Former FBI Director James Comey says it is “possible” though “unlikely” that President Donald Trump has been compromised by the Russian government.
Comey provided the assessment in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that aired Sunday night.
“Do you think the Russians have something on Donald Trump?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“I think it’s possible. I don’t know. These are more words I never thought I’d utter about a president of the United States, but it’s possible,” said Comey, who was fired by Trump on May 9, 2017.
“That’s stunning,” said Stephanopoulos, a former aide to President Bill Clinton. “You can’t say for certain that the president of the United States is not compromised by the Russians?”
Comey agreed with Stephanopoulos that the possibility that Trump has been compromised is “stunning,” but he suggested that he views it as unlikely.
“It is stunning and I wish I wasn’t saying it, but it’s just — it’s the truth. I cannot say that. It always struck me and still strikes me as unlikely, and I woulda been able to say with high confidence about any other president I dealt with, but I can’t. It’s possible,” said Comey.
Comey provided the response after Stephanopoulos asked why Trump is “so reluctant to call out Vladimir Putin,” the Russian president.
“I don’t know. I’m struck by it, and I’m struck by it both in public and in private,” said Comey, who is set to publish his memoir Tuesday.
The idea that the Russian government has compromising information on Trump originated with the Steele dossier, the salacious 35-page report funded by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign.
The dossier claims that the Kremlin has been blackmailing Trump with video footage of the former real estate mogul engaging with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room in 2013. The dossier also claims that Trump campaign associates colluded with Russian agents to influence the 2016 presidential election.
But Comey told Stephanopoulos that even by the time he was fired from the FBI, he had did not know whether the serious allegations in the dossier were credible.