Highly anticipated. Abuzz. Blockbuster. These are words that were floating around yesterday ahead of ABC airing the George Stephanopolous interview of former FBI Director and current Trump foil James Comey.
Not to mention the unspoken one from Loretta Lynch: dishonest.
On Sunday night, the big interview aired, and of course all the more buzz and gossip followed. The most talked-about moment was when Comey called President Trump “morally unfit” for office.
Not exactly going out on a limb there but a newsworthy soundbite I guess.
There were other highlights worth noting. ABC News released some of the top moments from the interview. Watch.
FIRING ROBERT MUELLER WOULD BE AN ATTACK ON THE RULE OF LAW
STEPHANOPOLOUS: “What will it mean if President Trump tries to fire Robert Mueller?”
COMEY: “It would I hope set off alarm bells that this is his most serious attack yet on the rule of law.”
MAYBE THE RUSSIANS HAVE SOME DIRT ON TRUMP
STEPHANOPOLOUS: “Do you think people tied to President Trump colluded with the Russians?”
COMEY: “I don’t know, is the honest answer.”
STEPHANOPOLOUS: “Do you think the Russians have something on President Trump?”
COMEY: “I think it’s possible. I don’t know.”
THE VERY MOMENT TRUMP TURNED ON HIM
STEPHANOPOLOUS: “You had another mob flashback?”
COMEY: “Yeah, I did.”
And of course, the morally unfit moment, which Susan has posted here. He pegged him as a repeat liar (true), said he treats women like “meat”, and brought up Trump’s lack of distinction between bad actors in the Charlottesville white supremacy protest.
All of that more than fair game. Click through to Susan’s post to watch the clip and read more.
There were other notable moments for which we don’t yet have clips, and some of which didn’t air Sunday night. It was a five hour interview, of which only an edited hour aired.
The New York Times has the full transcript, and released an annotated summary of highlights from it. Here’s are two excerpts from their reporting.
On the President’s Request To “Let Go” of the Flynn Investigation
‘It’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice.’
It’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice. It would depend and — and I’m just a witness in this case, not the investigator or prosecutor, it would depend upon other things that reflected on his intent.
Perhaps the most consequential exchange between Mr. Comey and Mr. Trump occurred when the president cleared the Oval Office of his staff — including the vice president — and asked to speak with Mr. Comey alone. It was in that session that Mr. Comey says that the president asked him to “let go” of the investigation into Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser who had just been fired.
Mr. Comey makes it clear what he thinks the president’s motivations were.
“Really? The president just kicked out the attorney general to ask me to drop a criminal investigation. Wow, the world continues to go crazy.”
This one’s pretty crazy.
On The “Steele Dossier”
‘Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?’
And then I started to tell him about the allegation was that he had been involved with prostitutes in a hotel in Moscow in 2013 during the visit for the Miss Universe pageant and that the Russians had — filmed the episode. And he interrupted very defensively and started talking about it, you know, “Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?”
The public has known for months that Mr. Comey privately briefed the president about the so-called Steele dossier, which contained salacious and unverified information about the president’s activities. But it’s one thing to know that; it’s another to hear Mr. Comey describe the conversation in detail.
Mr. Comey notes how odd it felt to be talking with the incoming president about allegations that he had been with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room.
Mr. Comey asserts that he and other intelligence officials believed it was important for Mr. Trump to know that the information about him was in circulation and might soon become public. But it’s clear from his description of the conversation that Mr. Trump’s anger toward him began that day.
On the flip side, Comey did say he considers President Trump to be of “above average intelligence” and also stipulated that he doesn’t believe the Donald is physically unfit or ill in some way. So there’s that.
I don’t like Comey. On Twitter he exhibits a cloying self-regard that is at once irritating and pitiable. I think this book tour bonanza is hurting the FBI right when they need that the least.
I don’t much like Trump, either. And a lot of what Comey inappropriately discusses rings true.
It’s almost one of those moments when you grab popcorn and root for injuries, but for the fact that the consequences to our country of this public food fight will be long-term and damaging.
Nevertheless, the laundry is being aired, and as Americans we’re bound to watch, either in fascination, horror, or out of a genuine need to know the character and activity of those in power.
Whatever the case, rest assured there will be a lot more news from the Comey-Trump wars. And no matter what crazy thing MSNBC says, nobody, not even the President, is asking you to look away.
That’s how reality TV works.