NPR Interviews Former FBI Director James Comey In two separate interviews airing on Morning Edition and WHYY's Fresh Air, former FBI director James Comey spoke with NPR about his new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.
NPR logo NPR Interviews Former FBI Director James Comey

NPR Interviews Former FBI Director James Comey

James Comey poses for a portrait at NPR's New York Bureau. Mr. Comey, served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from September 4, 2013 until his dismissal on May 9, 2017, less than 4 years into his 10-year term . On April 17, 2018 Comey will release his latest book, "A Higher Loyalty", revealing details of his work during the Trump administration. Elias Williams for NPR Elias Williams/Elias Williams for NPR hide caption

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Elias Williams/Elias Williams for NPR

James Comey poses for a portrait at NPR's New York Bureau. Mr. Comey, served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from September 4, 2013 until his dismissal on May 9, 2017, less than 4 years into his 10-year term . On April 17, 2018 Comey will release his latest book, "A Higher Loyalty", revealing details of his work during the Trump administration. Elias Williams for NPR

Elias Williams/Elias Williams for NPR

In two separate interviews airing on Tuesday's Morning Edition and WHYY's Fresh Air, former FBI director James Comey spoke with NPR about his new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.

Excerpts can be attributed to NPR News and WHYY's Fresh Air

Stations and broadcast times are available at NPR.org/stations.

Excerpt: WHYY's Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviewed James Comey on Monday morning:

In 2003, as the acting then acting Attorney General, James Comey appointed the special prosecutor in the Scooter Libby Case. WHYY's Terry Gross asked Comey if he felt President Donald Trump's pardoning of Scooter Libby was a personal attack, seeking to undo his work on the case. Comey said:

"I don't. Ringing in my head is something my wife has said to me a lot throughout my life, 'it's not about you dear.' I doubt that he's thinking about me when he's doing that, but that doesn't mean it's not an attack on the rule of law. There's a reason that President George W. Bush, for whom Scooter Libby worked, refused to pardon him after reviewing the case in detail. There was overwhelming evidence that he lied intentionally to investigators and to the grand jury. I tell the story of the Scooter Libby case in the book because the book is not about Donald Trump, he's part of it, but a big part of the book is about 'so what are the values that are at the core of our work in the justice system and one of them is people have to tell the truth in the course of our investigations or the rule of law fails.' The Libby case was incredibly important, and justified by overwhelming facts. To pardon now, is an attack on the rule of law."

Excerpts: NPR Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep and Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson interviewed James Comey on Monday Evening.

Discussing his congressional testimony, Comey said:

"Normally you don't want your witnesses out talking if they're going to have to testify later. The advantage in my circumstance is that my testimony is locked down. I testified in front of Congress extensively, I wrote memos, I wrote written testimony and so long as I continue to tell the truth, and don't start making stuff up that's inconsistent with that testimony, I don't see an issue. Again I don't know whether there's going to be a future proceeding where I'll be needed, but if there is, I think the prosecutors will be ok with me."

When discussing his criticism of the Justice Department leadership, Comey said:

"I can't speak to the AG, I mean that was my impression, I'm trying to be honest in the book, that was my impression of him in the three weeks, four weeks we worked together. With respect to the deputy attorney general, I think it is very important that he stay because I do think he has conducted himself honorably with respect to his appointment of a special counsel and his assertion of that special counsel's work to the rule of law, and so I really do think it would be an attack on the rule of law for him to be fired or for the special counsel to be fired."

When asked if it was appropriate for former deputy at the FBI Andrew McCabe to be fired, Comey said:

"That's a judgment I can't make...what is appropriate is that the Inspector General did the kind of investigation that that organization did. This is what an institution committed to the truth looks like. This is what accountability looks like. There is indications that someone made a false statement...it is pursued, it is investigated....The problem with this whole situation is the president stained those institutions, the entire Department of Justice, and the inspector general, by doing something wildly inappropriate, which is calling for Andy McCabe's head....That called into question the entire process, even if the process was sound, and I've no doubt it was sound....There's corrosive doubt about whether it's a political fix to get Andy McCabe somehow and that's a wound that was inflicted by the president's actions on the Department of Justice."

When asked about his criticisms of President Trump's appearance, including the length of his tie, Comey said:

"I'm not making fun of the president, I'm trying to be an author, which I've never been before in my life. While I'm typing I can hear my editor's voice ringing in my head, 'bring the reader with you, show them inside your head.' And by the way, not that this matters, but I found his hands to be above average in size. I'm not making fun of the man, I'm trying to tell the reader what's in my head."

When asked about a series of tweets from President Trump over the weekend, one of which suggested Comey might be facing time in "jail," Comey said:

"The president of the United States just tweeted that a private citizen should be jailed. And I think the reaction of most of us was, 'meh, it's another one of those things. This is not normal. This is not ok. There is a danger that we will become numb to it and we will stop noticing the threats to our norms."


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