President Donald Trump fired back at former FBI Director James Comey Friday morning, calling him an “untruthful slime ball” and saying it was an honor to terminate him.
The president delivered the broadside via a pair of tweets less than 12 hours after leaked excerpts of Comey’s new memoir were published by several media outlets who received advanced copies. In it, the career law enforcement officer pulls few punches, painting a portrait of a self-obsessed chief executive who struggles to tell the truth and operates like a mob boss.
Comey recalls a meeting in the Oval Office early in Trump’s presidency during which he sat behind the Resolute desk, but Comey said Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama always held such meetings by sitting in a chair across the room as others sat on the room’s two sofas.
“He didn’t look comfortable. He was sitting, suit jacket on, close against the famous Resolute desk, both forearms on the desk,” Comey wrote, according to Axios, adding Trump appeared to be sitting on a “throne, protected by a large wooden obstacle.”
The president, who is often tweeting in the early morning hours, didn’t respond until after 8 a.m. But once he did, he also let his feelings about his first FBI boss be known.
Trump labeled Comey “a proven LEAKER & LIAR,” adding “Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired.”
Trump accused the former law enforcement chief of leaking “CLASSIFIED information,” and saying Comey “should be prosecuted” because he “lied to Congress under OATH.”
The president, who also was an executive producer of “The Apprentice” and regularly sets the days media narrative, ended his first rebuttal tweet with this: “He is a weak and…”
He left his 50.5 million Twitter followers hanging for 16 minutes before finishing that thought with: “....untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI.”
James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2018
As he has for more than a year, the president again slammed Comey for his handling of the bureau looking into how 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton handled classified and sensitive information as secretary of state. She used a private email server, and the FBI did interview her about it — though never under oath — and cleared her soon after, to candidate Trump’s chagrin.
The president believes Comey and the Justice Department gave Clinton special treatment, but is treating him unfairly as Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia election meddling and Trump obstruction investigations continue. But Comey penned a letter on Oct. 28, 2016, just days before the election, saying he was re-opening the Clinton email probe due to new potential evidence; some political analysts say that likely caused some undecided voters to either flip to Trump or stay home on Election Day.
Comey’s handling of that case, Trump tweeted, “will go down as one of the worst ‘botch jobs’ of history,” adding with gusto: “It was my great honor to fire James Comey!”
....untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI. His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst “botch jobs” of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2018
Botch or not, the fired FBI boss is poised to rake in ample profits from his book as he begins a nationwide book tour.
Comey’s 304-page book is the first from a former Trump administration official who was present for the first days and weeks of the former reality television star and real estate mogul-turned-president in the White House. That means it is the first to pull back the curtain on those turbulent weeks, though reports indicate Comey clearly has an ax to grind with his former boss — including a charge Trump has only a loose relationship with the truth.
“This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” Comey wrote in the book, according to outlets that received advanced copies.
The former FBI director saw similarities between the Trump White House and his days investigating organized crime organizations in New York.
“The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview,” he wrote, according to the New York Times. “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.”
Other media outlets reported Comey describing a dinner with Trump at the White House just days after the 45th president was sworn in. That portion of the tome makes clear that Comey, as he told lawmakers, believed the president was demanding a loyalty pledge.
“Now it was pretty clear to me what was happening,” Comey wrote, according to Axois. “The setup of the dinner, both the physical layout of a private meal and Trump’s pretense that he had not already asked me to stay on multiple occasions, convinced me this was an effort to establish a patronage relationship.
“Somebody probably had told him, or maybe it just occurred to him at random, that he’d ‘given’ me the job for ‘free’ and that he needed to get something in return,” he added.
Comey got surprisingly personal, describing his initial physical impression of Trump as him being “slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles.”