Did Donald Trump really get involved in a micturition mambo in Moscow? James Comey writes in his new book A Higher Loyalty that nothing in the Christopher Steele dossier bothered the president as much as the “golden showers” accusation, and that Trump had pressed Comey to specifically exonerate him from that claim. Did he? Er …
“I started to tell him about the allegation was that he had been involved with prostitutes in a hotel in Moscow in 2013 during the visit for the Miss Universe pageant and that the Russians had filmed the episode, and he interrupted very defensively and started talking about it, you know, ‘Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?’” Comey recalled. “And I assumed he was asking that rhetorically, I didn’t answer that, and I just moved on and explained, ‘Sir, I’m not saying that we credit this, I’m not saying we believe it. We just thought it very important that you know.’”
Comey said he tried to tell Trump that he didn’t know if the allegations were true, but wanted to inform the president that the FBI had the information.
“I said … ‘I’m not saying that I believe the allegations, I’m not saying that I credit it,’” Comey said he told Trump. “I never said, ‘I don’t believe it,’ because I couldn’t say one way or another.”
But when asked if he believed Trump’s denials, Comey remembered being mostly stunned.
“I honestly never thought this words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” he said. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
One might object to a law-enforcement official raising a sensational claim at the same time that he admits he has no idea whether it’s true, but … 2018, man. For one thing, the allegation has already been published, thanks to BuzzFeed’s decision to print it all in January 2017 without verifying if it was true, earning them opprobrium from other journalists for feeding the “fake news” narrative. For another, James Comey is no longer a law enforcement official. Whose fault is that? Oh yeah. Maybe it’s still irresponsible to discuss the so-called “pee tape” without any evidence that it ever existed, but it’s also an example of the wisdom of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who famously observed that the direction of urination matters when it comes to personnel decisions.
The White House had better have its umbrellas up around the tent for the next few weeks. Comey will start his media tour on ABC’s This Week in a prerecorded interview with George Stephanopoulos. ABC’s billing it as an “exclusive,” but perhaps “premiere” is a better term. Comey will be making the rounds as the book rolls out, getting any number of chances to prove that firing him was Trump’s biggest mistake as president. It looks like Stephanopoulos plans to press Comey on other issues, though, especially on Comey’s actions on the Hillary Clinton investigation:
For the first time since being fired by President Trump, former FBI Director James @Comey sits down with @ABC’s @GStephanopoulos for an exclusive interview airing Sunday night at a special time, 10/9c on ABC. https://t.co/i9V0sR51Xg pic.twitter.com/EvA7cSIzXB
— ABC News (@ABC) April 13, 2018
Will Stephanopoulos get tough on Comey over his decision to drop the Hillary probe, or for investigating the wife of Stephanopoulos’ former boss at all? Stay tuned. Donald Trump isn’t waiting until Sunday to push back against Comey, though. Earlier this morning, the president called the former FBI director a “slime ball” and a perjurer:
Well, it’s an honor that Trump will have lots of opportunities to enjoy over the next several weeks. If nothing else convinces Trump not to fire Robert Mueller, a season of pee-tape speculations, Trump-marriage analyses, and comparisons to mob bosses on national TV should do the trick. Right? Right?