Comey attacks Trump’s integrity, questions his marriage in new book

Bret Baier to interview James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey describes President Trump as "untethered to truth" and "ego-driven" in his forthcoming book "A Higher Loyalty," according to excerpts obtained by The Associated Press and other news outlets Thursday.

In the book, which hits shelves April 17, Comey goes so far as to question the strength of Trump’s marriage to his wife, Melania, after revealing that Trump asked him to investigate salacious allegations about his actions with Russian prostitutes.

"It bothered [President Trump] if there was ‘even a one percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true," Comey writes, according to the New York Post. Later on, Comey muses: "In what kind of marriage, to what kind of man, does a spouse conclude there is only a 99 percent chance her husband didn’t do that?"

The claim was repeated in a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and published by BuzzFeed News in January 2017, shortly before Trump’s inauguration.

That’s not the only personal jab at Trump: The 6-foot-8 Comey describes the president as shorter than he expected with a "too long" tie and "bright white half-moons" under his eyes that he suggests came from tanning goggles. He also says he made a conscious effort to check the president’s hand size — briefly a subject of mockery among Trump’s Republican rivals on the campaign trail — saying it was "smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so."

The book adheres closely to Comey’s public testimony and written statements about his contacts with the president during the early days of the administration and his growing concern about the president’s integrity, the excerpts suggest.

Comey’s account lands at a particularly sensitive moment for Trump and the White House. Officials there describe Trump as enraged over a recent FBI raid of his personal lawyer’s home and office, raising the prospect that he could fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, or try to shut down the probe on his own. The Republican National Committee is poised to lead the pushback effort against Comey, who is set to do a series of interviews to promote the book, by launching a website and supplying surrogates with talking points that question the former director’s credibility.

Trump has said he fired Comey because of his handling of the FBI’s investigation into his Clinton’s email practices. Trump used the investigation as a cudgel in the campaign and repeatedly said Clinton should be jailed for using a personal email system while serving as secretary of state. Democrats, on the other hand, have accused Comey of politicizing the investigation, and Clinton herself has said it hurt her election prospects.

Comey writes that he regrets his approach and some of the wording he used in his July 2016 press conference in which he announced the decision not to prosecute Clinton. But he says he believes he did the right thing by going before the cameras and making his statement, noting that the Justice Department had done so in other high profile cases, the excerpts show.

Every person on the investigative team, Comey writes, found that there was no prosecutable case against Clinton and that the FBI didn’t find that she lied under its questioning.

He also reveals for the first time that the U.S. government had unverified classified information that he believes could have been used to cast doubt on Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s independence in the Clinton probe, according to the excerpts. While Comey does not outline the details of the information — and says he didn’t see indications of Lynch inappropriately influencing the investigation — he says it worried him that the material could be used to attack the integrity of the probe and the FBI’s independence.

Comey’s book will be heavily scrutinized by the president’s legal team looking for any inconsistencies between it and his public testimony, under oath, before Congress. They will be looking to impeach Comey’s credibility as a key witness in Mueller’s obstruction investigation, which the president has cast as a political motivated witch hunt.

He provides new details of his firing. He writes that then-Homeland Security secretary John Kelly — now Trump’s chief of staff — offered to quit out of a sense of disgust as to how Comey was dismissed, as well as his first encounter with Trump, a January 2017 briefing at Trump Tower in New York City. Kelly has been increasingly marginalized in the White House and the president has mused to confidantes about firing the chief of staff.

Comey also writes extensively about his first meeting with Trump after his election. Others in the meeting included Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Michael Flynn, who would become national security adviser, and incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer. Comey was also joined by NSA Director Mike Rogers, CIA Director John Brennan and DNI Director James Clapper.

After Clapper briefed the team on the intelligence community’s findings of Russian election interference, Comey said he was taken aback by what the Trump team didn’t ask.

"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. Instead, he writes, they launched into a strategy session about how to "spin what we’d just told them" for the public.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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