James Comey’s upcoming memoir A Higher Loyalty alleges that Donald Trump was fixated on proving that the infamous “pee tape” wasn’t real, and that the president is “unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” according to reports which surfaced Thursday.
The New York Times‘ former chief book critic Michiko Kakutani returned to the publication to review Comey’s memoir, which will be released on Tuesday. In her review she reveals that Comey writes that his meetings with Trump and then chief of staff Reince Priebus left him with the impression that he was facing off against the mob. “The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview,” Kakutani quotes Comey. “The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”
Further, according to the Times, Comey argues that Trump is destabilizing the country’s norms and rule of law, writing, “We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.”
More salaciously, the New York Post is reporting that Comey says Trump asked him to disprove the alleged tape of Trump engaging in erotic, pee-related sexual activities with Russian prostitutes in Moscow, expressing worry that his wife, Melania, could believe it exists. As the Post quotes Comey, “[Trump] brought up what he called the ‘golden showers thing’ … adding that it bothered him if there was ‘even a one percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true. He just rolled on, unprompted, explaining why it couldn’t possibly be true, ending by saying he was thinking of asking me to investigate the allegation to prove it was a lie. I said it was up to him.”
Comey then expresses, per the Post, incredulity at the idea of Melania Trump believing such shocking claims: “In what kind of marriage, to what kind of man, does a spouse conclude there is only a 99 percent chance her husband didn’t do that?”
Comey was FBI director when Trump assumed office in 2017. As questions of potential collusion with the Russian government quickly clouded Trump’s presidency, Comey was infamously, dramatically fired in May of last year. Comey has emerged as a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and the Trump administration’s potential involvement in it. After he was fired, it was discovered that Comey had kept contemporaneous memos regarding his interactions with Trump; in one leaked memo, Comey wrote that Trump asked him to “let go” of potential charges against former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Kakutani writes that, in the book, Comey compares Trump’s demand for loyalty over dinner to “Sammy the Bull’s Cosa Nostra induction ceremony — with Trump, in the role of the family boss, asking me if I have what it takes to be a ‘made man.’”
The news of Comey’s memos sparked allegations of obstruction of justice — one reason why the book has sparked such widespread interest. The book surged atop Amazon’s best-seller list after Comey wrote, in a tweet directed at President Trump, “Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon.”
A Higher Loyalty publishes Tuesday. Purchase your copy here.