Former FBI director James Comey likens Donald Trump to a mafia boss and his presidency to a "forest fire" in his new book publishing next week. The Guardian has revealed some of its contents after getting hold of a copy from a bookseller in New York ahead of publication.
The title, A Higher Loyalty (Pan MacMillan), will be released on next Thursday (19th April) and is published 11 months after Comey was dismissed by US president Trump, allegedly because of an investigation into Trump's campaign's alleged ties with Russian officials.
Comey served as director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. "From prosecuting the mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change Bush administration policies on torture and electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history", the publisher said.
He writes that Trump “appeared shorter than he seemed on a debate stage with Hillary Clinton”. He adds: “His face appeared slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assume he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coiffed, bright blond hair, which on close inspection looked to be all his. I remember wondering how long it must take him in the morning to get that done.”
Comey, who likens Trump’s presidency to a “forest fire” repeatedly in the 304-page book, paints Trump as a mafia-style boss.
In a discussion of a White House meeting with Trump and then chief of staff Reince Priebus in February 2017, Comey writes that “because he never stops talking”, Trump “pulls all those present into a silent circle of assent”.
“The encounter left me shaken,” he writes. “I had never seen anything like it in the Oval Office. As I found myself thrust into the Trump orbit, I once again was having flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob. 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 the truth.”
An exclusive pre-publication release and panel will be held by Pan Macmillan and Waterstones on US publication day, Tuesday 17th April, hosted by Emily Maitlis with Jonathan Freedland, Anne McElvoy and Clodagh Harrington.
Jeremy Trevathan, publisher at Pan Macmillan, said: “Our US colleagues at Flatiron have printed 575,000 copies already and with anticipation running so high here, we have increased our UK print run to 50,000 copies. Former FBI director Comey has been a key figure in America's turbulent political landscape of the last few years and people on both sides of the Atlantic are eager to hear what he has to say about these extraordinary times.”
The Guardian newspaper was also the first to leak contents from Michael Wolff’s Fire & Fury, which went on to catapult up the pre-order charts before Little, Brown released it four days early. Spurred on by angry tweets from US President Donald Trump about the book’s claims, publisher Little, Brown rushed to reprint the title as booksellers scrambled for copies.