James Comey says the world is less secure since Donald Trump won the U.S. election and that G7 leaders cannot trust anything the President says.
The former FBI director, who was fired by Mr. Trump last year, cautioned world leaders to be “very, very careful” in their interactions with the U.S. President.
“He has a craving for affirmation that I’ve never seen in an adult before,” Mr. Comey said during an appearance at the left-leaning Canada 2020 conference in Ottawa on Tuesday.
“It’s all, ‘What will fill this hole inside me?’”
Mr. Comey’s remarks come as Mr. Trump – along with the other Group of Seven leaders – is set to arrive in Quebec’s Charlevoix region for the two-day G7 summit later this week.
Mr. Trump will make his first visit to Canada at a time of high tension with his allies. The U.S. President recently slapped hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, triggering retaliation and has expressed a renewed desire for bilateral trade talks with Canada and Mexico as Justin Trudeau’s government continues to push for a renegotiated North American free-trade agreement.
When asked by CTV journalist Evan Solomon, who was moderating Tuesday’s discussion, if fellow G7 leaders can trust what Mr. Trump says, Mr. Comey replied, “No.”
“That doesn’t mean he’s not telling the truth from time to time. That also doesn’t mean that he’s not going to make a decision that an objective person would consider ethical,” Mr. Comey said.
“It’s just he’s never going to make it for the reasons that an ethical leader would make it.”
The result, Mr. Comey argues, is that the world has become less secure.
“The nature and quality of the relationships at the top level have been eroded,” Mr. Comey said.
“The ability to trust what another leader tells an ally on matters of the highest possible stakes is at the core of our security. And so, when you lose that trust, you’ve diminished your security.”
Mr. Comey, who recently wrote the best-selling book A Higher Loyalty, was fired by Mr. Trump in May of last year over what the President later dubbed “this Russia thing.”
The attacks on the former FBI director have often veered into the personal.
“President Trump tweets about me like I’m some relationship he can’t get over,” Mr. Comey said.
In an attempt to showcase presidential power, Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said this week Mr. Trump could have hypothetically shot Mr. Comey and not been prosecuted for it. “None of my blue suits are bulletproof, so I hope it’s hyperbole,” Mr. Comey said. For his part, Mr. Comey said, “Certainly I believe a president can be guilty of obstruction of justice.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller is now leading an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s advisers and the Kremlin.
“No serious person could think it’s a witch hunt,” Mr. Comey said.
Mr. Comey said Russia’s efforts to undermine democracy were “hugely successful” in the United States. When asked if Canada should be concerned, he said, “Of course.”
“Any country that shares the values of the liberal … democratic west should be very concerned.”
Mr. Comey said the United States is facing a crisis, because the “norms at the heart of our great country are under attack.”
But he said he doesn’t want to see Mr. Trump impeached.
“I don’t know and I hope not. Because I think the American people owe it themselves to have a moment of clarity and reflection,” Mr. Comey said. He said he hopes people will think carefully about who represents them in the 2020 U.S. election. “To stand up and say – whether I’m a Democrat or a Republican – this is what I am as an American and our leader must reflect those values.”