- Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
- The current White House chief of staff, John Kelly, called President Donald Trump “dishonorable” after he fired James Comey as FBI director last year, according to a report by The Daily Beast citing two sources who have read Comey’s memoir, set to be released Tuesday.
- According to the report, Comey recalls Kelly was “emotional” about his firing.
It sounds as if President Donald Trump’s current chief of staff did not approve of his decision to fire James Comey as FBI director last year.
Citing two sources who have read “A Higher Loyalty,” Comey’s memoir set to be released Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that the book detailed John Kelly’s anger about how Trump fired Comey in May.
Comey found out about his dismissal through TV news reports while he was in Los Angeles meeting with FBI agents.
The Daily Beast report says Comey wrote that he received an “emotional” phone call from Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, saying he was “sick” about Comey’s firing and “intended to quit” in protest.
Comey recalls Kelly telling him that “he didn’t want to work for dishonorable people” like Trump, according to the report. Comey also says he encouraged Kelly not to quit because the president needed people like him around to help.
Comey’s memoir is likely to cause an uproar with the president and his supporters and could further hurt Trump’s relationship with his chief of staff – reports and rumors have for weeks indicated Trump could be looking to get rid of Kelly, and that Kelly’s influence is waning inside the White House.
The Daily Beast described a White House official as saying that the version of the story Kelly had told senior staffers differed greatly from Comey’s account.
White House allies, including the Republican National Committee, are taking the lead in attempting to discredit Comey’s anecdotes.
After Comey’s firing in May, the White House initially said it was because of the way he handled the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct government business while she was secretary of state.
The White House also said Trump’s decision was based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who at Trump’s request had written a memo about Comey that was critical of the FBI director.
But Trump said days later on national television that “this Russia thing” had been a factor in his decision.
Trump is also said to have told two top Russian government officials one day after dismissing Comey that the firing had taken “great pressure” off of him.
The FBI director’s ouster ignited a firestorm in Washington, with both Democrats and Republicans raising questions about whether the president fired Comey to stymie an FBI investigation into potential wrongdoings by Trump and his associates.
Meanwhile, Comey seems to be holding nothing back in interviews ahead of his book release. He likened Trump to a mob boss in a clip from an interview with ABC News scheduled to air on Sunday night.