Former FBI Director James Comey reacts during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex...
Alex Brandon

Trump says Comey is a ‘slime ball,’ calls for his criminal prosecution

The Rachel Maddow Show, 4/12/18, 9:10 PM ET

James Comey book leaks early, Rachel Maddow shares highlights

Rachel Maddow reads passages from “A Higher Loyalty,” the not-yet-released book by James Comey, including Comey’s likening of the nascent Trump administration to a mafia family, and Donald Trump’s reaction to being informed of the Steele dossier.
We’re still a few days out from the official release of James Comey’s book, but as news outlets get their hands on leaked copies, we’re learning quite a bit about the former FBI director’s interactions with, and concerns about, Donald Trump.

The president doesn’t appear to be taking the news well, as evidenced by a pair of tweets this morning.

“James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH.

“He is a weak and untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI. His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst ‘botch jobs’ of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!”

If I didn’t know better, I might think Comey has gotten under the president’s skin a bit.

What I find especially entertaining about Trump’s little tirade, though isn’t just how factually inaccurate it is, but the degree to which his lack of impulse control has upended the White House’s plan.

Earlier this week, Politico  reported that the president’s aides intended to largely ignore Comey – they didn’t want to be seen as “punching down” – and hoped that Trump’s trip to South America and subsequent summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago would “provide a distraction” from the former FBI director’s book.

And while that wasn’t a bad plan, Trump’s South America trip was soon after scrapped, and the efforts to distract the president didn’t work. The result is another presidential tantrum.

What’s more, the rest of the White House, which had looked to the RNC to mount the attack against Comey, is now scrambling to follow the president’s lead. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders went after the former FBI director on Twitter this morning, and White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway followed soon after on CNN.

So much for not wanting to be seen as “punching down.”

Donald Trump and James Comey

Trump says Comey is a 'slime ball,' calls for his criminal prosecution