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Comey: Trump is ‘morally unfit’ to be president, might be ‘compromised’

George Stephanopoulos, left, appears with former FBI Director James Comey for a taped interview.

George Stephanopoulos, left, landed the first media interview with former FBI Director James Comey since he was fired in May 2017. | Ralph Alswang/ABC via AP

WASHINGTON — Former FBI Director James Comey says our president must be truthful — and Comey contends he is not able to do that. For that reason, Comey told ABC News he is “morally unfit” to be in the White House. He stopped short of calling for Trump’s impeachment because whether he remains in office “should be up to the American people.”

“Values matter. This president does not reflect the values of this country,” Comey told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive sitdown interview kicking off a publicity tour for his new book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.”

Comey also thinks it’s possible that President Donald Trump might be compromised by the Russians.

In an interview with ABC News that aired Sunday night, the fired FBI chief says he could not discount the possibility that Russia might have something on the president.

He says he knows that’s a “stunning” possibility and something that he never thought he’d say about a president of the United States.

Still, he says it strikes him as unlikely, but something that he can’t say without high confidence.

Comey says he thinks there’s “certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice” in Trump’s actions.

Comey answered “possibly” when asked in the ABC News interview whether the president was attempting to obstruct justice when he asked Comey to end an FBI investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump has denied that conversation, but Comey insisted that it definitely occurred.

He says there’s “certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice,” though he notes that he’s just a witness in the case and not an investigator or prosecutor.

Comey is promoting a new book — and incurring Trump’s wrath as he does. The president has called him a “liar and a leaker.”

Comey also says he found out he was fired from television reports. And that he leaked his notes on conversations with Trump to a friend instead of directly to the media because “there were so many reporters at the end of my driveway” it would have been unfair to pick one.

RELATED: Transcript: James Comey’s interview with ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos

Lynch defends her actions

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch is defending her actions in the Hillary Clinton email investigation following criticism from Comey. He said in the Sunday interview that he felt Lynch had compromised the Justice Department by becoming too close to the Clintons, and he felt the need to distance the FBI from the Attorney General. That’s why he says he held news conferences on the Clinton email probe without consulting Lynch.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Lynch responds to criticism from Comey in his forthcoming book that, early in the email inquiry, she had instructed him to refer to it as a “matter” rather than an “investigation.”

Lynch says she was simply following long-standing Justice Department protocol against confirming or denying the existence of an investigation.

She says she rose above politics throughout the email investigation, and never discussed it with anyone from the Clinton campaign or the Democratic National Committee.

Lynch also says that Comey never raised any concerns with her regarding the email investigation.

Trump fires back

Trump is again calling former FBI Director James Comey a “slimeball” ahead of the publication of his new book, set for Tuesday.

Trump’s morning tweet comes ahead of Comey’s interview with ABC to be broadcast in full on Sunday evening.

In an excerpt shown Saturday, Comey says his belief that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election was a factor in his decision to disclose the investigation into her emails.

In his tweet, Trump says: “Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. 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!”

Comey brings his book tour to Chicago on Friday with an appearance at the Harris Theatre for Dance and Music. General admission to the event is sold-out.