For those who missed James Comey being interviewed on ABC Sunday night, (4/15/18), I'm including bits from a Times summary that I find most striking.
• I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or [in] early stages of dementia. He strikes me as a person of above average intelligence who’s tracking conversations and knows what’s going on. I don’t think he’s medically unfit to be president. I think he’s morally unfit to be president.
• It was him talking almost the entire time, which I’ve discovered is something he frequently does. And so it would be monologue in this direction, monologue in that direction, monologue in a different direction.
And a constant series of assertions that — about the inauguration crowd, about how great my inauguration speech was, about all the free media — earned media, I think was his term, that I got during the campaign. On and on and on and on. Everyone agrees, everyone agrees, I did this, the — I never assaulted these women, I never made fun of a reporter.
And — I’m sure you’re wondering what question did I ask that would prompt those? None, zero. I didn’t ask any questions that I recall.
• He will stain everyone around him.
• [NY Times]: During much of the interview, Mr. Comey seems disciplined and almost dispassionate. But at the end, he lets loose in a remarkable way. It is hard to think of a time that such a senior official of the government has gone on to so directly question the moral fitness of the sitting president. He said that he hoped Mr. Trump would be held accountable for his lies, but that impeachment would be a cop-out for a public that should also be held accountable for electing Mr. Trump in the first place.
So, as per Comey, Trump is neither intellectually nor neurologically challenged. To explain him in such terms — as, say, stupid or declining into dementia —is, in effect, to excuse him, to get him off the hook, to give him a high office version of an insanity defense. No, Comey sees Trump more simply as a bad man, morally deficient by most standard but extravagantly so by the norms of the presidency.
And give that high office, Trump's immorality can't be quarantined; it has the capacity to "stain everyone around him." I think other escapees from Trump Tower, if and when they gather the courage to tell their stories, will confirm Comey's view.
Comey takes a similar view on impeachment. Sure it would be nice to rid ourselves of Trump by any possible legal means but impeachment, for Comey, would give not Trump, but the electorate, a pass it doesn't deserve. It's the electorate that needs to cleanse itself of Trump.
Comey did not deny the possibility that his own clumsy, badly timed announcements about Hillary's emails might have skewed the election, though he hopes they didn't. To my mind they did, but still his point stays with me: the American electorate, whatever turbulence it experienced on the way to the polls showed its own moral caliber, or lack thereof, by making Trump president.
Oh, Trump will make a serious, potentially violent stink however he is evicted, but as to the electorate coming to its senses, I think Comey is right to say the only real good riddance is to vote him out.