Including 'slightly orange' faces, golden showers, and more
FBI Director James Comey Testifies During Senate Judiciary Hearing
Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Higher Loyalty

James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty is finally on sale after months of buzz, and readers are already poring over the juiciest passages.

The former FBI director’s memoir has rapidly gained attention for its incredibly sharp language about Donald Trump: Comey condemns the president’s values and style, and fashions the book as a contrasting study between good and bad models of leadership. (Guess which end Trump lands on.)

To make things easy for those interested in the most provocative parts, we’ve rounded up 13 of the best, most incendiary lines from A Higher Loyalty. Read on for what Comey has to say about Trump and much more. You can also read our review here.

71WQQnz-NzL (1)
Credit: Flatiron Books

On Trump’s values

“This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.”

On Trump’s facial hue and hand size

“His face appeared slightly orange with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coifed, bright blond hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his. … As he extended his hand, I made a mental note to check its size. It was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.”

On the infamous day Trump asked for Comey’s loyalty

“The president of the United States had invited me to dinner and decided my job security was on the menu.”

On how Trump runs his inner circle

“The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. 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.”

On never seeing Trump laugh

“I suspect his apparent inability to [laugh in public] is rooted in 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.”

On Trump’s insistence that he did not engage in urine-related activities with Russian prostitutes in Moscow

“Asking — rhetorically, I assumed — whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes. He then began discussing cases where women had accused him of sexual assault, a subject I had not raised. He mentioned a number of women, and seemed to have memorized their allegations.”

“He brought up what he called the ‘golden showers thing’ … adding that it bothered him if there was ‘even a 1 percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true. … 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 quoting Trump: “Another reason you know this isn’t true: I’m a germaphobe. There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me, no way.”

On Jeff Sessions’ level of kindness

Comey says when he met Jeff Sessions, he reminded him of Alberto R. Gonzales, who served as George W. Bush’s attorney general. “Both [were] overwhelmed and overmatched by the job — but Sessions lacked the kindness Gonzales radiated.”

On Trump’s reluctance to criticize Vladimir Putin

“I had often wondered why, when given numerous opportunities to condemn the Russian government’s invasions of its neighbors and repression — even murder — of its own citizens, Trump refused to just state the plain facts. … Maybe it was a contrarian streak or maybe it was something more complicated that explained his constant equivocation and apologies for Vladimir Putin.”

On Trump chief of staff John Kelly’s reaction to Comey getting fired

“He was sick about my firing and that he intended to quit in protest. He said he didn’t want to work for dishonorable people who would treat someone like me in such a manner. I urged Kelly not to do that, arguing that the country needed principled people around this president. Especially this president.”

On the impartiality of Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch

Materials came into possession of the United States that would “undoubtedly have been used by political opponents to cast serious doubt on [Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s] independence in connection with the Clinton investigation.” Comey adds that these materials are still unknown to the American public “to this day.”

On the crisis facing the country

“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.”

A Higher Loyalty
  • Book