U.S. President Donald Trump contended Sunday that James Comey, the FBI director he fired who has written a scathing new book on the Trump presidency, should be imprisoned, claiming that he revealed classified information and lied to Congress.
Trump unleashed a new broadside on Comey hours ahead of a widely publicized television interview with the former chief of the country's top law enforcement agency. Comey's book, "A Higher Loyalty," is set for publication Tuesday and has already soared to near the top of bestseller lists because of pre-sales.
In the book, Comey likens Trump to a “mafia boss” and referred to his presidency as a “forest fire."
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"The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail)," Trump said on Twitter, apparently claiming wrongly that the notes Comey wrote about private meetings with Trump and talked about publicly were classified. It was not immediately clear what Trump was referencing in his contention that Comey lied in testimony before congressional committees.
"I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty," Trump said, disputing a key contention made by Comey. "I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His 'memos' are self serving and FAKE!"
Trump declared, "Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!"
Comey wrote in the book, "This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty." Comey claimed Trump was particularly concerned about unproven allegations that in 2013 he had watched as prostitutes urinated on a bed in a Moscow hotel, asking Comey to investigate to disprove it.
Comey is kicking off his national publicity tour promoting sales of the book with a Sunday night interview on ABC News. After Trump assailed the book, Comey replied on Twitter, "My book is about ethical leadership & draws on stories from my life & lessons I learned from others. 3 presidents are in my book: 2 help illustrate the values at the heart of ethical leadership; 1 serves as a counterpoint. I hope folks read the whole thing and find it useful."
Trump assailed Comey for acknowledging that shortly before Trump's November 2016 election victory, he considered the fact that Trump's opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, was leading in national polls over Trump as the FBI chief reopened an investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server to handle classified information when she was secretary of state several years before.
"Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!," Trump said.
The U.S. leader also revisited a June 2016 incident, when Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, met privately with then-attorney general Loretta Lynch on an airport tarmac at a time when Lynch was overseeing the FBI's email investigation involving Hillary Clinton in which Hillary Clinton was weeks later cleared of criminal wrongdoing.
"Comey throws AG Lynch 'under the bus!'" Trump claimed. "Why can’t we all find out what happened on the tarmac in the back of the plane with Wild Bill and Lynch? Was she promised a Supreme Court seat, or (to stay on as attorney general in a would-be Clinton presidency), in order to lay off Hillary. No golf and grandkids talk (give us all a break)!"
Trump also railed again about last week's FBI raid on the New York office and home of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in search of documents related to hefty hush money payoffs shortly before the election to two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump a decade before he ran for the presidency. Trump has denied both purported liaisons.
U.S. legal principles shield from disclosure conversations lawyers hold with their clients — attorney-client privilege — unless they are plotting criminal activity.
"Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past," Trump tweeted. "I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!"