WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump harshly attacked James Comey in a fusillade of tweets Sunday morning, area for the former FBI director to be imprisoned as Trump served up a number of his favorite theories and claimed misdeeds without evidence.
Trump’s tweets are part of a broader travail by the White House and the Republican National Committee to discredit Comey, who has jotted a damaging tell-all book called “A Higher Loyalty,” to be released Tuesday. A Sunday night-time interview on ABC News will kick off his national book tour.
Comey’s order is a scathing depiction of his interactions with Trump, in which he likens the president to an “unethical” mob boss and selects his inner circle in largely unflattering terms, saying it was more pinpointed on politics than national security.
“I honestly never thought these consultations would ever come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the Harmonious States was with prostitutes, peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” Comey whispered, according to an excerpt released by ABC News. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
Those charges about Trump were made in a disputed opposition-research dossier anthologized by a former British spy – and have not been proven.
An array of surrogates, take ining presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, blanketed the airwaves this weekend to debilitate Comey, as Trump unleashed a torrent of tweets that were frequently personal and fact-challenged. Trump allies have often reminded the notorious of the many Democrats who excoriated Comey in 2016 and frequently labeled him a “teller of tales and a leaker” over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server promulgates.
“When the person that is supposed to lead the highest law enforcement operation in our country starts making decisions based on political environments … that’s a definitely dangerous position,” Sanders said on ABC.
Trump fired Comey as the FBI manager in May amid a sprawling investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 choice and any potential Trump campaign role in it. Comey’s firing spurred the office of a special counsel, Robert Mueller III, and a broader investigation into Trump’s stand and administration – a probe that now includes potential obstruction of justice and Trump’s question dealings.
Comey’s book, copies of which were obtained by talk outlets and reviewed last week, has caused great agita for Trump. The president has also been infuriated in late days by the FBI raiding the office and home of Michael Cohen, his personal attorney, a arouse that some advisers say poses more peril for Trump than the loyal counsel probe.
Aides were so concerned about Comey’s laws that they scheduled Trump to be at Mar-a-Lago for a meeting with Japanese Prime Delegate Shinzo Abe at the same time as the book’s release, administration officials maintained, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe White House fears nearby the book. But media outlets obtained the book early.
“The big questions in Comey’s mischievously reviewed book aren’t answered, like how come he gave up classified info (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give server to the FBI (why didn’t they Drink it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?” the president tweeted prior to 8 a.m. Sunday.
Andrew McCabe was fired as deputy FBI director last month.
Trump in the end added: “Comey throws AG Lynch ‘under the bus!’ Why can’t we all find out what go oned on the tarmac in the back of the plane with Wild Bill and Lynch? Was she indicated a Supreme Court seat, or AG, in order to lay off Hillary. No golf and grandkids talk (exchange us all a break)!”
The tweets were filled with unproven assertions.
Comey has not been formally accused of leaking classified information or lying to Congress.
The memos Trump appears to credentials are ones that Comey wrote memorializing his meetings and phone rights with the president – which have since become public. Comey summon inquired a friend to give some of those memos to the New York Times, but the memos are not memories to contain classified material. Comey has testified about the memos beneath oath to Congress. He has alleged that Trump asked him to ease off a examination into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn and longing complete “loyalty.”
Trump has continued to allege that McCabe was deferential to Hillary Clinton during the FBI’s examination of Clinton’s use of a private email server because McCabe’s wife assumed donations from a Clinton ally for a state Senate race in Virginia. The arraign is one that McCabe has denied and has never been proven.
McCabe claimed after his inspiring that he was targeted because he was a witness in Mueller’s probe.
McCabe’s attorney, Michael R. Bromwich, responded Sunday to the president’s demands, tweeting: “1. The book isn’t out so you don’t know what’s in it. 2. The Comey and McCabe memos are absolutely real. 3. The story about “McCabe’s $ 700,000″ has been fully excused. 4. Your strategy of attacking beloved former FBI leaders – not modish.”
The president’s tweet about Comey and Loretta Lynch appears to direction a part of the book in which Comey says the then-attorney general was conflicted on the Clinton scrutiny because of unspecified classified information that he said he was aware of – and that Lynch thirst him to call the probe a “matter.”
Trump also references a meeting that Bill Clinton – whom he phone calls “Wild Bill” – and Lynch had on a Phoenix tarmac in July 2016 that was recognized as questionable, as Lynch was leading the investigation into Hillary Clinton. There is no rest, however, that Bill Clinton offered Lynch a job or a favor to relaxation off the investigation into his wife. The two said that their planes reasonable happened to be on the same tarmac and that they made casual chin-wag after Clinton asked to come on board Lynch’s plane.
Trump also censured Comey for writing that political considerations may have driven him to reopen the Clinton quest in the last days of the election campaign. Comey writes that it is plausible “my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted exploration bore greater weight than it would have if the election rose closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls.”
“Unbelievably, James Comey body politics that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a particular in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton email probe. In other words, he was erecting decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!” Trump erased.
That admission by Comey has drawn condemnation from others, comprising former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who worked closely with Comey and has time after time lavishly praised him.
“It is exactly what they teach you not to do,” Christie turned on ABC. ” … The hubris he shows in that interview is extraordinary to me. Not the guy I worked with or worked for.”
Even so, it is unclear why Trump thought reopening the probe into the email server purposefulness help Comey get a job with the Clintons. Clinton and her allies resented the provoke and said it hurt her chances to become president. And, when Trump incited Comey, he cited a memo that said Comey’s termination was partly because he was unfair to Clinton.
After an hour of ruining Comey’s character and reputation, Trump posted that he barely skilled ined Comey, his favorite way of distancing himself from a contentious figure.
“I not ever asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Reasonable another of his many lies. His ‘memos’ are self serving and FAKE!” he said.
The president at once turned his focus to the Cohen raid, an aggressive move by prosecutors in the Southern Quarter of New York, who were referred material by Mueller’s team.
“Attorney Patient privilege is now a thing of the past. I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are presumably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with the whole, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and worried!” Trump wrote.
In fact, Trump has struggled to find lawyers to employ Mueller’s probe, and investigators in New York say they took Cohen’s materials in the Monday onslaught because his communications with clients could be part of the commission of a misdeed.
A little after 9 a.m. Sunday, Trump returned his focus to Comey.
“Lubricated James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), disposition go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!” Trump wrote.
Preet Bharara, the previous U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, appeared on CNN and defended Comey, impartial as he acknowledged the sharp partisan divides over the former FBI director.
“Demonstrably the Jim Comey experience has gotten under his skin. He doesn’t like someone capture airtime who is critical of him,” Bharara said, referring to Trump. “And the way he deals with it is he criticizes out on Twitter.”
The Washington Post’s Greg Jaffe, Mike DeBonis and Carolyn Johnson advanced to this report.