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Former FBI Director James Comey Says Trump 'Threatens' Core American Values


Former FBI Director James Comey's book "A Higher Loyalty" comes out tomorrow. His tell-all memoir is not only about his interactions with President Trump. It's also about how he views the conduct of the highest officeholder in the country. Here's what he told Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition today.

STEVE INSKEEP, BYLINE: Why have you focused in some of your comments on what you view as the moral fitness of the president to be president?

JAMES COMEY: Because I'm very worried that - and one of the ways I hope to be useful is having people realize that there's something above our normal fights. We fight like crazy in this country about guns and about social issues and taxes and immigration. And that's as it should be, and it's always been that way. But there's something we all have in common, which is a core set of values that is us as America - right? - freedom of expression, freedom of religion, rule of law, equal protection of the laws, the truth. We hold these truths to be self-evident. It's the fourth word of that sentence.

So there's a thing, a set of values that's above our normal fights, and what I'm worried about with this president is he threatens those. And if we lose those, if those norms are degraded, those values are degraded, what are we exactly? President Trump tweeted - I don't follow him on Twitter, but I get to see his tweets - tweeted I don't know how many but some tweets this past couple days about me...

INSKEEP: Quite a few.

COMEY: ...That I should be in jail, right? The president of the United States just said that a private citizen should be jailed. And I think the reaction of most of us was, that's another one of those things. This is not normal. This is not OK. There's a danger that we will become numb to it and we will stop noticing the threats to our norms.

SHAPIRO: You can hear the rest of Steve Inskeep's interview with James Comey tomorrow on NPR's Morning Edition. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.