Comey: Trump’s attacks on FBI make US less safe
Washington – President Donald Trump’s political attacks on the FBI make America less safe because they undermine public confidence that the bureau is an “honest, competent and independent” institution, fired director James Comey told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
In a telephone interview, Comey also said it was logical that special counsel Robert Mueller would seek to interview Trump. Comey also ruled out seeking elected office and said that, as a leader, he took responsibility for some of the turmoil that has surrounded the FBI in recent months.
Comey said it was clear that the president’s blistering attacks on the FBI, including his demands for scrutiny of his political opponents, affect public safety in “hundreds and thousands of ways” – especially if crime victims no longer believe that an agent knocking on their door will help them, or that an agent testifying before a jury can be believed.
“To the extent there’s been a marginal decrease in their credibility at that doorway, in that courtroom and in thousands of other ways, their effectiveness is hit. So it’s hard,” Comey said. “You’re not going to be able to see it, but logic tells me that it’s there, which is why it’s so important that we knock it off as a political culture.”
Trump fired Comey last May, an act now under investigation by Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.
Comey is promoting his new book, “A Higher Loyalty.” He declined to discuss details of Mueller’s investigation, including what questions he’d pose to Trump. But he said it makes sense for Mueller to seek to question the president, whose attorneys have been told that his actions are under investigation but that Trump himself is not a target.
“It doesn’t surprise me, and just as we’ve done in many investigations, you want to develop a complete understanding of the facts and then check them with the subject and see what they say about it,” he said.
Comey said for the near future he is committed to teaching and lecturing about leadership and ethics. But he said he is not interested in running for office or returning to a large law firm.
“I don’t see myself ever returning to government,” Comey said. “Certainly I never see myself running for office, and I can’t imagine an appointed return.
“That’s why,” he joked, “I’m not wearing ties anymore.”
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