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Trump lashes out at Comey as ‘untruthful slime ball’

“It was my great honor to fire James Comey!,” President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter. | Brynn Anderson/AP

The president hits back as the former FBI director begins his media blitz.

Updated

President Donald Trump went into attack mode against James Comey on Friday morning, calling the former FBI director an “untruthful slime ball” and a “liar & leaker” after Comey suggested in an ABC News interview that it is “possible” that salacious allegations about the president and prostitutes in Moscow are true.

“James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH,” Trump wrote in a statement that stretched across two Twitter posts. “He is a weak and untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI. His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst ‘botch jobs’ of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!”

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In his interview with ABC News, Comey recounted his initial interactions with the president regarding a notorious Russia dossier, which was compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and which later public reports showed was funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton. The dossier alleged that the Russian government had secretly filmed Trump with the prostitutes in order to have compromising material on him to use as leverage.

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

The former FBI director’s statements came in excerpts of an ABC News interview that will air in full Sunday evening. The former FBI director is giving interviews to help promote his soon-to-be released book, “A Higher Loyalty.”

Comey said he did not tell the president at the time that the dossier had been funded by his political opponents and that the allegations about the prostitutes in the Moscow hotel room was still unverified when Trump fired him last spring.

At the time of his dismissal, the White House initially said Comey had been fired over his handling of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state and on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Trump reversed course days later, admitting to NBC News that he fired Comey with the bureau’s Russia investigation weighing on his mind.

Recalling his first meeting with Trump, the former FBI director told Stephanopoulos that the January, 2017, briefing he gave the then-president elect about his alleged rendezvous with prostitutes inside a Moscow hotel was “really weird” and “almost an out-of-body experience.” During their one-on-one briefing in Trump Tower, the former FBI director said Trump responded “very defensively” and “started talking about, you know, ‘do I look like a guy who needs hookers?’”

Comey said that earlier, upon briefing Trump and his transition team about Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, the then-president elect’s first question was whether or not those efforts had affected the outcome and then discussion turned immediately to a conversation about messaging and drafting a press release. At no point did Trump or any member of his team ask Comey or the other intelligence chiefs president at the briefing what might come next from Russia or how to stop future cyberattacks from Moscow, the former FBI director said.

James Comey is pictured. | AP Photo

“The reason that was so striking to me is that that’s just not done, that the intelligence community does intelligence, the White House does PR and spin,” Comey said. “It was all, what can we say about what they did and how it affects the election that we just had.”

Beyond the president’s outburst on Twitter, the Trump administration was quick to offer its retort to the first excerpts of Comey’s interview. Online, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared a link to a Republican National Committee-produced video featuring a barrage of Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, offering harsh criticism of the former FBI director.

“One of the few areas of true bipartisan consensus in Washington is Comey has no credibility,” Sanders wrote on her post.

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who served as Trump’s 2016 campaign manager and a top adviser to his transition team, appeared on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” Friday morning and accused Comey of “taking one or two or three meetings with the president and retroactively putting his own spin on them to sell books.” Conway called the former FBI director “self-aggrandizing” and said he “sounds like a disgruntled exempt employee.”

Conway added that Trump asked “for a number of us to respond” to Comey “and I’m happy to do it.”

And in an exchange with reporters as she made her way back inside the White House from her “Fox & Friends” hit, Conway said Comey’s book represented a “a revisionist view of history” that takes “unnecessary immature potshots” at the president.

While the White House has long sought to paint Comey as without credibility, an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Friday showed respondents found the former FBI director more believable than the president by a 16-point margin, 48 percent to 32 percent. The poll was conducted earlier this week, before excerpts of Comey’s interview with Stephanopoulos aired.

James Comey is pictured. | Getty Images

Comey also recalled in his interview with ABC News a dinner he had with Trump shortly after the inauguration, wherein the former FBI director said Trump said he was considering asking the bureau to investigate the dossier and prove it was untrue. Comey said Trump expressed a concern that there was even a 1 percent chance that his wife believed the allegation of what had gone on inside the Moscow hotel room in 2013.

“I remember thinking, how could your wife think there’s a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow,” Comey said. “I’m a flawed human being there’s but literally zero chance that my wife would think that was true. So what kind of marriage to what kind of man does your wife think there’s only a 99 percent chance you didn’t do that.”

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