Former FBI Director James Comey is no fan of Donald Trump. The president abruptly dismissed Comey from his role leading the FBI — and the Russia investigation — early last year, adding another spark to the fire that eventually culminated in the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
In the time since, Comey has attracted somewhat of a following on account of being one of the public figures to stand up to the onslaught of Trumpism in some capacity. The latest installment of Comey’s opposition to the president comes in the form of his new book, A Higher Loyalty, which became officially available on Monday, April 17.
ABC reported on some of the contents of that book ahead of its release, and in the pages of the much anticipated work, the former FBI Director paints a grim picture of working as a law enforcement official under President Trump.
It has long been reported that during a dinner shortly after Trump’s inauguration, the president pressed Comey for “loyalty.”
He said to the then-FBI Director:
‘I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.’
Comey says in his book that the demand reminded him of “Sammy the Bull’s Cosa Nostra induction ceremony,” referencing a notorious mob boss who led the the Gambino crime family.
After the president first pressed him for loyalty, he returned to the topic later in the dinner, at which time the then-FBI Director responded:
‘You will always get honesty from me.’
The interaction at that dinner is not the only one during which the former FBI Director found reason to be worried.
During his first ever meeting with the then-president-elect and his team, Comey writes that he was taken aback by the lack of seriousness with which the Trump team took the issue of Russian meddling in our elections. At that meeting, Comey and other then-top intelligence officials shared the gravity of the situation.
He says that after Trump and some of his top aides focused more on “how they could spin what we’d just told them” as opposed to how they could address the threat:
“I sat there thinking, Holy crap, they are trying to make each of us ‘amica nostra’ – friend of ours. To draw us in. As crazy as it sounds, I suddenly had the feeling that, in the blink of an eye, the president-elect was trying to make us all part of the same family and that Team Trump had made it a ‘thing of ours.'”
A Higher Loyalty — whose very title represents a sort of response to the belligerence from the president — contains the former FBI Director’s personal account of an array of other situations, such as that of the president pressing him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn and that of his handling of the Clinton email investigation.
As for the latter topic, which the former FBI Director has attracted intense scrutiny for, he explains that he felt compelled to keep the integrity of the inquiry at a higher profile because he felt Clinton was on her way to victory. Thus, he says, it is “possible” that “concern about making [Clinton] an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls.”
In the face of all of these issues getting a renewed spot in the national political conversation, an interview of Comey conducted by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos aired the night ahead of his book release.
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