Washington: Donald Trump launched into another Twitter tirade against James Comey on Sunday, hours before the broadcast of an extended interview with the fired former FBI director about his interactions with the US president.
Excerpts of the interview with ABC News already have been aired, as have reviews of Comey's new memoir "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership," which likens Trump to a dishonest, ego-driven mob boss who demanded a pledge of loyalty from his FBI chief.
The excerpts sparked another furious round of tweets by Trump, calling Comey a "slime ball" and saying he "stupidly" handled a probe into Trump's 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton.
"I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His 'memos' are self serving and FAKE!" said one tweet.
In another, the president undertook a mini-review of Comey's memoir: "The big questions in Comey's badly reviewed book aren't answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn't they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe's 700,000 & more?" He said Comey threw former attorney general Loretta Lynch "under the bus," an allusion to Comey's having criticized Lynch in the memoir for suggesting that he refer to an investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state as only a "matter." "Was she promised a Supreme Court seat, or AG, in order to lay off Hillary," Trump asks in another Tweet.
Comey, who was fired by Trump last year, acknowledged in the interview that his belief that Clinton would be elected president "was a factor" in his decision to reopen the email probe 11 days before the US election, a development that Clinton blames for her surprise defeat.
"I don't remember spelling it out, but it had to have been, that she's going to be elected president and if I hide this from the American people, she'll be illegitimate the moment she's elected, the moment this comes out," Comey said.
His comments echoed a quote from his memoir, in which he said it was "entirely possible" his concern over Clinton's legitimacy "bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls."
"Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe," Trump tweeted.
"In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!" he wrote.
Clinton has previously said she believes Comey's announcement played a part in her losing the presidency.
"After the Comey letter, my momentum was stopped," she told NPR in late 2017.
"My numbers dropped, and we were scrambling to try to put it back together, and we ran out of time."