Former FBI Director James Comey doesn’t know what Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election will bring, but his views on President Donald Trump were unequivocal this weekend: Americans should “use every breath we have” to vote Trump out of office in 2020, he said.
Comey, formerly a registered Republican, has served as both a foil to Trump as well as a presidential punching bag since Trump dismissed him in May. He broke a months-long public silence to speak Sunday evening at at a 92nd Street Y event in New York, where he discussed the Mueller investigation, Trump, and the possibility of the President’s impeachment.
While Comey conceded he doesn’t know details of the Mueller investigation or “what they’ll conclude,” he suggested if Trump isn’t an un-indicted co-conspirator to charges already filed in the case, “he’s certainly close.”
Comey further noted that while he was heartened by the strong turnout in the midterm elections, Americans would once again have to “get off the couch” in record numbers to ensure Trump is not re-elected. He called the Trump presidency an “attack on our values,” but stopped short of calling for his impeachment.
In fact, Comey suggested a Trump impeachment would “let the country off the hook…[driving] into the fabric of our nation a third of the people believing there was a coup.” Impeachment would hinder “the moment of clarity we need in this country,” Comey added. That being said, if the House and Senate vote to impeach and remove Trump from office, “that’s fine,” he said.
Impeachment, let alone removal from office, is no simple matter. Initiating such a process lies with the House, soon to be controlled by Democrats; the Senate, currently controlled by Republicans, tries the accused. With the two chambers of Congress divided along party lines, an act of impeachment by the House could be viewed as a Democratic attack on Trump.
Comey instead advocated for Americans to set aside their ideological differences and focus on choosing a candidate that could defeat Trump. “I understand the Democrats have important debates now over who their candidate should be, but they have to win,” Comey said. “All of us should use every breath we have to make sure the lies stop on January 20, 2021.”