During much of the interview, Comey seems disciplined and almost dispassionate. But at the end, he lets loose in a remarkable way
“I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia. He strikes me as a person of above average intelligence who’s tracking conversations and knows what’s going on. I don’t think he’s medically unfit to be president. I think he’s morally unfit to be president.
“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. And that’s not a policy statement. Again, I don’t care what your views are on guns or immigration or taxes.
“There’s something more important than that should unite all of us, and that is our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country. The most important being truth. This president is not able to do that. He is morally unfit to be president.”
Stephanopoulos: “How strange is it for you to sit here and compare the president to a mob boss?”
Comey: “Very strange. And I don’t do it lightly. I — and I’m not trying to, by the way, suggest that President Trump is out breaking legs and — you know, shaking down shopkeepers. But instead, what I’m talking about is that leadership culture constantly comes back to me when I think about my experience with the Trump administration. The — the loyalty oaths, the boss as the dominant center of everything, it’s all about how do you serve the boss, what’s in the boss’ interests. It’s the family, the family, the family, the family. That’s why it reminds me so much and not, ‘So what’s the right thing for the country and what are the values of the institutions that we’re dealing with?’ ”
“And so I’m walking forward thinking that, thinking: ‘How could he think this is a good idea? That he’s going to try to hug me, the guy that a whole lot of people think, although that’s not true, but think I tried to get him elected president and did. Isn’t he master of television? This is disastrous.’”
“I say that in my book because I’m trying to be honest, because that’s the truth. There had been all this controversy and mocking about hand size; I can’t remember the details. But as I shook his hand, I made a note to check the size, and it seemed like he had average-sized hands.”
“It was him talking almost the entire time, which I’ve discovered is something he frequently does. And so it would be monologue in this direction, monologue in that direction, monologue in a different direction.
“And a constant series of assertions that — about the inauguration crowd, about how great my inauguration speech was, about all the free media — earned media, I think was his term, that I got during the campaign. On and on and on and on. Everyone agrees, everyone agrees, I did this, the — I never assaulted these women, I never made fun of a reporter.
“And — I’m sure you’re wondering what question did I ask that would prompt those? None, zero. I didn’t ask any questions that I recall.”