Former FBI director James Comey is making the rounds to promote his new book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” which is stuffed with a whole lot of gravitas-wrapped nothingburgers. Though he’s generally portrayed as a man deeply concerned with decorum and dignity, in an interview with ABC to promote the book, Comey proved that he’s willing to go low to take down the man who unceremoniously axed him last year.
In a truly “see it to believe it” moment, Comey and ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton administration staffer, discussed in very serious terms Comey informing Trump about the most salacious and patently absurd claim in the notorious, “still unverified” dossier. Though he revealed that Trump asked him to prove that the wild claim that during a trip to Moscow in 2013 he hired Russian prostitutes to pee on a bed that Obama had slept in previously was as untrue as it sounds, Comey suggested that it is “possible” that it’s true.
Comey told Stephanopoulos that soon after Trump was inaugurated, he met with Trump and told him about the contents of the dossier. They later met again during a private dinner to discuss potential follow-up action.
Asked if he revealed to Trump that the dossier was compiled as an opposition research effort financed by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, Comey said no, explaining that “it wasn’t necessary for my goal” of informing Trump about its contents.
Comey described the conversation as “very weird” and says he felt like he was “floating above myself, looking down, saying, ‘you’re sitting here, briefing the incoming president of the United States about prostitutes in Moscow.'”
“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?'” said Comey.
“And I assumed he was asking that rhetorically,” he continued. “I didn’t answer that, and I just moved on and explained, ‘Sir, I’m not saying that we credit this, I’m not saying we believe it. We just thought it very important that you know.’ I said … ‘I’m not saying that I believe the allegations, I’m not saying that I credit it.’ I never said, ‘I don’t believe it,’ because I couldn’t say one way or another.”
“And then he says something that distracted me because he said, you know, ‘If there’s even a 1 percent chance my wife thinks that’s true, that’s terrible,'” Comey said. “And I remember thinking, ‘How could your wife think there’s a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow?’ I’m a flawed human being, but there is literally zero chance that my wife would think that was true. So, what kind of marriage to what kind of man does your wife think [that] there’s only a 99 percent chance you didn’t do that?”
Comey said Trump later told him, “I may order you to investigate that” — which would be a terrible idea it were “possible” that it were true, as Comey suggests — but the soon-to-be-fired FBI director warned against it, saying he told him, “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.”
In response to Stephanopoulos asking him if he believed Trump’s denials, Comey worked in his “it’s possible” comment. “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,” he said. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
About the larger issue of Russian meddling, Comey told ABC that Team Trump seemed primarily concerned about how it might be used to undermine his victory and focusing on “PR and spin” rather than trying to prevent it from happening again.
The full interview will air Sunday. Here’s the teaser clip presented by a “stunned” Stephanopoulos and company at ABC:
Partial transcript via ABC News.
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