A Higher Loyalty: Fired FBI chief Comey calls Trump unethical

A Higher Loyalty: Fired FBI chief Comey calls Trump unethical

Former FBI Director James Comey arrives to speak about his book "A Higher Loyalty" in New York, U.S., April 18, 2018. Comey's memos recounting his meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump were sent to members of the U.S. Congress by the Justice Department

James Comey, who was removed as FBI chief by Donald Trump last year, has come out with a tell-all book in which he is highly critical of the US President, calling him "unethical and untethered to truth and institutional values" and saying he would do "significant damage".

In "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership", Comey shares his never-before-told experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career in the past two decades of American government exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions.

The book, published by Pan Macmillan, provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power and lists the qualities that make an effective leader.

"Donald Trump's presidency threatens much of what is good in this nation. We all bear responsibility for the deeply flawed choices put before voters during the 2016 election, and our country is paying a high price: this president is unethical and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego-driven, and about personal loyalty," Comey writes.

Though Comey says he chooses to be optimistic, yet he feels Trump will do "significant damage" in the short term.

"Important norms and traditions will be damaged by the flames," he says but adds that forest fires, as painful as they can be, however, bring growth.

"The next president, no matter the party, will surely emphasise values – truth, integrity, respect and tolerance – in ways an American leader hasn’t needed to for more than 50 years. The fire will make something good grow," he says.

According to Comey, he wrote the book hoping it will be useful to people living among the flames who are thinking about what comes next.

"I also hope it will be useful to readers long after the flames are doused, by inspiring them to choose a higher loyalty, to find truth among lies, and to pursue ethical leadership," he writes.

Comey served as director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama.

He previously served as US Attorney for New York, and the United States Deputy Attorney General in the administration of President George W Bush.

From prosecuting the mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change Bush administration policies on torture and electronic surveillance to overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as well as ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history.

Trump fired him on May 10, 2017, abruptly removing the top sleuth overseeing a criminal probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election that was won by the real estate mogul.

"You are hereby terminated and removed from the office, effective immediately," Trump said in a letter to Comey.

Trump explained his bombshell announcement by citing Comey’s handling of the investigation by America’s leading law enforcement agency into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was the secretary of state.

The move came days after Comey testified on Capitol Hill about the FBI's investigation into Russia’s meddling into the US elections and a possible collusion between Trump campaign and Moscow.

In the book, Comey also explains his frustrating and occasionally bizarre encounters with Trump and why he was unable to give him the pledge of loyalty he demanded.

"Whatever your politics, it is wrong to dismiss the damage to the norms and traditions that have guided the presidency and our public life for decades or, in many cases, since the republic was founded," he writes.

"It is also wrong to stand idly by, or worse, to stay silent when you know better, while a president brazenly seeks to undermine public confidence in law enforcement institutions that were established to keep our leaders in check," he adds.

"Far from creating a new norm where lying is widely accepted, the Trump presidency has ignited a focus on truth and ethics. Parents are talking to their children about truth-telling, about respect for all people, about rejecting prejudice and hate. Schools and religious institutions are talking about values-driven leadership," Comey writes.