, but it’s already infuriated President Donald Trump, who has called Comey an “untruthful slime ball,” and declared that he considered it an honour to fire the FBI director.
The pre-launch brouhaha is based on media reports about what’s in the book, “A Higher Loyalty.” Here are some of the eye-catching details.
—Comey admits he treated the election candidates differently. During the campaign, Comey never informed the public that he was investigating Trump’s ties to Russia. Yet he released a damaging letter just before the election about Hillary Clinton. In his book, Comey explains the double standard: He was sure Clinton would win, and he didn’t want the next president tainted by news of an FBI coverup. He now says he’s not sure he would do it again. After hearing this rationale, one former Clinton campaign aide, Zerlina Maxwell, told MSNBC on Friday: “It’s infuriating.”
—He compares Trump to a mob boss. Comey writes that the president gave him flashbacks to his days prosecuting the Cosa Nostra. Regarding a private dinner with Trump where the president demanded loyalty, Comey compared it to the Mafia induction ceremony of Sammy (The Bull) Gravano. “I sat there thinking, Holy crap, they are trying to make each of us ‘amica nostra’ – friend of ours. To draw us in,” Comey writes in an excerpt cited by ABC.
—Trump was fixated on the story about a dossier alleging that he had Russian prostitutes urinate on a Moscow bed where Barack Obama once slept. He mentioned it to Comey several times. According to The Washington Post, Comey writes that the president told him: “I’m a germaphobe. … There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me. No way.” He also allegedly ridiculed the very notion that he would ever hire a prostitute: “Can you imagine me, hookers?”
—Comey found something strange about the president’s attitude toward Russia. Comey described being struck that the president and his staff never expressed any interest in Russian election-meddling and how to prevent it again. Rather, Trump focused on the public-relations component and how to spin the fact that Russians didn’t affect the election outcome. In addition, Comey says he and the president sparred over Trump’s complimentary words regarding Vladimir Putin and his suggestion in an interview that the U.S. was also guilty of illegal killings.
—He took jabs at Trump’s physical appearance. He recalled noting the size of the president’s hands, which has been a notorious sore spot for Trump. Comey noted: “(They were) smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so,” according to the Associated Press. He said Trump appeared shorter than he had assumed. And in an excerpt cited by The New York Times, he writes of the president: “His face appeared slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles.”
—Here’s how Obama reacted, during a conversation about that notorious Moscow bed Obama once slept in. He told the outgoing president that he would brief Trump on the salacious details of the so-called Steele dossier. “(Obama) looked directly at me,” Comey recalled, according to The Washington Post. “He raised and lowered both of his eyebrows with emphasis, and then looked away. … To my mind his Groucho Marx eyebrow raise was both subtle humour and an expression of concern. It was almost as if he were saying, ‘Good luck with that.'”
—Many Democrats were livid about Comey after the election. But he says Obama, and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, were both kind to him. He says Schumer had tears in his eyes as he acknowledged the dilemma Comey had grappled with during the election. According to The Washington Post, “Comey wrote that Obama sat alone with him in the Oval Office in late November and told him, ‘I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability. I want you to know that nothing — nothing – has happened in the last year to change my view.’ On the verge of tears, Comey told Obama, ‘Boy, were those words I needed to hear…. I’m just trying to do the right thing.'” And Obama replied: “I know.”
Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press