Former FBI Director James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, is due to be released on Tuesday, April 17.
But, with advance copies already circulating, we have a few ideas of what to expect.
1. Comey likens Trump to a mob boss
Comey reportedly had “flashbacks” to his earlier work as a prosecutor against the mob when he first found himself “thrust into the Trump orbit.” He describes “the circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”
Of Trump’s now famous loyalty demand in particular, Comey writes, “the demand was like Sammy the Bull’s Cosa Nostra induction ceremony.”
“I sat there thinking, holy crap, they are trying to make each of us an ‘amica nostra’—a friend of ours,” Comey continues. “To draw us in. As crazy as it sounds, I suddenly had the feeling that, in the blink of an eye, the president-elect was trying to make us all part of the same family.”
2. Comey thinks Trump is ‘untethered to truth’
Comey calls Trump’s leadership “transactional, ego driven, and about personal loyalty” and the president himself “unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values.”
But Comey does not go so far as to accuse Trump of illegal behavior. “I have one perspective on the behavior I saw, which while disturbing and violating basic norms of ethical leadership, may fall short of being illegal,” Comey writes.
3. Comey’s worried about the current political environment
“We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country,” Comey writes, “with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.”
“What is happening now is not normal. … It is not fake news. It is not okay,” he writes.
4. Comey thought Hillary would win
Comey worries that his belief that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election may have influenced how he handled the investigation of her email practices while secretary of state. “It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in the polls.”
While he hopes that what he did “wasn’t a deciding factor in the election,” the idea that it could have had an impact apparently left Comey feeling “mildly nauseous.”
5. There’s something we still don’t know about the Hillary investigation
Comey reportedly received information about then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch that led him to take a more prominent role in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails. He writes that the development is “still unknown to the American public to this day,” and that “the source and content of that material remains classified.”
While he writes that he did not believe Lynch interfered with the investigation, the decision to become more involved came from a fear that critics would use the information to question her integrity.
6. Oh, and Comey has some opinions about Trump’s appearance
Comey—who stands 6’8”—writes that Trump “appeared shorter than he seemed on a debate stage with Hillary Clinton.” And he even weighs in on the long-circulated rumor that Trump has smaller-than-average hands. Comey writes that when Trump extended his hand for a handshake, “it was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.”
Comey continues: “His face appeared slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assume he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coiffed, bright blond hair, which on close inspection looked to be all his. I remember wondering how long it must take him in the morning to get that done.”
Perhaps most significantly though, Comey writes that he never saw Trump laugh, which he thinks is an indication of his “deep insecurity, his inability to be vulnerable or to risk himself by appreciating the humor of others, which, on reflection, is really very sad in a leader, and a little scary in a president.”