NEWS
16/04/2018 10:34 BST | Updated 16/04/2018 12:07 BST

James Comey ABC Interview: 5 Key Accusations About Donald Trump

The former FBI director slammed the president as 'morally unfit'.

Former FBI director James Comey has slammed Donald Trump as “morally unfit” to be president and accused him of treating women “like they’re pieces of meat”. 

In a searing interview with ABC News, Comey touched on many of the scandals that have plagued the Trump administration over the past 16 months, including the Russia dossier and the litany of sexual misconduct allegations levelled at the president.

Carlos Barria / Reuters
James Comey has given a searing interview about President Donald Trump 

It is the first television interview that Comey, who is promoting his new book ‘A Higher Loyalty’, has given since he was fired as head of the FBI by Trump last May.

The book has triggered a furious response from Trump, who took to Twitter to call Comey “the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!” 

Here are the five key claims from Comey’s explosive interview... 

1. Trump is ‘morally unfit’ to be president 

Comey, who served as head of the FBI for almost four years before his dismissal, told ABC host George Stephanopoulos that Trump is “morally unfit” to be president of the US. 

“A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds,” he said. 

Later referencing concerns about 71-year-old Trump’s health, Comey added: “I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia.

“I don’t think he’s medically unfit to be president. I think he’s morally unfit to be president.” 

ABC News via Getty Images
George Stephanopoulos interviewed Comey for ABC News

2. The president could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail 

Comey alleged that the president could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, saying it was “possible” Russia has “something” on Trump. 

“I think it’s possible,” he told Stephanopoulos. “I don’t know. These are more words I never thought I’d utter about a president of the United States, but it’s possible.”

During the interview, the pair touched on the infamous Steele dossier, which was compiled by a former British spy and alleged that footage exists of Trump watching prostitutes urinating in a Moscow hotel suite.

According to the former FBI director, Trump was obsessed with disproving the claims. 

Comey said he was unsure whether the rumours were true. 

“I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the ― the ― current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” Comey said.

“It’s possible, but I don’t know.”

3. It’s ‘possible’ Trump obstructed justice 

During the interview, Comey also described a conversation with Trump in which he said the president asked him to drop an investigation into then-national security advisor Michael Flynn, who eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian government. 

According to Comey, the day after Flynn resigned from his post, the president attempted to pressure him into axing the probe.

Trump has strongly denied the claims, threatening to release recordings of the conversation to prove so. 

Comey told Stephanopoulos he would be a “crazy person” to make up such accusations, saying he hoped the tapes exist. 

Carlos Barria / Reuters
Trump with former national security advisor Michael Flynn

“If he didn’t know he was doing something improper, why did he kick out the attorney general and the vice president of the United States and the leaders of the intelligence community? I mean, why am I alone?” Comey said about a meeting he had with Trump.  

When asked whether he believed the president had obstructed justice, he replied: “Possibly”. 

“I mean, it’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice.

“It would depend and ― and I’m just a witness in this case, not the investigator or prosecutor ― it would depend upon other things that reflected on his intent.”

4. But the president should not be impeached 

Despite Comey’s claims, the author said that Trump should not be impeached from office, saying he should be removed from his post by voters.  

“I think impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook,” he said. 

“People in this country need to stand up and go to the voting booth and vote their values,” Comey said. “And impeachment in a way would short-circuit that.”

5. Comey believes he did the right thing regarding Hilary Clinton 

Brian Snyder / Reuters
Hilary Clinton has claimed Comey's letter was pivotal to her defeat in the presidential election 

During the interview, Comey stood by his handling of the investigation into Hilary Clinton’s use of a private email server, saying he would still send the letter which effectively re-opened the probe 11 days before the presidential election. 

Clinton has claimed that the letter was a key factor in her defeat. 

Asked whether Comey would still send the letter if he had known if would help elect Donald Trump, he replied: “I would”, adding that the FBI must remain an “independent force in American life”. 

“If I ever start considering whose political fortunes will be affected by a decision, we’re done,” he said. 

“We’re no longer that group in America that is apart from the partisans, and that can be trusted. We’re just another player in the― in the tribal battle.”