James Comey: Trump Should Be Voted Out, Not Impeached

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Jun 21, 2019
by Louise Hallman
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James Comey: Trump Should Be Voted Out, Not Impeached

Former Director of the FBI speaks to Bloomberg TV live from Salzburg Global Seminar James Comey speaks to Bloomberg during a live interview at Salzburg Global Seminar.

US President Donald J. Trump should be removed from office by voters not impeachment, James Comey, former Director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigations told Bloomberg TV on Friday, June 21.

Comey was speaking to Bloomberg’s Matt Miller live from Salzburg Global Seminar ahead of delivering the annual Salzburg Global Lecture at the June Board Weekend.

Appointed to the post in 2013 by then-president Barack Obama, the former director of the FBI was controversially fired by President Trump in May 2017. The grounds for his dismissal formed part of the investigation led by his predecessor at the Bureau and Special Counsel to the Justice Department, Robert Mueller. Comey dismissed conspiracy theories that there was an anti-Trump cabal at the FBI as a “dumb lie.”

The Mueller Report, published in March 2019, is now being touted by some of the president’s political opponents as grounds for impeachment. However, despite praising Mueller’s report as “tremendous work” that could lead to the president’s impeachment, Comey told Bloomberg that he hoped he would not be impeached. 

“That would let the American people off the hook,” he said, explaining that he believed US voters should remove Trump from office, not US Congress. Trump’s removal from office, he warned, could be seen as a coup by his supporters and instead, American politicians and citizens alike should keep their faith in the democratic process. While he declined to endorse any individual, Comey did say he believed that there were candidates in the 2020 presidential race who had the “character” necessary to be a good leader and president. 

In Agreement

While he repeated previously-stated criticisms of President Trump, Comey did appear to be in agreement with the president on matters of national security, calling both Iran and Chinese tech firm Huawei threats.

As the Trump Administration wages a trade war with China, Comey said that actions against Huawei were rooted in “a fact-based intelligence concern” and agreed that there would be intelligence risks “once their technology is embedded in a 5G network.” 

Less than 24 hours after President Trump called off military action in retaliation for Iran’s downing of an American drone, the former FBI director acknowledged that the Islamic Republic constitutes a “top” and “constant” threat to security.

Salzburg Lecture

Comey was at Salzburg Global Seminar to deliver the third Salzburg Lecture at the annual June Board of Directors Weekend. 

Following this year’s theme of Living Dangerously: How Can We Get Real About Risk?, the former FBI director spoke on “Risks, Rules and Leadership,” drawing on insights shared in his recently published book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, in which he discusses ethics, leadership, and his experience in government.

Other speakers at this year’s June Board of Directors Weekend included retired US Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy; leading African academic, Nelson Torto; former CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, Kathryn Fuller; and former executive chairman of the Malaysian Securities Commission, Ranjit Singh. All will address the increasing risks being faced in their fields and how we can mitigate such risk.