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What's in James Comey's book?

Former FBI Director James Comey. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Alex Brandon/AP)

Former FBI director James Comey’s account of his turbulent career in law enforcement, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” is officially out next week, but reviews and excerpts began appearing Thursday. The book is scathing about Comey’s interactions with President Trump, who fired Comey last year over his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and its possible links to the Trump campaign.

Comey calls the president “unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values.” Here are some excerpts from the book as reported in the media:

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“This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.”

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“We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.”

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Discussing a White House meeting including Trump and then chief of staff Reince Priebus, comparing it to organized crime sit-downs he recalled from his career as a prosecutor: “The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”

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On Hillary Clinton, who believes Comey’s public statements may have cost her the election:  “I have read she has felt anger toward me personally, and I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry that I couldn’t do a better job explaining to her and her supporters why I made the decisions I made.”

“It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls. But I don’t know.”

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Meeting with President Obama after the election: “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.”

On the verge of tears, Comey told Obama, “Boy, were those words I needed to hear. … I’m just trying to do the right thing.”

“I know,” Obama said. “I know.”

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On the salacious account in the “Steele dossier” of Trump, in Russia, asking prostitutes to urinate on a hotel bed: “He brought up what he called the ‘golden showers thing’ … adding that it bothered him if there was ‘even a one percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true.”

Trump “strongly denied the allegations, asking — rhetorically, I assumed — whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes. He then began discussing cases where women had accused him of sexual assault, a subject I had not raised. He mentioned a number of women, and seemed to have memorized their allegations.”

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“I’m a germaphobe,” Trump told him. “There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me. No way.”


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