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Comey labels Trump 'unfit' to hold office

China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-17 09:30
Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, June 8, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

US leader says he never pressed ex-FBI director to be loyal to him

WASHINGTON - Former FBI director James Comey said in an ABC News interview on Sunday that US President Donald Trump is a dangerous, "morally unfit" leader doing "tremendous damage" to institutional norms.

Comey was fired by Trump in May last year.

His dismissal came as the Federal Bureau of Investigation was probing possible connections between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia's meddling in the US elections.

Russia has denied interfering in the election and Trump has denied any collusion or improper activity.

Comey said in the exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, which aired on Sunday, that "a person ... who talks about and treats women like they're pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person's not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds. And that's not a policy statement".

"He is morally unfit to be president," he added.

"Values matter," Comey continued, adding "this president does not reflect the values of this country."

He also said: "People in this country need to stand up and go to the voting booth and vote their values."

Comey has a tell-all book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, due out on Tuesday.

The book's imminent release - and the slated ABC News interview - prompted Trump to hurl a new set of insults at Comey earlier on Sunday, challenging accusations made in the book, and insisting that he never pressed Comey to be loyal to him.

"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!" Trump wrote early on Sunday in one of five Twitter posts aimed directly at Comey.

Reuters and other news outlets have obtained copies of Comey's book before its formal release. In it, Comey wrote that Trump, in a private meeting, pressed the then-FBI director for his loyalty.

Comey told ABC News that the title of the book came from a "bizarre conversation" he had with Trump at the White House in January 2017 shortly after his inauguration.

"He asked for my loyalty personally as the FBI director. My loyalty's supposed to be to the American people and to the institution," Comey said in the interview.

The FBI has long tried to operate as an independent law enforcement agency.

"I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His "memos" are self serving and FAKE!" Trump said on Twitter.

US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, interviewed on NBC's Meet the Press, expressed qualified support for Comey. Asked whether Comey was a man of integrity, the Republican speaker said: "As far as I know", but added that he did not know him well.

Asked about Trump's use last week of the words "slime ball" to describe Comey, Ryan said: "I don't use words like that."

Reuters - Ap - Xinhua

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