- Former FBI Director James Comey gave a scathing assessment of the Republican Party during a CNN town-hall discussion on Wednesday night.
- “If the Republicans, if they just close their eyes and imagine Barack Obama waking up in the morning saying someone should be in jail, they will understand that it’s not normal,” Comey said, referring to President Donald Trump’s history of suggesting his political opponents should be imprisoned.
- Comey, once a longtime registered Republican, said he was “ashamed” of the present-day Republican Party.
Former FBI Director James Comey gave a scathing assessment of the Republican Party at a CNN town-hall discussion, asking GOP leaders to envision how they would behave if a Democratic president had the same rhetoric as President Donald Trump.
“If the Republicans, if they just close their eyes and imagine Barack Obama waking up in the morning saying someone should be in jail, they will understand that it’s not normal,” Comey said at the town hall, which aired Wednesday night.
“The president of the United States is attacking the Justice Department, attacking the FBI, attacking the federal judiciary, and pronouncing that private citizens who have been accused of no crime should be in jail,” Comey continued.
“Just pause for a second and reflect on that, no matter what your political orientation is. That’s not normal. That is an attack on our core values.”
Trump has often suggested jailing Comey and Hillary Clinton, his former Democratic presidential rival. Comey, a longtime registered Republican who recently left the party, called Trump’s rhetoric “not OK and not normal.”
Trump has frequently bristled at Comey and accused him of leaking classified information. Following his firing in May 2017, Comey provided a law professor with a memo in which Comey recalled a conversation he had with Trump. According to Comey’s account of the meeting, Trump had asked him to drop the FBI’s investigation into his former national security adviser Mike Flynn – a request that could be material in an obstruction-of-justice case against Trump.
“We’ve become numb to it – that is not OK,” Comey said of Trump’s most vicious words. “This is the United States of America. The president of the United States is saying, forget me, ‘Lots of private citizens shall be in jail, should be in jail, must be in jail.’ That is not OK given our commitment to the rule of law.”
Comey said earlier this month that he no longer considered himself a Republican and said he was “ashamed” by what the party had become.
“And that’s why I urge them, close your eyes and imagine the next president, if it’s a Democrat, doing that,” Comey said to the crowd.
He continued: “What are you gonna say? You’ll be sitting in front of Anderson Cooper saying, ‘It’s outrageous – it’s an attack on America.'”
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