During an appearance on ABC’s “The View” on Wednesday to publicize his new book “A Higher Loyalty,” former FBI Director James Comey took some tough questions from co-host Meghan McCain.
“Director Comey, you’re not naive to the criticism you have gotten from Republicans and Democrats,” McCain said. “David Axelrod, a former chief strategist to President Obama, said: ‘I have no doubt about its brilliance when it comes to book sales. Maybe he should have called it ‘Higher Royalties.’ What do you say to people like him and people like me that think you’re just doing this for money and attention?”
“Yeah, the first thing I do is ask him to read the book,” Comey said. “I’m not saying he should agree with me, but if he reads the book, he will see I’m trying to make choices between bad options and doing it in a way that I think you would want someone as director of the FBI to do it. So even if you leave the book still thinking I’m an idiot, you realize I’m actually kind of an honest idiot, and I’m not on anybody’s side.”
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked Comey why, if he’s investigated both Republicans and Democrats, his handling of the FBI’s Hillary Clinton investigation prompted such a high level of outrage.
“I think there’s a unique level of partisan division in our country, far greater than when I served in the Bush administration,” Comey answered. “That is in part the explanation for the anger. People assume in our country, not all people but most partisans assume, everybody’s on a side. And so they look at my actions and every one of my actions they view through whose side is he on, whose team is he on. Which is why the Clinton people are mad at me and the Trump people. Both can’t be true, I can’t be on Trump’s side and Clinton’s side, but the truth is, I really worked hard to not be on anybody’s side, but in today’s America that’s confusing and infuriating.”
McCain questioned Comey’s portrayal of himself as nonpartisan and above the fray.
“I want to believe you’re not a political person,” McCain said. “You’re the head of the FBI, but you write in your book how you went to President Obama and you were on the verge of tears saying you were going to miss him. You also said that you were dreading the next four years with Trump. You said very incendiary things about my party this morning — does it reflect our values, it’s transactional, it’s in service to [Trump’s ego].
“A lot of the things you’re saying and doing are highly political, and I just don’t understand what you gain trying to sort of clear the deck here by bringing things like this up.”
“That’s a good question. I don’t think of it as my politics,” Comey replied. “I think of it as my values.”
“You talked about with George Stephanopolous, [how] your wife was at the Women’s March, and she was very sad on election night. Why bring up politics now, what your take on the current Republican Party is? I’m more interested in your take on national security.”