The former — and fired — FBI director sat down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday evening to speak about his deep issues about President Donald Trump and to recount quite a lot of now-famous/notorious episodes between the 2 males. (Comey has written a ebook about his experiences titled “A Greater Loyalty.”)
ABC launched the transcript of the complete five-hour(!) interview; I went via it to pluck out the lines from Comey that you just completely should not miss. They’re under.
1. “I liken President Trump in the ebook to a forest hearth. Going to do super injury. Going to break these vital norms. However a forest hearth provides wholesome issues an opportunity to develop that had no likelihood earlier than that fireside.”
Comey’s logic right here is intriguing however he is actually speaking a couple of managed burn — one in which the hearth is managed. The penalties of a raging wildfire that nobody is ready to handle are, I feel, just a little totally different.
2. “So all of us must consistently be concerned and name it out after we see the reality endangered, after we see mendacity.”
three. “The title [of the book] comes from a weird dialog I had with the President in dinner on the White Home in January of final yr, the place he requested for my loyalty personally because the FBI director.”
four. “Nicely, that is why I used to be by no means going to put in writing a ebook. It at all times felt like an train in ego.”
5. “President Clinton’s pardon of Marc Wealthy took my breath away. Th– the notion that the president of america would pardon a fugitive with out asking the prosecutors or the investigators, ‘What do you suppose,’ was stunning to me.”
6. “I believed David Petraeus ought to’ve been prosecuted not only for the mishandling of the categorised info, but in addition for mendacity to the FBI as a result of mendacity is — strikes on the coronary heart of our rule of regulation in this nation.”
7. “I’ve gone via 50 years of instances. I do not know of a case the place anybody has ever been prosecuted for simply being careless, even extraordinarily careless.”
Comey acknowledges right here that from the beginning of the Hillary Clinton electronic mail investigation, he strongly suspected there would not be prices introduced in opposition to her. That can be fodder for Trump who will say the previous FBI director had prejudged the case earlier than even seeing it.
eight. “When you subject a one liner from the Obama Justice Division about one of many two candidates for president of america, in this case the Democratic nominee for president of america, and say, ‘We’re performed right here,’ in the absence of any type of transparency, corrosive doubt creeps in that the system is rigged one way or the other.”
That is Comey’s clarification for why he delivered prolonged public remarks in regards to the finish of the Clinton investigation. And, sure, that noise you hear is Democrats collectively rolling their eyes at his clarification.
9. “It actually did shock me. He is a really sensible man and a lawyer. And so it stunned me. He should not have performed it.”
10. “Labeled info got here into the possession of the US intelligence group in the early a part of 2016 that indicated there was materials on the market that raised the query of whether or not [Attorney General] Loretta Lynch was controlling me and the FBI and protecting the Clinton marketing campaign knowledgeable about our investigation.”
11. “And so whether or not or not it was true, the truth that it could be on the market and permit individuals to argue that one thing horrible was happening in this investigation minimize in favor of extra transparency.“
Comey says the investigation into whether or not Lynch was purposely controlling what the FBI stated and located on the investigation wasn’t true. However he’s very obscure about the entire thing — seemingly as a result of the data stays categorised.
12. “My workers satisfied me that that is simply going to confuse all types of individuals, in the event you begin speaking about statutes and what the phrases imply. What’s a colloquial strategy to clarify it? And elsewhere in my assertion I had stated, ‘Extraordinarily careless.'”
In his unique draft on Clinton’s electronic mail, Comey used the phrases “gross negligence” to explain her conduct. Right here he explains why he modified it. (Trump has insisted the change was as a result of Comey was going straightforward on Clinton.)
13. “This wasn’t your odd bureaucrat who simply mishandles one doc. This was one thing greater than that. However not one thing that anyone would prosecute.”
To Comey’s thoughts, Clinton’s non-public electronic mail serve was in the gray space between a really critical crime and a daily outdated mistake. Which made it onerous to deal with particularly given her place.
14.”In late July , the FBI bought info that there was any person who had had — was a international coverage advisor named [George] Papadopoulos to the Trump marketing campaign.”
This is a crucial be aware. Trump — and another Republicans — insist that the complete FBI investigation into his marketing campaign and Russia was premised on the file put collectively by Christopher Steele. It wasn’t. It started with Papadopoulos on the lookout for the grime the Russians allegedly had on Clinton.
15. “The investigation was triggered completely individually from the Steele file.”
Once more, vital. And counter to the Trump narrative.
16. “I found President Trump would not even do it privately, and I do not know why that’s.”
Comey suggests right here that Trump will not bash Russian President Vladimir Putin in non-public, which he finds baffling.
17. “I keep in mind saying that I am just a little bit bored with being the impartial voice on issues.”
[Eye roll emoji]
18. “All of us have been working in a world the place the polls have been exhibiting that Donald Trump had no likelihood.”
For many who say regulation enforcement is completely blind to politics, I offer you this sentence from James Comey.
19. “Talking is absolutely unhealthy; concealing is catastrophic. When you conceal the truth that you’ve gotten restarted the Hillary Clinton electronic mail investigation, not in some foolish approach however in a really, crucial approach that will result in a unique conclusion, what is going to occur to the establishments of justice when that comes out?”
Comey’s deliberations on whether or not to let the general public know in regards to the re-opening of the Clinton electronic mail investigation is completely fascinating. The subject many individuals will take with it’s that he had no approach of realizing whether or not the emails discovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop computer have been duplicates of emails the FBI had already seen. So why announce one thing that will not be information in any respect? (Turns on the market was nothing new on Weiner’s laptop computer.)
20. “I’d a lot quite Anthony Weiner had by no means had a laptop computer.”
So would Anthony Weiner.
21. “Talking goes to have some affect, doubtlessly. However concealing goes to destroy the establishments that I really like.”
Comey critics will argue that he’s significantly exaggerating the affect of ready and seeing what was on Weiner’s laptop computer earlier than talking publicly. Significantly.
22. “If I ever get thinking about whose political fortunes can be affected by a choice, we’re performed.”
However, you simply stated that you just and everybody else have been working beneath the belief that Clinton was going to win!
23. “Trigger I used to be working in a world the place Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump.”
However, however, however [head explodes]
24. “It sucked.”
James Comey on being James Comey in the ultimate days of the 2016 marketing campaign.
25. “The trustworthy reply is I screwed up a few issues, however in the principle, I feel given what I knew on the time, these have been the selections that have been finest calculated to protect the values of the establishments.”
[narrator voice] He does not actually suppose he screwed up a lot of something.
26. “I am glad for a lotta causes I haven’t got a time machine.”
Sturdy disagree. Having a time machine would rule.
27. “I– by no means going to run for workplace.”
An attention-grabbing pledge to make by Comey — and form of out of the blue. I had been questioning if this complete expertise would possibly really push him to run for workplace — or not less than make him extra in the prospect.
28. “What did it value me? Nicely, (SIGH).”
Story of my life — particularly the “(SIGH)”
29. “However this was– their sense that given the number of sources and strategies we had, we had this nailed.”
That is Comey on the intelligence on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. “We had this nailed.”
30. “President Obama has an amazing poker face.”
Coming quickly to a world poker occasion close to you….
31. “However I learn it as, ‘You poor bastard.'”
What Comey believed Obama was conveying to him in advance of a sitdown with the incoming president to speak in regards to the extra salacious particulars in the Steele file.
32. “And although I didn’t intend to jam Donald Trump with this, my considering was, given his strategy to the world, he might imagine I am pulling a J. Edgar Hoover and assume that I am attempting to dangle this over him to get leverage on him.”
Realizing Trump, that’s precisely what he was considering.
33. “My impression was he seemed precisely like he did on tv, besides he seemed shorter to me than he did on tv, however in any other case precisely the identical.”
Of all of the issues Comey stated in this interview, taking a shot at Trump’s top might be the factor that upsets the president probably the most.
34. “I stared at it fairly carefully and my response was, ‘It most take a heck of quite a lot of time in the morning, nevertheless it’s impressively coifed.'”
Nicely, I can die completely happy. The “What does Comey consider Trump’s hair?” query has been answered.
35. “I shook his hand I made a be aware to examine the scale and it appeared like he had average-sized palms.”
“I purchase a barely smaller than giant glove,” Donald Trump.
36. “I got here to conclude that quite a lot of instances what he stated was simply type of pleasantries to start a dialog, so I do not know whether or not he actually thought I had dealt with it nicely.”
That is appropriate. Trump, in individual and one on one, is massively solicitous. To a fault.
37. “I didn’t go into the enterprise about — individuals peeing on one another, I simply thought it was a bizarre sufficient expertise for me to be speaking to the incoming president of america about prostitutes in a resort in Moscow.”
“Folks peeing on one another.” Holy moly.
38. “He was very defensive and began to launch into– for causes that I do not perceive, began going into the listing of people that had accused him of touching them improperly, sexual assault and the way he hadn’t performed this, he hadn’t performed that, he hadn’t performed that.”
That is Trump’s first response to the Comey briefing on the Russia resort allegations. His first one!
39. “I do not know whether or not the — the– present president of america was with prostitutes peeing on one another in Moscow in 2013. It is potential, however I do not know.”
I imply, it’s unimaginable to overestimate the seriousness of this assertion. The former FBI Director is not in a position to say, conclusively, that the president wasn’t concerned with prostitutes in Russia.
40. “Bear in mind, that was what I fearful about is that he would suppose I used to be pulling a J. Edgar Hoover, to come back in there and jam him by elevating the prospect of salacious, compromising materials.”
“Pulling a J. Edgar Hoover” is a phrase I may get used to utilizing extra usually.
41. “One more reason you realize it isn’t true is I am a germaphobe. There is not any approach I might let individuals pee on one another round me.”
42. “And I simply keep in mind considering, ‘Every thing’s gone mad.'”
So say all of us.
43. “You’ll suppose that you’d discover me, this giraffe standing on the finish of the room.”
Comey on Comey: “This giraffe.”
44. “Is not he grasp of tv, that is disastrous.”
That is Comey on the Trump handshake. And, sure. And sure.
45. “So I lengthen my hand and he grabs my hand and he pulls in and again.”
That is the traditional Trump handshake transfer. The tug and pull. I imagine he is patented it.
46. “He was going for the hug, going for the hug.”
I’d not have guessed Donald Trump was a hugger.
47. “I am not an unusually sturdy individual however I work out.”
48. “And so the entire world noticed him kiss me.”
This took an sudden flip.
49. “It was to make me a pal of ours.”
50. “He stated, ‘I count on loyalty, I want loyalty.'”
Trump says he by no means stated any such factor. Somebody is just not telling the reality.
51. “We simply stared at one another after which he went on consuming.”
Feels like each date I went on in highschool.
52. “It was him speaking virtually the complete time, which I’ve found is one thing he ceaselessly does.”
Just a little little bit of monologuing by no means damage anybody, proper?
53. “On and on and on and on. Everybody agrees, everybody agrees, I did this, the– I by no means assaulted these ladies, I by no means made enjoyable of a reporter.”
The Trump presidency, in three sentences.
54. “He’s somebody who’s — for whom the reality is just not a excessive worth.”
I really suppose Trump thinks he’s telling the reality. As a result of he repeats it to himself sufficient instances that he turns into satisfied that no matter he says is the reality it doesn’t matter what the precise details bear out.
55. “So what sort of marriage to what sort of man does your spouse suppose there’s solely a 99 % likelihood you did not try this?”
If Trump wasn’t already pissed off about this Comey sitdown (he was!) then this is able to make him loopy. Comey providing judgment on the state of his marriage? Tough.
56. “I am not a comic however I often say one thing that is humorous that individuals chuckle with one another.”
57. “The president was speaking about one thing that had occurred throughout an airing of a interview he did with Invoice O’Reilly on Fox.”
58. “I feel it is potential. I do not know. These are extra phrases I by no means thought I might utter a couple of president of america, nevertheless it’s potential.”
That is Comey’s response to a Stephanopoulos’ query about whether or not the Russians would possibly even have one thing on Trump. His incapability to say “completely not” is — and must be — beautiful.
59. “If he did not know he was doing one thing improper, why did he kick out the lawyer normal and the vp of america and the leaders of the intelligence group?”
It is a superb query from Comey in regards to the Feb. 14 Oval workplace assembly between he and Trump in which the president allegedly requested the FBI director to see a strategy to finish the investigation in former nationwide safety adviser Michael Flynn. Why kick everybody else out if the dialog was completely innocuous and above board?
60. “It is actually some proof of obstruction of justice.”
An enormous accusation right here from Comey in regards that Feb. 14 assembly…
61. “Wow, the world s– continues to go loopy.”
A variation on a theme.
62. “She one way or the other bought the FBI police to go down and get it, scanned it, e-mailed it to me.”
Comey formally discovered he was fired as a result of his assistant scanned him a replica of the letter that the White Home had dropped off on the Bureau. So, so bizarre.
63. “[John Kelly] was very emotional and stated he had seen the information and that he meant to resign as a result of he would not work for individuals who would deal with somebody like me in such a dishonorable approach and that he was going to give up.”
[Narrator voice] He did not give up.
64. “I really gave thought to renting a convertible and driving virtually three,000 miles, one thing I’ve by no means performed.”
I’d completely watch that actuality present.
65. “I took a bottle of purple wine out of my suitcase that I used to be bringing again from California, a California pinot noir, and I drank purple wine from a paper espresso cup and simply seemed out on the lights of the nation I really like a lot as we flew dwelling.”
This was the choice ending of “The Nice Gatsby,” I imagine.
66. “One of many orders that was issued is I used to be by no means to be allowed again on FBI property, like I had killed any person.”
This does deem overly harsh for a former director.
67. “My sense of him, perhaps it is unfair to him, was that he was over matched for the job.”
That “thud” you simply heard was Comey pushing Legal professional Basic Jeff Periods beneath the bus.
68. “I do not suppose he is medically unfit to be president. I feel he is morally unfit to be president.”
This would be the lasting and lingering quote of this interview and perhaps of the complete Comey ebook rollout.
69. “An individual who sees ethical equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats ladies like they’re items of meat, who lies consistently about issues massive and small and insists the American individuals imagine it, that individual’s not match to be president of america, on ethical grounds.”
Whereas the quote immediately above — #68 — will get many of the consideration, this one is , to my thoughts, extra damaging. Comey is saying Trump is amoral, that he lacks any primary ethical construction in any respect. Which is a really harmful factor for the chief of a rustic.
70. “I do not observe [Trump] on Twitter, however I am certain [a tweetstorm is] going to come back.”