Comey slams ‘the forest fire that is the Trump presidency’ in book, reports say
(CNN) — A rapid-fire release Thursday evening of news reports based on James Comey’s upcoming book offered a remarkable look into the former FBI director’s relationship with President Donald Trump.
Comey’s recollections detail what he calls Trump’s “mob”-like approach to leadership and take aim at the President’s disposition, which he says created “the forest fire that is the Trump presidency,” according to The Washington Post.
After Trump fired Comey as FBI director last May, news emerged that Comey kept contemporaneous memos on his conversations with Trump, claiming Trump had asked him to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Following reports of the memos, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead a special counsel probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential coordination between Trump’s associates and Russia.
Comey went on to deliver blockbuster testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he accused the President of lying about their interactions.
A pair of reports, one from the New York Post and another from The Washington Post, said that Comey wrote about Trump’s own concern with allegations about blackmail and prostitution contained in an opposition research dossier on Trump written by ex-British intelligence office Christopher Steele, which Comey said the President referred to as “the golden showers thing.”
The reports Thursday set into motion Comey’s expected reemergence in the public eye, ahead of his upcoming book tour.
‘Flashbacks’ of the mob
Comey, a former prosecutor, said in the book that he saw much in common between Trump and the mob bosses he had pursued in a past life.
The Washington Post said Trump gave him “flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the mob.”
“The silent circle of assent,” Comey wrote. “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.”
A book review from The New York Times said Comey even drew parallels between a visit to Trump Tower and New York Mafia social clubs he’d seen in the 1980s and 1990s.
The reported details combine to show the former lawman painting the President as a bully and a liar who sought to muscle federal investigators like himself.
“What is happening now is not normal,” Comey wrote, according to The Washington Post.
The Times review found Comey’s account similarly indicting.
“This President is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” Comey wrote. “His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.”
The Washington Post reported that Comey found Trump obsessed with the prostitution allegation, speaking to him on four separate occasions to deny the claim.
The allegation comes from the infamous dossier of opposition research on links between Russia and Trump compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. The dossier includes an unverified claim that Russian authorities recorded Trump watching prostitutes urinate in a hotel suite.
Comey said Trump called him on January 11, 2017, to explain away the claim.
“‘I’m a germaphobe,'” Comey quoted Trump saying. “‘There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me. No way.'”
CNN reported shortly before Trump took office that top intelligence officials, including Comey, presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him. BuzzFeed News published the full, unverified dossier that included the infamous claim.
Trump lashed out at the reports in a news conference and made a similar comment to what Comey wrote Trump told him.
“I’m also very much of a germaphobe,” Trump said. “Believe me.”
Comey said on the fourth occasion Trump brought up the allegation — during a March 30, 2017, call — the President mentioned that the situation was difficult for first lady Melania Trump.
“For about the fourth time, he argued that the golden showers thing wasn’t true, Comey wrote, according to the Post, asking yet again, ‘Can you imagine me, hookers?'”