Former FBI director James Comey called the Trump presidency “a forest fire” and defended his handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email during his appearance Tuesday night on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”
Comey is in the midst of a media blitz to promote his new book “A Higher Loyalty.” Tuesday’s stop on CBS’ “Late Show” marked his first extended interview outside the news realm. Colbert has been among the media’s most vocal critics of the Trump administration.
Comey was fired in May 2017 by Trump, a move that stirred outrage because Comey was steering the FBI’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In response to Comey’s book, which details his grave concerns about the lack of moral and ethical leadership exhibited by Trump, the president has called Comey a “slime ball” and said he should be in jail.
“He’s tweeted at me probably 50 times,” Comey told Colbert. “I’ve been gone for a year, I’m like the breakup he can’t get over. He wakes up in the morning … I’m out there living my best life, he wakes up in the morning and tweets at me.”
Colbert, meanwhile, defended Comey’s remarks in the book about the President’s physical appearance. Comey’s reference to the President’s hands and the orange hue of his skin have drawn criticism as low blows. Colbert noted that those remarks are a few paragraphs in a book that runs more than 200 pages. Plus, Colbert said, Trump “looks like a microwave circus peanut that someone rubbed on a golden retriever.”
Comey warned of the damaging effects of Trump’s out-there behavior on the national psyche. But he discouraged talk of impeachment. He asserted that voters need to be motivated to go to the polls to remove Trump via the ballot box in 2020. He called Trump “a forest fire,” but added that “forest fires allow things to grow that couldn’t grow before.”
Colbert’s sit-down with Comey took up most of Tuesday’s hourlong episode. “Late Show” made the entire uncut 32-minute interview available via YouTube.