Media frenzy hits as snippets from new book leaked
ABC’s promotion of its scheduled Sunday interview with FBI Director James Comey – who leaked his notes of his private conversations with President Trump to the media apparently to prompt an investigation of the commander-in-chief – has sparked a media frenzy.
But even so, reports on Friday about salacious passages included in the book have reached new heights.
The New York Post reported, for example, Comey’s belief that it’s possible the “unverified and salacious” charge, as he once put it, that Trump had prostitutes in a Moscow hotel perform a “golden showers” stunt might have happened.
“I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” he tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
That lewd blast at Trump generated the Post’s headline, “Comey: It’s possible Trump was with hookers ‘peeing on each other.’”
Comey, who briefed Trump on the claims, contained in a dubious opposition-research “dossier,” admitted he did not tell Trump at the time that the claims were from a document paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
“I never said, I don’t believe it,’ because I couldn’t say one way or another,” he said.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., dismissed the book, Comey and all the furor together.
“I can’t think of anyone who’s done a better job of politicizing the FBI than he has in the last 36 to 48 hours, by talking about tanning bed goggles and the length of a tie,” Gowdy said on Fox News. “That is beneath the dignity of the offices that he held.”
The Washington Examiner reported that in the book among other things, Comey mocks Trump’s physical appearance.
“The writing of the book in general and then some of the things that he’s talking about are just frankly beneath the dignity of some really important offices he once held,” Gowdy said.
Politico warned the headlines aren’t likely to die down soon.
Comey claims Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, called his boss “dishonorable” for firing the FBI director.
Politico obtained an early copy of the book, to be released Monday, and quoted Comey’s blast at even the president’s physical appearance.
“His face appeared slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coiffed, bright blond hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his. I remember wondering how long it must take him in the morning to get that done. As he extended his hand, I made a mental note to check its size. It was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.”
The president, who’s not known for letting snide remarks and personal criticisms go unremarked, unleashed.
He tweeted: “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,” Trump wrote in a statement that stretched across two Twitter posts. “He is a weak and 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!”
Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president, dismissed Comey’s criticism.
“I’ve spent more time in the Oval Office in a given day than this man got to spend with the president over the course of his very brief tenure before he was fired,” she told Fox News. “He’s taking one or two or three meetings with the president and retroactively putting his own spin on them to sell books. It seems to me like he sounds like a disgruntled ex-employee who after the fact wants to clear his conscience of what bothered him at the time.”
The Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri offered a parody of “excerpts” from Comey’s book, “if the existing ones are anything to go on.”
“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God, and then, on Dec. 14, 1960, I, James Comey, was born. The initials, as Reinhold Niebuhr would tell us, are no coincidence.”
Another Comey “quote” concocted by Petri: “I truly believed she would win, and I have never been wrong before. Nor have I ever done nothing wrong, ever, in my life. I once saw George Washington chopping down a cherry tree. He had a ruddy, weathered face and small moons beneath his eyes, I assumed from making use of a surveyor’s tools. ‘What are you doing there, George?’ I said, according to my contemporaneous notes. George Washington looked at me like a little boy caught with his hand in the candy jar. ‘Jim,’ he said, ‘are you going to tell?’”
And another: “President Obama and I shared a relationship of mutual respect and many handshakes. We often had entire conversations with only our eyebrows. I consider him a worthy colleague, and I will miss those eyebrow chats.”
At CNN, Rob Crilly commented: “An out-of-control ego intent on promoting its own interests — with no regard for the usual norms and conventions — dishes the dirt with cheap shots at opponents and boorish jokes about their personal appearance. In so doing, it diminishes the standing and the status of one of America’s great institutions, risking deadly confrontation and a spiral into war. Yes, James Comey’s Ego has a lot to answer for.”
The book, he wrote, “all makes for unedifying stuff.”
“Not so much the high-minded work of a whistleblower with a cause as a lurid rant of an ego untethered. Is this how former directors of the FBI are supposed to behave?”
Former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted: “Your kakistocracy is collapsing after its lamentable journey,” he said on social media. “As the greatest nation history has known, we have the opportunity to emerge from this nightmare stronger & more committed to ensuring a better life for all Americans, including those you have so tragically deceived.”
Comey’s book is called “A Higher Loyalty.”
Fox News’ Chris Wallace noted the book has a lot of opinion, no bombshells and his only surprise was how “bitchy” it is.
Trump’s approval rating on Friday held steady at 50 percent.