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Comey Memoir: Trump Fixated on Lewd Dossier Allegation

President asked FBI chief to clear it up to ease Melania's mind
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2018 4:47 AM CDT
Updated Apr 13, 2018 6:21 AM CDT
Comey Memoir: Trump Was Like a Mafia Boss
In this May 3, 2017, file photo, then-FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – After he reads James Comey's memoir, President Trump might wish he was still director of the FBI—so he could fire him all over again. In A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, which will be released next week, Comey slams Trump as "unethical and untethered to truth," reports the AP, which obtained an advance copy. In the memoir, Comey describes Trump's repeated demands for loyalty. He says dealing with Trump gave him flashbacks to prosecuting Mafia bosses earlier in his career. "The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth," he writes. More:

  • Dossier obession. Comey says that early on, Trump seemed obsessed with a salacious Russia dossier that claimed he had hired prostitutes to pee on each other in a Moscow hotel room, the Washington Post reports. Comey says Trump told him he was worried that the allegations were upsetting to Melania Trump and added: "I'm a germaphobe. There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me."

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  • A jarring lack of curiosity. Comey says that in a Trump Tower meeting in January 2017, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Trump, Mike Pence, and other senior administration officials about Russian interference, and he was startled by their reaction. "They were about to lead a country that had been attacked by a foreign adversary, yet they had no questions about what the future Russian threat might be," Comey writes. He says the Trump team instead started discussing how to "spin" the development for the public.
  • Small hands? Comey—who is 6-foot-8—says that when they first met, Trump was shorter than he expected and his tie was "too long." He says when he met Trump, he had "bright white half-moons" under his eyes, apparently from tanning goggles. He says he deliberately tried to check the size of Trump's hands and determined they were "smaller than mine but did not seem unusually so."
  • Clinton emails. Comey defends his decision to reveal 11 days before the election that the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails had been reopened, the New York Times reports. He admits that he thought she was going to win the election, and worried she would be an "illegitimate president" if he failed to disclose facts about the investigation.

  • A "forest fire." Comey doesn't pull any punches when giving his opinion of Trump's leadership. "Donald Trump's presidency threatens much of what is good in this nation," Comey writes, describing his administration as a "forest fire." Trump is "unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values," Comey writes. "His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty."
  • The firing. Comey says he received a call from then-Homeland Security chief John Kelly after Trump fired him in May last year. "He said he was sick about my firing and that he intended to quit in protest," Comey writes, per the Post. "He said he didn’t want to work for dishonorable people who would treat someone like me in such a manner. I urged Kelly not to do that, arguing that the country needed principled people around this president. Especially this president."
  • Way outside the presidential norms. Michiko Kakutani at the New York Times notes that Comey's book, the first from a key Trump administration player, shows how far outside presidential norms Trump is, "how ignorant he is about his basic duties as president, and how willfully he has flouted the checks and balances that safeguard our democracy, including the essential independence of the judiciary and law enforcement." Her review of A Higher Loyalty praises the "gift for narrative" Comey clearly honed as a prosecutor.
(The Republican National Committee says Comey is a "liar and a leaker" and it has plans to counter his upcoming media blitz.)

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