WASHINGTON/NEW YORK — President Donald Trump attacked James Comey as a “weak and untruthful slime ball” on Friday after the fired former FBI director castigated him as an unethical liar and likened him to a mob moss in a searing new memoir.
The president fired Comey last May while his agency was investigating potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 U.S. election in a move that led the Justice Department to appoint Special Counsel Robert Mueller to take over a probe that has hung over his presidency.
“This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” Comey said in the book due out Tuesday, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.
Trump has often publicly criticized Comey since firing him, but escalated his attacks in response to the book.
“It was my great honor to fire James Comey!” Trump said in one of a series of scorching Twitter messages, adding that Comey — now one of the Republican president’s fiercest critics — had been a terrible FBI director.
The tirade followed news accounts of Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” which paints a deeply unflattering picture of Trump, comparing him to a mob boss who stresses personal loyalty over the law and has little regard for morality or truth.
Mueller is looking into whether Trump has sought to obstruct the Russia probe, and Comey could be a key witness on that front. Comey last year accused Trump of pressuring him to pledge loyalty and end a probe involving former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Moscow.
“James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR,” Trump wrote.
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Trump accused Comey of lying to Congress, but did not specify was he was referring to, and said the former FBI chief should be prosecuted for leaking classified information.
Trump has denied any collusion and has called Mueller’s investigation a witch hunt.
The interviews are Comey’s first public comments since he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last June, when he accused Trump of firing him to undermine the FBI’s Russia investigation. Just days after Trump fired Comey, the president said he did it because of “this Russia thing.”
In an interview Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Comey discussed his initial encounters last year with Trump, who took office on Jan. 20, 2017.
He described Trump as volatile, defensive and concerned more about his own image than about whether Russia meddled in the presidential election.