In a surprising twist, ABC and CBS journalists on Friday were taken aback by the “petty” and “personal” way in which James Comey goes about “settling some scores,” even comparing him to J. Edgar Hoover. On CBS This Morning, Jeff Pegues highlighted Comey “taking shots at the President... talking about his height and some of his physical characteristics. This is James Comey definitely settling some scores here.”
Co-host John Dickerson pointed out the hypocrisy in the new book A Higher Loyalty: “Comey is trying to say there are standards and a certain ethical bar that the President is beneath. But, you know, he makes little digs about the size of the President's hands, talks about the color of his skin.”
The question is whether those morals he’s trying to write this book about get caught up in what is just a political fight and therefore they look like another tool in that fight, which actually brings down their ability to measure the standards of our lawmakers. Turns them into just another thing to use in a back and forth.
Co-host Gayle King, no conservative, chided that “it looks like pettiness too.” She quickly added though, “That said, I can't wait to read that book.”
Journalist Cecilia Vega on ABC’s Good Morning America was shocked by how rough the ex-FBI Director sounds in his new book:
I’m also really struck by the language that Comey is using to describe the President. He calls his presidency a forest fire. The President himself, he says, is ego driven. And he gets really personal. He talks about the President’s appearance, saying that he appeared shorter in person. And this line was wow to me, he said that he appeared — the President appeared orange from tanning.
GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos, who will interview Comey on Sunday night, marveled: “Even made comments about the size of his hands.” ABC journalist Pierre Thomas even went so far as to invoke liberal boogeyman J. Edgar Hoover:
I spoke to a critic last night who said that the book had an unseemly tell-all quality to it, especially for a former FBI director, and was indicative of Comey’s own ego and desire for the spotlight. Make no mistake, Comey is a lightning rod, perhaps the best known and most controversial FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover.
However, to Stephanopoulos, this makes Comey simply a “man on a mission,” rather than someone lowering himself to Trump’s level.
A transcript of the CBS coverage is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
JOHN DICKERSON: Justice correspondent Jeff Pegues is outside FBI headquarters. Jeff, good morning. Let me ask you about this book. What strikes you? The news that is in the book or the scathing tone and judgment from the former FBI director?
JEFF PEGUES; Well, all of those things strike me about this book. This is Comey not holding back. He is definitely settling some scores in this book. You know? He talks about some of his interactions with President Trump, especially during that briefing in January of 2017 before the inauguration where he was briefing President Trump or candidate or President-Elect Trump on the context of that dossier that was compiled by the former British spy and the Russian investigation. So, there are new details there. He's talking about the interactions with the President and, though, he's taking shots at the president, too, with these personal slights, talking about his height and some of his physical characteristics. This is James Comey definitely settling some scores here.
DICKERSON: Fired FBI Director James Comey says President Trump threatens much of what is good in this nation. Comey writES about the president in his new memoir, A Higher Loyalty." The Republican Party calls it self-serving.
GAYLE KING: The book addresses the possibility that Mr. Trump obstructed justice in part by asking Comey to let go of the investigation of fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. But Comey writes this: “The behavior I saw while disturbing and violating basic norms of ethical leadership may fall short of being illegal.”
NORAH O’DONNELL: Comey also looks at the Hillary Clinton e-mail server investigation. Republicans have condemned his handling of the case. Some Democrats say he cost Clinton the presidency by reopening the probe just before the election. Comey says that after the election, then-President Obama told him, “I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability. I want you to know that nothing, nothing has happened in the last year to change my view.”
DICKERSON: And the President has just tweeted in response to this, saying “Comey is a leaker and a liar. You know, what's interesting about this book, Comey is trying to say there are standards and a certain ethical bar that the President is beneath. But, you know, he makes little digs about the size of the President's hands, talks about the color of his skin. The question is whether those morals he’s trying to write this book about get caught up in what is just a political fight and therefore they look like another tool in that fight, which actually brings down their ability to measure the standards of our lawmakers. Turns them into just another thing to use in a back and forth.
KING: And it looks like pettiness too. But that said, I can't wait to read that book.