FORMER FBI Director James Comey has unloaded on Donald Trump, describing the US President as “morally unfit” for office.
Comey, who was sacked by Trump in May last year, described the President as a serial liar, who treats women like “meat” and who was a “stain” on everyone who works for him in a sensational interview with US network ABC.
The interview comes ahead of the release of Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership which will be released in America this week.
The interview has prompted Trump to call Comey “a leaker and liar”.
In the jaw-dropping interview with ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on the network’s 20/20 program, Comey said: “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.”
Comey said he was motivated to write the book “to try and be useful” and to “offer his views”.
He said Trump was like a “mob boss” and a “forest fire”.
“His presidency is doing, and will do, tremendous damage to our norms and our values, especially the truth. And so that’s bad.”
“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…that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds.
“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.”
One of the first issues Stephanopoulos canvassed with Comey was the Steele ‘dossier’ in which it was alleged, among other claims, that the Russian government had footage of Trump watching prostitutes urinate on each other in a hotel room in Moscow in 2013.
Comey said Trump denied the allegations in a very defensive manner.
“’Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?’ Trump replied according to Comey.
The ex-security boss said he believed the source of the dossier to be credible.
“It was coming from a credible source, someone with a track record, someone who was a credible and respected member of an allied intelligence service during his career,” he said.
“I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013. It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
Comey said he was made uneasy by a one-on-one dinner with Trump where the President demanded his loyalty.
“You will always get honesty from me,” Mr Comey recalled saying to Trump during the dinner.
“And he paused and then he said, ‘Honest loyalty,’ as if he was proposing some compromise or a deal. And I paused and said, ‘You’ll get that from me.’”
Comey claimed the dinner felt like a mob initiation.
“I’m not trying to, by the way, suggest that President Trump is out breaking legs and, you know, shaking down shopkeepers,” Mr Comey said.
However he did say “the loyalty oaths, the boss as the dominant centre 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.”
Mr Comey said he had been unsure as to how to reply to the request.
“Maybe it would’ve been better to give a more explicit — say, ‘Sir, I can’t promise you loyalty.’ But in the moment, frankly, it didn’t occur to me. And I maybe I didn’t have the guts to do it. I wanted to get out of this conversation without compromising myself.”
Comey also said he couldn’t believe Trump’s claims over the size of the crowd for his inauguration.
“That’s just not true. That’s not a perspective, that’s not a view. That’s just a lie,” Comey said of the Trump administration’s claims his auguration crowd was the biggest ever.
In the interview Comey did not comment on the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
Trump has repeatedly criticised Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation.
Comey said he may have subconsciously assumed Clinton would claim the election when he reopened the investigation days before the election, in a move many Democrats believe scuppered the former Secretary of State’s chances of winning.
However Comey said he felt at the time it would be very damaging to the credibility of the FBI if the reopened investigation became public after the election.
“If I ever start considering whose political fortunes will be affected by a decision, we’re done,” he said.
“We’re no longer that group in America that is apart from the partisans, and that can be trusted.”
RUSSIA ‘MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING ON TRUMP’
The ex-FBI boss also told ABC that Russia and its president Vladimir Putin could have compromising material on President Trump.
“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,” Comey said.
“It is stunning and I wish I wasn’t saying it, but it’s just — it’s the truth. 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.
Comey also claimed Trump wanted him to drop the criminal investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Comey claimed Trump asked him: “I hope you can let this go”, which he interpreted as a request to close the investigation.
Comey said it “possibly” amounted to an obstruction of justice.
“It’s unusual for the FBI director and the president to be alone at all. But to kick out the vice president of the United States and the attorney general (out of a White House meeting), who I work for, so you could talk to me alone — something was up,” he said.
“I took it as a direction. His words were, though, ‘I hope you can let it go.’ I took the expression of hope as, ‘This is what I want you to do.’”
“If he didn’t know he was doing something improper, why did he kick out the attorney general and the vice president of the United States and the leaders of the intelligence community? I mean, why am I alone if he doesn’t know the nature of the request?”
Comey said he thought Trump was “crazy” to fire him and that it would be Trump’s “most serious attack yet on the rule of law” if he was to fire Robert Mueller who is investing links between the Russia government and Trump’s election campaign.
DONALD TRUMP SLAMS ‘SLIPPERY’ COMEY
Earlier, US President Donald Trump unleashed a torrent of rage against the former FBI Director, calling him “slippery,” insisting he never asked him for loyalty and labelling him “the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!”
Trump fired off a series of tweets overnight ahead of the interview.
In an excerpt shown over the weekend, Comey said his belief that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election was a factor in his decision to disclose the investigation into her emails.