Politics James Comey’s Interview on ABC’s ‘20/20’: Annotated Excerpts

05:20  16 april  2018
05:20  16 april  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

James Comey compares Trump to mob boss in ABC interview

  James Comey compares Trump to mob boss in ABC interview Former FBI director James Comey compared President Trump to a mob boss in a new ABC News interview that is set to air this weekend. Comey, fired by Trump last May, has largely remained quiet about the President and his administration over the past 11 months, but it appears that’s about to change. The interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, airing Sunday at 10 p.m. as part of a “20/20” special, is “going to shock the president and his team,” a source told Axios.

46 mins ago / World. ABC : Comey compares Trump to mob boss . A source present at the taping says James Comey ' s interview with ABC ' s George Stephanopoulos, airing Sunday at 10 p.m. as a " 20 / 20 " special, is "going to shock the president and his team."

FBI Director James Comey reportedly compared President Donald Trump to a “mob boss.”A source present at the ABC News taping told Axios that an upcoming “ 20 / 20 ” interview with George Stephanopoulos will “certainly add more meat to the charges swirling around Trump

Mr. Comey held a news conference on July 5, 2016, to announce the end of the Clinton email investigation, saying that Hillary Clinton shouldn't be prosecuted, but that she had used “extreme carelessness” in her handling of classified materials. He says in an interview that aired Sunday that he wishes now that he had chosen different words. © Cliff Owen/Associated Press Mr. Comey held a news conference on July 5, 2016, to announce the end of the Clinton email investigation, saying that Hillary Clinton shouldn't be prosecuted, but that she had used “extreme carelessness” in her handling of classified materials. He says in an interview that aired Sunday that he wishes now that he had chosen different words.

ABC News will air an hourlong interview on Sunday with James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director fired by President Trump last year. George Stephanopoulos of ABC interviewed Mr. Comey, who is promoting his new book, “A Higher Loyalty,” for five hours in all. Here are highlights and analysis from the complete conversation.

Trump slams Comey as 'weak and untruthful slime ball'

  Trump slams Comey as 'weak and untruthful slime ball' President Donald Trump slammed James Comey on Friday as a "proven LEAKER & LIAR," the day after explosive excerpts from the former FBI director's tell-all book surfaced in media reports. The president tweeted: "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 slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI.

46 mins ago / World. ABC : Comey compares Trump to mob boss . A source present at the taping says James Comey ' s interview with ABC ' s George Stephanopoulos, airing Sunday at 10 p.m. as a " 20 / 20 " special, is "going to shock the president and his team."

Former FBI director James B . Comey ’ s memoir hits bookshelves next Tuesday and his blitz of media interviews begins with “ 20 / 20 ” on Sunday. But The Washington Post obtained a copy of “A Higher Loyalty” and published excerpts on Thursday.

On President Trump’s Leadership

‘He is morally unfit to be president.’

I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia. 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.

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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. And that’s not a policy statement. Again, I don’t care what your views are on guns or immigration or taxes.

Comey: Trump 'treats women like they're pieces of meat'

  Comey: Trump 'treats women like they're pieces of meat' Former FBI Director James Comey said in an interview with ABC Sunday night that President Trump treated women like "meat" and is morally unfit to be president. Comey blasted the president during his first television interview since he was fired last May, describing him as a serial liar and a "stain" on everyone who worked for him. "I think he's morally unfit to be president," Comey told ABC's George Stephanopoulous."A personComey blasted the president during his first television interview since he was fired last May, describing him as a serial liar and a "stain" on everyone who worked for him.

ABC says it will air a special interview with James Comey in April before the former FBI director' s book is released. The network announced the interview will air on a " 20 / 20 " special on April 15. The interview will be conducted by " ABC News" anchor George Stephanopoulous.

The Times Interview , Annotated . By Josh Marshall | July 20 , 2017 11:24 am. Sessions and Rosenstein, were complicit, substantively if not legally, in firing FBI Director James Comey , what I believe is to date the greatest impeachable offense of his Presidency.

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. This president is not able to do that. He is morally unfit to be president.

During much of the interview, Mr. Comey seems disciplined and almost dispassionate. But at the end, he lets loose in a remarkable way. It is hard to think of a time that such a senior official of the government has gone on to so directly question the moral fitness of the sitting president. He said that he hopes Mr. Trump is held accountable for his lies, but that impeachment would be a cop-out for a public that should also be held accountable for electing Mr. Trump in the first place.

On Comparing the President to a Mob Boss

‘The loyalty oaths, the boss as the dominant center of everything.’

STEPHANOPOULOS: How strange is it for you to sit here and compare the president to a mob boss?

The Latest: Comey: It's possible Russians compromised Trump

  The Latest: Comey: It's possible Russians compromised Trump Former FBI Director James Comey says he thinks it's possible that President Donald Trump might be compromised by the Russians. In an interview with ABC News that aired Sunday night, the fired FBI chief says he could not discount the possibility that Russia might have something on the president. Comey made the remarks to ABC News as he promoted his new book.10:30 p.m.

ABC : Comey compares Trump to mob boss . A source present at the taping says James Comey ' s interview with ABC ' s George Stephanopoulos, airing Sunday at 10 p.m. as a " 20 / 20 " special, is "going to shock the president and his team."

According to the source: ABC: Comey compares Trump to mob boss. A source present at the taping says James Comey ’ s interview with ABC ’ s George Stephanopoulos, airing Sunday at 10 p.m. as a “ 20 / 20 ” special, is “going to shock the president and his team.”

COMEY: Very strange. And I don’t do it lightly. I — and I’m not trying to, by the way, suggest that President Trump is out breaking legs and — you know, shaking down shopkeepers. But instead, what I’m talking about is that leadership culture constantly comes back to me when I think about my experience with the Trump administration. The — the loyalty oaths, the boss as the dominant center of everything, it’s all about how do you serve the boss, what’s in the boss’s interests. It’s the family, the family, the family, the family. That’s why it reminds me so much and not, “So what’s the right thing for the country and what are the values of the institutions that we’re dealing with?”

The comparison to the mob is sure to be one of the more controversial takeaways of Mr. Comey’s new book. But it is one that Mr. Comey repeatedly defends in the interview.

James Comey wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director © Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director On Meeting Trump at a White House Reception

‘How could he think this is a good idea?’

And so I’m walking forward thinking that, thinking, “How could he think this is a good idea? That he’s going to try to hug me, the guy that a whole lot of people think, although that’s not true, but think I tried to get him elected president and did. Isn’t he master of television? This is disastrous.”

Trump: Comey, McCabe 'committed many crimes'

  Trump: Comey, McCabe 'committed many crimes' President Trump on Monday accused former FBI Director James Comey and former deputy director Andrew McCabe of committing "many crimes.""Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers," the president wrote on Twitter.

A source present at the taping says James Comey ' s interview with ABC ' s George Stephanopoulos, airing Sunday at 10 p.m. as a " 20 / 20 " special, is "going to shock the president and his team." Show less.

Former FBI director James Comey compared President Trump to a mob boss in a new ABC News interview that is set to air this weekend. The interview with ABC ’ s George Stephanopoulos, airing Sunday at 10 p.m. as part of a “ 20 / 20 ” special, is “going to shock the president and his team,” a

One of the enduring images of Mr. Comey was captured by television cameras shortly after Mr. Trump became president and held a reception at the White House for law enforcement officials. Mr. Trump calls to Mr. Comey, who walks across a room to shake the president’s hand, and Mr. Trump appears to lean over and almost kiss his cheek.

The moment was one of many that Mr. Comey describes in which he believes the president is trying to intimidate him into understanding that they are both on the same side, part of the same team.

[Video: Watch on YouTube.]

On Trump’s Physique

‘It seemed like he had average sized hands.’

I say that in my book ‘cause I’m trying to be honest, ‘cause that’s the truth there had been all this controversy and mocking about hand size, I can’t remember the details. But as I shook his hand I made a note to check the size and it seemed like he had average sized hands.

Mr. Comey describes his book as an attempt to have a thoughtful discussion about ethics, values, honesty and other serious topics. But he also includes a few salacious details that he — and his publishers — know will help sales.

He says that Mr. Trump was shorter than he thought (coming from a man who stands 6 feet 8). He notes that Mr. Trump’s tie was too long and that his hair was perfectly coifed.

But perhaps the observation about his hands is most likely to get the president riled up. After Senator Marco Rubio mocked Mr. Trump in a debate, Mr. Trump declared: “Look at those hands; are they small hands?”

Comey: I’m not making fun of the president

  Comey: I’m not making fun of the president Former FBI Director James Comey says in a new interview that he was not attempting to "make fun" of President Trump with comments about the president in his book, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, And Leadership. "In an interview with NPR, the former FBI chief explains that his remarks about the size of Trump's hands were meant to paint a picture for the reader, not as a slight at Trump."I'm not making fun of the president. I'm trying to be an author, which I've never been before in my life," Comey says. "While I'm typing, I can hear my editor's voice ringing in my head, 'bring the reader with you.

ABC : Comey compares Trump to mob boss . A source present at the taping says James Comey ' s interview with ABC ' s George Stephanopoulos, airing Sunday at 10 p.m. as a " 20 / 20 " special, is "going to shock the president and his team."

20 / 20 ABC News. " James Comey Literally Compares Trump To A Mob Boss In His Upcoming ’ 20 / 20 ′ Interview ". Profile. By: Unicorny.

Mr. Comey said in the interview that he recalled those moments as he shook the president’s hand for the first time.

On Trump’s Monologues

‘It was him talking almost the entire time.’

It was him talking almost the entire time, which I’ve discovered is something he frequently does. And so it would be monologue in this direction, monologue in that direction, monologue in a different direction.

And a constant series of assertions that — about the inauguration crowd, about how great my inauguration speech was, about all the free media — earned media, I think was his term, that I got during the campaign. On and on and on and on. Everyone agrees, everyone agrees, I did this, the — I never assaulted these women, I never made fun of a reporter.

And — I’m sure you’re wondering what question did I ask that would prompt those? None, zero. I didn’t ask any questions that I recall.

One of the most interesting observations by Mr. Comey during the interview was that Mr. Trump delivers monologues that are intended to leave the impression that those listening agree completely with him.

Mr. Comey notes on several occasions that in private conversations, the president simply makes assertions — often falsely — without giving the people he’s talking to a chance to interject or object. It’s an interesting observation because it is similar to what Mr. Trump does in public.

When he is giving remarks to a small group around a table at the White House, he often rambles from one topic to the next, making assertions that often are not true but cannot be challenged at the time because they come in such rapid-fire fashion.

James Comey says Trump tweets about him like a breakup he "can't get over"

  James Comey says Trump tweets about him like a breakup he The former FBI director's "A Higher Loyalty" describes President Trump as a man "untethered to truth"Colbert began the show by jokingly asking Comey for his loyalty, and pouring red wine into a paper cup — which is what Comey said he did on a flight home from Los Angeles after he found out he was fired from television. Comey's book and comments about his time as FBI director have irritated Mr. Trump, who called the former FBI leader a "slime ball," among other things.

Trump Completely Unloads on James Comey After Book Excerpts Leak to Press April 13, 2018. Listen: Rep. Blackburn Scorches Zuck in Post Hearing Interview on September 23rd 2017: NOT the END, BEST BREAKDOWN (North Korea, America, Israel, Prophecy) September 20 , 2017.

Former FBI director James Comey compared President Trump to a mob boss in a new ABC News interview that is set to air this weekend. The interview with ABC ’ s George Stephanopoulos, airing Sunday at 10 p.m. as part of a “ 20 / 20 ” special, is “going to shock the president and his team,” a

And Mr. Comey notes that the president often says contradictory things in the same monologue. He noted that over dinner, the president told him that Reince Priebus, the chief of staff at the time, didn’t know they were having dinner together. But later, Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey to follow up with Mr. Priebus, who knew they were having dinner together.

“One of those things is not true. One of those things is a lie,” Mr. Comey says in the interview.

On Those Who Work With the President

‘He will stain everyone around him.’

The challenge of this president is that he will stain everyone around him. And the question is, how much stain is too much stain and how much stain eventually makes you unable to accomplish your goal of protecting the country and serving the country? So I don’t know.

Mr. Comey reveals in his book that John F. Kelly, the current White House chief of staff, said he wanted to resign in protest when Mr. Comey was fired. In the interview, he says he urged Mr. Kelly to stay for the good of the country.

On informing President-Elect Trump about Russia’s Meddling in the Election

‘I don’t remember any questions about, “So what are they going to do next. How might we stop it?” ’

No one, to my recollection, asked, “So what — what’s coming next from the Russians?” You’re about to lead a country that has an adversary attacking it and I don’t remember any questions about, “So what are they going to do next. How might we stop it? What’s the future look like? Because we’ll be custodians of the security of this country.” There was none of that. It was all, “What can we say about what they did and how it affects the election that we just had.”

Much has been written about the meeting in Trump Tower on Jan. 6 when Mr. Comey and other intelligence officials briefed Mr. Trump and his top aides about Russian interference. Mr. Comey says that the president-elect and his aides were more concerned about how to “spin” it publicly. And he says that he got the feeling that Mr. Trump wanted to talk about the public relations effort with the intelligence chiefs there to send a message that they were part of the spin effort as well.

Comey won't answer whether US would have been better off if Clinton had won

  Comey won't answer whether US would have been better off if Clinton had won Former FBI Director James Comey on Thursday said he couldn't answer whether the country would be better off if Hillary Clinton had defeated President Trump in the 2016 election. "That hypothetical is too hard for me to go back in time and answer," Comey said on CNN's "The Lead.""I think we have the current president who was - in my view was legitimately elected, is serving as president," Comey said. "The question is, is he adher"That hypothetical is too hard for me to go back in time and answer," Comey said on CNN's "The Lead.

On Whether the Russians Are Blackmailing the President

‘I think it’s possible. I don’t know.’

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think the Russians have something on Donald Trump?

COMEY: I think it’s possible. I don’t know. These are more words I never thought I’d utter about a president of the United States, but it’s possible.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s stunning. You can’t say for certain that the president of the United States is not compromised by the Russians?

COMEY: 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, but I can’t. It’s possible.

Some of Mr. Comey’s assertions in the interview, and the book, are sure to be assailed by his critics. Among the most damning is that he cannot say for sure whether the president is being blackmailed by the Russians. He offers no proof that there is such blackmail.

On the President’s Request to “Let Go” of the Flynn investigation

‘It’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice.’

It’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice. It would depend and — 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.

Perhaps the most consequential exchange between Mr. Comey and Mr. Trump occurred when the president cleared the Oval Office of his staff — including the vice president — and asked to speak with Mr. Comey alone. It was in that session that Mr. Comey says that the president asked him to “let go” of the investigation into Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser who had just been fired.

Mr. Comey makes it clear what he thinks the president’s motivations were.

“Really? The president just kicked out the attorney general to ask me to drop a criminal investigation. Wow, the world continues to go crazy.”

On The “Steele Dossier”

‘Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?’

And then I started to tell him about the allegation was that he had been involved with prostitutes in a hotel in Moscow in 2013 during the visit for the Miss Universe pageant and that the Russians had — filmed the episode. And he interrupted very defensively and started talking about it, you know, “Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?”

The public has known for months that Mr. Comey privately briefed the president about the so-called Steele Dossier, which contained salacious and unverified information about the president’s activities. But it’s one thing to know that; it’s another to hear Mr. Comey describe the conversation in detail.

Mr. Comey notes how odd it felt to be talking with the incoming president about allegations that he had been with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room.

Mr. Comey asserts that he and other intelligence officials believed it was important for Mr. Trump to know that the information about him was in circulation and might soon become public. But it’s clear from his description of the conversation that Mr. Trump’s anger toward him began that day.

Mr. Comey also says that his decision to assure the president that he was not under investigation — something that was true at that moment — was a mistake because it later angered Mr. Trump that Mr. Comey and other officials would not say the same thing publicly.

On Discussing the Allegation of a Graphic VideoTape

‘The world’s gone crazy.’

And then he said, “Another reason you know it’s not true is I’m a germophobe. There’s no way I’d let people pee on each other around me.” And that caught me so much by surprise I actually let out an audible laugh and — because it was just one of those — I was startled by it.

And — and I remember thinking, “Well, should I say that, ‘As I understand the activity, sir, it doesn’t require an overnight stay. And given that it was allegedly the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton, I would imagine you could be at a safe distance from the activity.’” All these things are bouncing around my head. But instead of saying it, it just led me to think, “The world’s gone crazy.”

I’m the director of the F.B.I. and I’m standing at my window, looking out on the darkened Pennsylvania Avenue. And I remember this moment like it was yesterday. And I can see the lit Washington Monument that’s rising from my vantage point of the F.B.I. just over the Trump — new Trump hotel. And I just remember thinking, “Everything’s gone mad.” And then, having finished his explanation, which I hadn’t asked for, he hung up. And I went to find my chief of staff to tell him that the world’s gone crazy.

This is the most graphic allegation about the president in the Steele Dossier. Mr. Trump raised it directly in a phone call after BuzzFeed published the dossier, Mr. Comey says.

In the interview, Mr. Comey offers striking thoughts on the president’s assertions as he notes that someone would not have had to stay in the hotel room overnight for the incident to be true.

On Trump’s Desire to Have the Videotape Allegation Refuted

‘It’s very difficult to prove something didn’t happen.’

When he started talking about it — “I may order you to investigate that” — I said, “Sir, that’s up to you. But you’d want to be careful about that, because it might create a narrative that we’re investigating you personally. And second, it’s very difficult to prove something didn’t happen.”

What is clear from Mr. Comey’s descriptions of his interactions with the president is that Mr. Trump is often unaware of the dangers he is putting himself into.

On the Clinton email investigation

‘This wasn’t your ordinary bureaucrat who just mishandles one document.’

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you also would not use the words “extreme carelessness” today?

COMEY: No. I’d find some — I don’t know what it would be, sitting here. Find some other way to convey, because I wanted to be honest and transparent. This wasn’t your ordinary bureaucrat who just mishandles one document.

This was something more than that. But not something that anybody would prosecute. And — and that’s one of the things about the criticism that drives me crazy. Nobody who has done counterespionage work would think this is a case that’s been prosecuted — would be prosecuted, ever. And so I needed to find a way to both convey that and to capture that it was more than just ordinary carelessness.

Repeatedly in the interview, Mr. Comey defends his decision to hold a news conference in the summer of 2016 announcing the decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. He instead asserted that Mrs. Clinton had used “extreme carelessness” in her handling of classified materials.

In the end, he admits, the words he chose made both sides angry (and led to criticism from his wife and daughters, who supported Mrs. Clinton.) But he adamantly defends the overall choice to hold the news conference, saying that if he had just issued a one-line statement closing the investigation, critics would have said it was “fixed.”

It’s an answer that is unlikely to satisfy many people or persuade them to change their minds, and Mr. Comey seems to know that.

[Read our 2017 profile of Mr. Comey and his role in the 2016 presidential election »]

On Not Revealing the Russia Investigation During the Campaign

‘This was very different.’

Consistent with our policy — again, very different than the Hillary Clinton case, which began with a public referral. Everybody knew we were looking at her emails. So when we confirmed it three months later, there’s no jeopardy at all to the investigation.

This was very different. We did not want these Americans to know that we had reason to believe they might be working with the Russians because we got to run this down and investigate it.

Democrats have long assailed Mr. Comey for having a double standard: he revealed and confirmed the existence of an inquiry into Mrs. Clinton’s emails before the election, but he refused to tell the American people that the F.B.I. was investigating the Trump campaign for possible collusion with Russians.

He says the Trump-Russia investigation needed to be kept secret because the people under investigation didn’t know that the F.B.I. was on to them. To reveal it would have imperiled the investigation, he says.

On Revealing that the Clinton Email Inquiry was ReOpened

‘Concealing is catastrophic.’

Speaking is really bad; concealing is catastrophic. If you conceal the fact that you have restarted the Hillary Clinton email investigation, not in some silly way but in a very, very important way that may lead to a different conclusion, what will happen to the institutions of justice when that comes out?

Mr. Comey has been repeatedly criticized by Democrats for deciding to announce — just days before the 2016 election — that the F.B.I. was reopening the Clinton email case. It is, to many Democrats, evidence that he was biased against Mrs. Clinton, or driven by an egotistic need to be in the spotlight.

One interesting point: He argues that even if he had chosen not to reveal the investigation, he thinks it would have leaked out anyway before the election. He argues that there had been many leaks from inside the F.B.I.’s New York offices, which was handling the case.

On Thinking That Clinton Would Win

‘I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump.’

STEPHANOPOULOS: At some level, wasn’t the decision to reveal influenced by your assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to win? And your concern that she wins, this comes out several weeks later, and then that’s taken by her opponent as a sign that she’s an illegitimate president?

COMEY: It must have been. I don’t remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been. Because I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. And so I’m sure that it — that it was a factor. Like I said, I don’t remember spelling it out, but it had to have been. That — that she’s going to be elected president, and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out.

Mr. Comey’s acknowledgment has been seized on by Democrats as evidence that he admits being driven by political considerations.

He disputes that in the interview, saying that he was not driven by a desire to see a particular outcome.

On Obama’s Remarks About the Email Investigation

‘He shouldn’t have done that.’

I think he felt a pressure in the political environment because he wanted Hillary Clinton to be elected, to give her a shot in the arm. And so he spoke about an investigation. And he shouldn’t have done that.

Mr. Comey generally speaks highly of former President Barack Obama. And his criticism of Mr. Obama seems a little quaint given what Mr. Comey describes elsewhere in the interview about Mr. Trump’s public and private attempts to influence the Russia investigation. But at the time of the email investigation, the former F.B.I. director suggests, Mr. Obama’s public statements were one reason that Mr. Comey decided to make a public statement about the end of the email inquiry.

At another point in the interview, he also cites classified information suggesting that Loretta E. Lynch, the attorney general, was trying to protect the Clinton campaign. It’s unclear what that evidence was — he won’t say. But he says that even though he didn’t believe it was true, the existence of the material made it more important for him to act independently of Ms. Lynch.

On his impact on the election

‘Oh my God, did we have some role in this?’

But a whole lot of me was thinking, “Oh my God, did we have some role in this? Did we have some impact on the election?” And it’s an incredibly painful juxtaposition, but also thinking, “I really wouldn’t have done it any differently.”

God, I hope we had no impact. I hope we had no impact. But it — I know — I worry it sounds arrogant to say, but it — it wouldn’t change the result.

Despite his damning conclusions about Mr. Trump, Mr. Comey says that he would not have wanted to change a decision because he thought it might get Mr. Trump elected.

He says “that’s not the F.B.I.’s role.” And yet, he offers searing observations later in the interview about Mr. Trump, saying he is untethered from the truth and is morally unfit to be president.

On His Own Ego

‘I have to be careful not to fall in love with my own view of things.’

One of the things I’ve struggled with my whole life is my ego and — and a sense that I — I have to be careful not to fall in love with my own view of things.

In several places in the interview, Mr. Comey confronts head-on the criticism — from Democrats and Republicans alike — that his ego drove him to make flawed decisions as F.B.I. director.

He remains defensive throughout much of the interview, saying that he still believes he made the right decisions about the Clinton email case and other contentious actions. But the admission that he struggles with his ego seems like a savvy attempt to give his critics a win, even as he disputes their ultimate conclusion about his motives.

Michael D. Shear is a White House correspondent. He previously worked at The Washington Post and was a member of their Pulitzer Prize-winning team that covered the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. @shearm

Comey won't answer whether US would have been better off if Clinton had won .
Former FBI Director James Comey on Thursday said he couldn't answer whether the country would be better off if Hillary Clinton had defeated President Trump in the 2016 election. "That hypothetical is too hard for me to go back in time and answer," Comey said on CNN's "The Lead.""I think we have the current president who was - in my view was legitimately elected, is serving as president," Comey said. "The question is, is he adher"That hypothetical is too hard for me to go back in time and answer," Comey said on CNN's "The Lead.

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