James Comey describes how smart, accomplished people who work for Trump get tangled in his ‘web of alternative reality’

News

  • James Comey served as FBI director under President Donald Trump for four months before being fired on May 9, 2017.
  • In a new op-ed for The New York Times Comey uses his experience to try and explain how the Attorney General William Barr, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and others get tangled in Trump’s “web of alternative reality.”
  • “People have been asking me hard questions,” Comey begins. “What happened to the leaders in the Trump administration, especially the attorney general, Bill Barr, who I have said was due the benefit of the doubt?”
  • “Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from,” he writes. “It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

James Comey served as FBI director under President Donald Trump for four months before being fired on May 9, 2017, and in a new op-ed for The New York Times he uses his experience to try and explain how the Attorney General William Barr, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and others get tangled in Trump’s “web of alternative reality.”

“People have been asking me hard questions,” Comey begins. “What happened to the leaders in the Trump administration, especially the attorney general, Bill Barr, who I have said was due the benefit of the doubt?”

From Comey’s perspective, the answer, like people themselves, is complicated.

“Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them,” Comey argues. “Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring. For example, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man.”

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: US Deputy Attorney General James Comey (L) and FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Gary Bald take questions 05 August, 2004, at the Justice Department in Washington, DC, after announcing that two men from Albany, New York, were arrested charging each with concealing material support for terrorism and participating in a money laundering conspiracy. Mosque Imam Yassin Aref, 34, and mosque founder Mohammed Hoosain, 49, were arrested following a raid on an Albany mosque late 04 August. Officials said the two men had agreed to launder money to help a presumed terrorist, actually an undercover FBI agent, buy a shoulder-fired missile. AFP PHOTO / TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Up Next

See Gallery




However, for others the result is more “depressing,” Comey says, and he singles out Barr and Rosenstein.

“Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from,” he writes. “It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.”

Comey believes that the process begins with silence — not challenging his lies — which progresses to “public displays of personal fealty,” then morphs into convincing yourself that despite “outrageous” behavior you have to stay to protect institutions you value.

Read more:James Comey says the Russia investigation initially focused on 4 Americans

“Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises,” Comey concludes. “You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values. And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.”

Comey specifically references Barr’s handling of the aftermath of the special counsel Rober Mueller’s investigation.

Barr has been criticized by Democratic lawmakers and others over his now-disputed four-page letter to Congress, his unconventional press conference ahead of the release of the redacted Mueller report, his Wednesday testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his recent refusal to testify before the House Judiciary Committee after initially signaling that he would.

Since his ouster, Comey has testified before Congress about his interactions with the president and has been an outspoken critic of Trump. On Wednesday, CNN announced it would hold a town hall with the former FBI director.

Leave a Reply