James Comey Met President Trump on His Own Terms – and Came Away Looking Smaller

James Comey’s splashy interview Sunday night with George Stephanopouloso on ABC News’s 20/20 showed the fired former FBI director, promoting his new memoir, as a man at ease in front of cameras. That should come as little surprise to anyone who’s followed the news since the 2016 election.

His highlight reel of TV appearances stacks up well against those of many in the uniquely TV-friendly Trump Administration – if not that of our former Apprentice-hosting commander-in-chief. And on ABC, the lawman met President Donald Trump on his own reality-TV-ready terms.

Comey, dressed flashily – especially by the standards of a lifelong fed – in a cerulean plaid blazer with naggingly eye-catching gold-stitched label buttonhole, described his first impressions of the President this way: “He had impressively coiffed hair: It looks to be all his. … His tie was too long, as it always is. He looked slightly orange up close with small white half moons under his eyes, which I assume are from tanning googles.” This was the interview’s opening; at the end of a frantically paced hour, Comey declared that Trump was “morally unfit” to be President.

Both angles—the petty jibes over appearance and the high-flying discussion of moral fitness — suit the TV personality from whom viewers know by now to expect a flair for a certain self-dramatizing rectitude. In his July 2016 appearance before cameras to announce the FBI was not recommending criminal charges against then-candidate Hillary Clinton, Comey began, “This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways.”

Eleven months — and an era — later, Comey made headlines after his assiduously camera-ready declaration before the Senate Intelligence Committee that “Lordy,” he hoped “there are tapes” of his private conversations with Trump.

It would seem that Comey, now free to express his disdain for Trump, would have a special power as Trump’s exact opposite, not just a nemesis but someone whose core traits are diametrically opposed to the President’s own. And yet much in ABC’s special conspired to make him seem less like the avenger prepared to take the President down than just another player in a game whose rules Trump himself has set forth. Comey, a giant of a man (he’s 6-foot-8) who dominated the frame on ABC as elsewhere, has seemed odd before, but he’d never before seemed quite so small.

To wit: Comey’s first briefing with Trump, in which Comey says the two men discussed a purported dossier about Trump’s time with prostitutes in Moscow, was “really weird.” Before that, his time immediately following sending a letter to Congress about re-opening the investigation into Hillary Clinton that may have clinched the election for Trump? “It sucked.” (He invites his critics to “come with me to October 28,” when the letter was sent, by reading his book.)

Throughout, Comey seemed blessed by the same terse certitude as the man he now derides, along with the same ease with promoting wares for sale in the midst of doing other business. Referring to the disdain with which both …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


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