Comey brands Trump a serial liar in first major TV interview since his firing as FBI director

  • In his first major TV interview since being fired as FBI director, James Comey slammed President Donald Trump as a serial liar who tells "baffling, unnecessary" falsehoods. 
  • Comey said: "Sometimes he's lying in ways that are obvious, sometimes he's saying things that we may not know are true or false and then there's a spectrum in between."
  • Comey is on a public-relations tour in support of his new book, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership," which is due out on April 17.


Former FBI director James Comey slammed President Donald Trump as a serial liar who tells "baffling, unnecessary" falsehoods. Comey made those comments during an ABC News interview that aired Sunday, his first major TV interview since being fired in May last year.

Comey said he discovered that Trump "frequently" gives a "series of assertions,"  like claims that his inauguration crowd was the largest in history, and claims that he never made fun of a disabled reporter despite video evidence to the contrary  which Comey calls "baffling, unnecessary lies."

"That his inauguration crowd was bigger than that Barack Obama's first inauguration. That's just not true. That's not a perspective, that's not a view, that's just a lie."

"And yet he would say it and, "Everyone agrees, everyone says, everyone believes."

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Inside the White House on the day Trump fired James Comey
White House Deputy Press Secretary Lyndsey Walters hands out documents to reporters in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, advising them that there will be no further on camera statements, after US President Donald Trump sacked FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture shows a copy of the letter by U.S. President Donald Trump firing Director of the FBI James Comey at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Writers work on the story about Director of the FBI James Comey's firing by U.S. President Donald Trump in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Writers work on the story about Director of the FBI James Comey's firing by U.S. President Donald Trump in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
This picture shows a copy of the letter by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to U.S. President Donald Trump recomending the firing of Director of the FBI James Comey, at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Reporters work on the story about Director of the FBI James Comey's firing by U.S. President Donald Trump in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Reporters work on the story about Director of the FBI James Comey's firing by U.S. President Donald Trump in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters hands out a statement relating to the firing of the Director of the FBI James Comey by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters (R) hands out a statement relating to the firing of the Director of the FBI James Comey by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters (R) hands out a statement relating to the firing of the Director of the FBI James Comey by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A journalist looks at a copy of the termination letter to FBI Director James Comey from US President Donald Trump in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A journalist looks at a copy of a letter from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to US President Donald Trump recommending the termination of FBI Director James Comey in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
White House Deputy Press Secretary Lyndsey Walters speaks to reporters in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, advising them that there will be no further on camera statements, after US President Donald Trump sacked FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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When George Stephanopoulos asked Comey if there were moments when he thought the president was a liar, Comey replied: "Yes, yeah. I had, obviously, concerns about that earlier, having watched him on the campaign that he is someone who is — for whom the truth is not a high value."

Citing several examples, including Trump's inauguration crowd-size claims, Comey continued: "Sometimes he's lying in ways that are obvious, sometimes he's saying things that we may not know are true or false and then there's a spectrum in between."

Comey said that is part of the reason why he chose to make memos documenting his conversations with Trump, like he did after Trump asked him to drop the FBI investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"The conversation will likely come back some day and he may well lie about it," Comey said. "And so I need to remember exactly what was said there. It could be evidence of a crime. It was really important that it be well documented."

Trump has denied asking Comey to drop the FBI's Flynn investigation.

In his book, Comey likens Trump to a "forest fire" that is going to do "tremendous damage" to the norms of the country. 

"How do we put it out?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"We put it out first by not becoming numb to the fact that the truth is being assailed every day. By not deciding that it's just too much to pay attention to because that's the path to losing truth as the central value in this country," Comey said.

He continued: "So all of us have to constantly be involved and call it out when we see the truth endangered, when we see lying."

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