tv James Comey A Higher Loyalty CSPAN May 30, 2018 1:17am-2:26am EDT
in this hour long event p5. [inaudible conversations] [applause] anything thank you very much for coming i am the co-owner of politics in and on behalf of everybody here at gw we are very glad that you are here. so put on an event like this involves lots of people to the people here at george washington university for letting us use their auditorium we're trying to present large events with popular authors we are grateful to have access to
such as patient and facility right here in downtown d.c. the appreciation also to the news and analysis site ronan farrow c-17 started last year of fresh competitive edition to the journalism scene covering media trend and business and politics on innovative platforms. all are very clean and as a former fbi director and then the name of the book "a higher loyalty" appearing all over the country and the controversial decision the 2015 campaign that he made as a top law enforcement officer in the subsequent interactions with president famously fired
him one year ago. alsore recanting one -- recounting his childhood memories in his career between senior jobs and a justice department and physicians in private practice with bridgewater associates. he said he never expected to write a book but chose to do so to drive the conversation about ethical leadership emanations core values. please call president tom out of step with those values comparinger him to one that stresses personality and has little regard for morality or truth.
i keep going up 17 but then to see him again for sending form your own impressions that have form your own impressions that have playbook at politico just over a decade ago. he left politico in 2013 publishedd c-17 and author every day of the newsletter 2:17 a.m. please welcome james comey 17 but then you told me
action that i am okay. it allows you to realize i am not okay enough and getow the comfort to learn from other people to show the military -- ability necessary so it requires a balance of two much confidence or swiping someone off the board with security it is making but you take joy from these achievements is the key to also be a good parent
what do you find most constructive about this conversation? i can't offer that because i cannot separate my characterization of the facts that occurred after my a night there before so i cannot answer that. in the book i try hard not to invest in the turn for those the coverageou at the last season and i'm not picking up
i think my semi- testified that like the sea goals that the beach and how well i say no comment with no interaction with awesome people like you. [laughter] you are thinking about my feelings? >> know my ability to stay away from you. [laughter] sensibilities around elections 180 days until the midterm election where robert mueller's plan is to be a big deal did you take that into account?fi i don't know. likely he will because of the norms of the department of justice the part one -- despite what you have heard there is a memo about action
related crimes like it is the rules are not the rules that you have any action that could happen impact zone the matter what conduct that would drive so how do those norms play out with a 190 day deadline? i cannot answer in this case is you have to know where the investigation is going into conclude that well in advance or what. beyond? you don't make the decision based onon the election that all else equal can i responsibly avoid a public action? it is
difficult to answer other than in that abstract way. >> what advice would you give him? to make it work well for m me. >> touche. [laughter] mike he doesn't need my advice this is part of my existence as a prosecutor and you cannot get advice on that without knowing the alternative what he could reasonably avoid or what is the point of - brief interview the president trump should not be impeached and let the voters opportunity easy they should make that decision themselves so sure curry to view?
bigger think i screwed up with george stephanopoulos i tried to express to him that that that i have been a way that is too bad to be impeached or convicted deep into public culture then to let the voters off the they need to say get forget gun supreme court justice but what is the most important is that m our leader reflects our values. [applause]
>> and what is different in many ways to create a sense of that is difficult to unwind. and that a healthier way especially those that don't vote to say this is what we stand for. that is good for america. cyclically we have terrible position. normally it is like a cataclysm world war ii reset the dysfunction of the 30s
and surely we don't need that the moment of clarity i hope comes from election. >> will he be on the ballot 2020? >> i have no idea. i was going to ask you. [laughter]es >> what are the chances that he wins? >> i don't knowar that either. >> what do you think? >> there is a third party candidate? >> said you don't know if he would give an interview but is it more likely or less likely? >> in a normal world,. [laughter] it was very hard for the president of united states not to do and interview in connection with an investigation with his conduct and people around him they
would find that very difficult and slowly hesitated because we know with networld and so many norms have them broken there is the number of tweets that say i should be in jail. [laughter] that is crazy i say close your eyes and imagine barack obama waking up that is somebody doesn't like you, you are in jail. the publicans would freak out 17. [applause] that's a long way to say i don't know everybody freak out but you think he should?
>> my president respect the rule of law. and not toth attack duration of justice on a regular basis and to cooperate. connection hillary clinton have been charged with a crime? >> when interviewed why not let them grow? it didn't matter. it is a crime to lie is inconsequential. you wish she want? [laughter] i don't think i will answer that one. [laughter] >> you said your family members do. >> that's for sure. [laughter] >> would your life be like if he did win. >> i don't know i think it would still be the fbii
director. [applause] to make somebody asked me to compare the two except secretary clinton is the mashed in the rule of law as a lawyer is given that background even as she was unhappy with the decision she would not fire the director as a result. but i don't know that for sure. [applause] and so you talk about the silent circle% of the mafia boxes will -- bosses. who was that for president count? >> i am not prepared to answer that. but that does resonate for me with that culture is
leadership and that is a familiar feature of a corporation engaged in criminal misconduct. >> who do you admire? >> general matters a great deal is an american patriot i get up every morning hoping that he is getting up the same morning. [laughter] and for a a long time with john kelly other -- and southern command. >> so you look that the document is more accurate or inaccurate? >> i t can say the core feature
of the dossier was an allegation that was corroborated by the intelligence community thatic the russians were engaged to interfere in the 2016 election. and then to see how much of the they could rule in or out. but it all could beng true. the how concerned should be personally be about cybersecurity? with investment and are they safe? >> and then to record nine with the internet and then the
you make is a clear and present danger how high do you rate those platforms? >> i can make up the scale? okay. how high would i rate the danger? compared to the other dangers ii was aiming to make sure there be an earlier reckoning for the tech companies or accountabilit accountability? >> i cannot answer that thoughtfully five will not try. >> im worried about the nature for the notion of affect for the the illusion.
>> now we will do a little follow-up. wins less than you talk to andrew? >> commonly one month ago. >> what this easy? ? >> i am conflicted is a great person but i feel pain for him and his family. at the same time inspector general's report shows people this is what an organization committed to the truth and accountability looks like whether it causes you pain and adding to the conflict that somehown he managed saying his
bow susan entirely separate human being as independent and see them in the department of justice and the fbi, it is a tragedy on so many levels. that is why i am conflicted - what is the biggest say you made that did not involve a clinton or a trump? [laughter] >> i made a ton of mistakes. we had personal mistake, carelessly created the problem in poland. [laughter] in a speech about the holocaust and it was a
distraction and entered the debate with the encryption any stupid way. i saw the news advertisement with apple and google set of thinking about what i wanted to say went straight to the press roundtable and off to theo t races. i'm not much tim you have but i can think of others. [laughter] so first as a verification thatat you said even if you were decisively that your actions will election you would not do anything differently. >> yes.
norms are inherently ambiguous. so to make a judgment call what can we responsibly do and when, that's why so hard for me to answer. and laid late october i cannot avoid that action. i do not know what the degrees of freedom would be. >> i want to pause and say what a great audience this is. a very impressed with the
questions. they're very thoughtful. i'm a 15-year-old from a lab school and he says at what point did you lucy respect and trust for trump? [applause] >> who let that kid in here? [laughter] >> my concerns about the president's commitment to telling the truth was a process over time. i was concerned enough that it was important to document my first meeting. there is a concern that wanted to make sure the intelligence chiefs had an accounting of the meeting. thereafter, there is a concern on my part i was interacting with things that touched him personally, and the fbi and
responsibilities said he may lie about them. it was a process and i would say by late january i was concerned about it. >> what type of prayers to jesus to strengthen yourself? >> in november the retired fbi director agents like myself are praying for you. >> i am a fan of a theologian who wrote the serenity prayer which was brought to my mind many times in the last three years.
>> what type of legal repercussions would arrive the president trump decided to fire robert mueller? that's an interesting question. it could be utterly ineffective in practice it would have to fire the entire fbi. i don't know if they followed a normal course. he'd find an executive to fire robert mueller. there is a deep state there is a deep culture on it it would be interesting to see what would happen next. i can imagine the attorney's office picking up part of itnd
it would be very hard to do sothing that direct an attack on the rule of law. >> so you're saying to president trump, don't bother. >> it would also be ineffective. so don't to disastrous things at all, don't do disastrous things that will make a difference. >> here's a question from nathan and anna. they say can you describe your were working relationship with vice president, dick cheney? >> seems like another very smart person, we had conflict that was intense, especially over the nsa surveillance program.
i tell the story in the book so i will not repeated here. you look me in the eye closer than we are until me thousands of people were going to die because of what i was doing. what i was doing was supporting the lawyers who said we cannot find a legal basis for this activity. and i said, that's not helping me. that's just increasing the pain. it doesn't help me to think differently about the legal problem. >> who is a living later you admire? >> i mentioned clapper. i came to admire barack obama. [applause] i was not a political supporter of barack obama. i gave money to mccain and romney, part because they hounded me. but i thought it was important that people principal be the nominee from the other party. i thought that wing nuts like that other party.
[applause] but, my dealings with him were a national security issues and i came to respect not only the decisions he made, but the way he made decisions. especially the ability to listen and create an environment where people would speak with him. the man would listen for five or ten minutes and not just when joe biden was talking. he would listen and then ask questions from the first minute, the third minute in the fifth minute. >> i admired him because of a leader. >> who is a leader you admire in business or philanthropy, or academia? >> i worked for a great ceo at lockheed martin.
he came from the humblest of circumstances and was a grunt marine in vietnam. got his first job building aircraft and was the ceo of lockheed martin. never lost the ability to connect with people. in case i left anyone off the list, i was going to say you next. >> does bill clinton's meeting with loretta lynch help make a decision told the press release? >> yes. it was that meeting in conjunction with loretta and loretta's decision to know she would not recuse herself but accept my recommendation. at that point, i decided as much as i like her this would not have credibility with the american people if i announce it standing next to her. i never thought i would be in that situation. given where we are, worse would
be standing there having the american people having doubts about the work she said she would accept doing it separately. people can disagree about it but we thought we would have to do bad not worse. >> the justice department looking at taking out of the prosecutors man the language about freedom of the pre. >> i saw that i want to know more. i just don't know. i saw the story but i do not know if it is real. you have covered institutions, when ever you have a choice between benevolent and incompetent, always start with income since. they might be repairing the website or something.
>> putting aside the motive you don't think it's a good idea. >> to put aside freedom of the press? >> to take the language out of their manual. >> i don't know what the languages. you want respect for the newsgathering to be central to your investigative consideration. people can disagree about how you interact but they are to have it front of mine when touching the media. >> what advice do you have for current to government employees on how to stay focused on the mission while under political pressure? [applause] >> remember, someday you'll have to explain to your grandchildren what you did during this time.
[applause] it is what help me during moments when i thought i was going to be crushed by pressure. i would close my eyes and float to the future and say, how will i explain this? i gave in because they yelled at me? beuse i wasnder pressure? remember what the values of the institution you sir. remember, someday you will have to explain how you upheld those values. >> we have an advice question. you have said that you hate, or you don't hate donald trump. given what he said about you, that is impressive. could you please help me not to hate donald trump. >> hitting people gives them too much power over you. one of the real dangers we face today is the president's behavior but drag us all down.
and so i'm not much on twitter, but i'm keen not to engage back and forth and name-calling. whether or not there's a space between slimeball, i don't care. support we remember who we are. hating someone, their people you need to hate but i urge you first to hate their action and don't give that person that central role in your life. [applause] >> we have another hash take care. did you get the letters from your former colleagues at the fbi? do you know we miss you? did you read them? signed comey's home home ease.
>> i read everyone. you all made me cry. i could only read them 20 at a time. i have drawers full of them. it increased my pain but also made me realize why i felt the pain, because of the people. >> drawers full of letters from former colleagues. >> and t-shirts, mugs, i get no piece of those profits. i get none of it. >> i said this when i testify. it's a lie that the fbi wasn't tattered. for that i was estranged from that workforce. one of the part proudest parts my life is that i love those people and i think in the main they felt that back. it meant a lot that these things
came in. but i read everyone. and i still have it. [applause] >> what is something you would like to share with the people of the bureau now that it has been under a year since .-ellipsis. many of us remember that and it day and we will never forget. >> never forget how strong the culture of that organization is. that is frustrating when you are a director trying to oriented ten certain ways. remember the inertia is your strength and the strength of this country. people who haven't been there when i described the culture, if you haven't worked united states military services maybe don't get it.
all of those who work there, you feel it. no president served long enough to destroy it. just remember the long run, remember who you are. remember how proud you will be to tell your grandchildren what you were like during this time. you are great, just keep being it. >> 200 years from now when a historian writes a bout the 2016 election. what would here she say about you? . .
that is not the center of our family and we can't portamento lives and we talk about the next thing. my wife watches more than i and it gets her jazz up. george stephanopoulos said have you lost friends over this and she said not true friends but we have lost some. >> who is on the list? and she's the one i worry about the most inventive.
eight years in the private sector what i will do is remember you were fortunate as most of the world remember our obligation to care for those who don't have what we have. [applause] you will never see my tax returns but you will see that commitment reflected a. >> this gets to the trend of the writers around here. your family is upsizing. >> i have no idea why. my youngest is about to graduate from high school so my wife decided we needed to move to a bigger house. we were going to do this when i was director. the idea is we have to have a
place where each of them and their significant other can stay and room for the grandchildren and a ping-pong table. we don't have any grandchildren by the way. [laughter] but my wife is a planner so the idea is we will become an attraction to our big family and we've got to do with now as we try to fix it later. [laughter] >> the ultimate question we have 30 seconds for two questions. another one from sally quinn. the first headline of your obituary or epitaph, how do you want to be remembered? >> i actually don't care about this stuff. if you know m me can me can youi need this. i want to be a great father, husband and grandfather and friend and neighbor.
that is my goal and my advice for young people would be asked that question whe i'm about to die, what will matter and i guarantee you will not care about money or houses and cars and honor and with newspaper clippings you have about yourself. it won't matter. >> a quick thank you and then to thank brad and politics and prose and flatiron books into the amazing team, thank you all for coming and as we say goodbye, what is on your gift list that you have dreamed of doing and now you can? >> i don't think there's anything on that list. i am a happy person and maybe this explains why it doesn't bother me more. i'm married to my best friend, five amazing children.