James Comey gets to laugh about Donald Trump on Stephen Colbert

"I’m out there living my best life. He wakes up in the morning and tweets at me"

Published April 18, 2018 9:02AM (EDT)

James Comey (AP/Andrew Harnik)
James Comey (AP/Andrew Harnik)

When late-night host Stephen Colbert sat down with former FBI Director James Comey on "The Late Show" Tuesday night, he naturally asked Comey for one thing: devout loyalty.

Colbert's joke was met with a long, blank stare from Comey, until the late-night host poured a glass of Pinot Noir into paper cups, a nod to what Comey drank on his private flight home after he was fired by President Donald Trump.

"I thought maybe we could recreate that happy moment for you right now," Colbert said as he prepared the toast. "To the truth."

It was the former FBI head's first late-night appearance, and while he was there to promote his new tell-all, "A Higher Loyalty," it wasn't long before he began cracking some jokes of his own. Colbert asked him about the relentless insults Trump has hurled at him on Twitter and whether he had any rebuttal.

"In the last few days, he has called you 'Slippery Jim,' and he has called you a slimeball," Colbert noted. "Anything to say back?"

"No. He’s tweeted at me probably 50 times. I’ve been gone for a year. I’m like a breakup he can’t get over," Comey replied, as the crowd roared. "I’m out there living my best life. He wakes up in the morning and tweets at me."

Becoming more serious, Comey explained the importance of not normalizing Trump's infamous Twitter tirades.

"Does that mean we’ve become numb to this? It’s not OK for the president of the United States to say a private citizen should be in jail," he said. "It’s not normal, it’s not acceptable, it’s not OK. But it’s happened so much, there’s a danger we’re now numb to it, and the norm has been destroyed. And I feel that norm destroying in my own shrug. So we can’t allow that to happen. We have to talk about it and call it out. It’s not OK."

Over the course of the 30-minute interview, Comey offered some public assurances of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's job, and more importantly, the overall investigation Mueller's leading into alleged Trump campaign ties to the Russian government.

"I think most likely it goes on. I think you would need to fire everyone in the Justice Department and the FBI to stop that investigation," Comey said when asked what he thought would happen if Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein were fired. "I could imagine U.S. attorney's offices picking it up, FBI field offices picking it up. I think it would be very hard to shut that down by firing."

Colbert also pressed Comey quite a bit on his decision to speak out about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.

"What was the consideration to sending a letter to Congress saying you were reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails after Anthony Weiner’s laptop was found to have 100,000 emails on it?" Colbert asked. "Again, the norm and the standard was that the FBI does not discuss anything having to do with a political campaign 60 days out from the election."

But Comey shot down that so-called 60-day norm. "That’s not true — the 60-day thing, I don’t know where that comes from."

He added, "You take no action, if you can avoid it, that might have an impact on any election."

Colbert shot back, "Well, you had to imagine this would have an effect."

The two went on to debate back and forth over Comey's decision to speak out just 11 days before the election, but they eventually moved on, as Colbert wanted to address the salacious allegations in the Steele dossier.

"How did you tell him that there was a — and I want to put this delicately — pee-pee tape?" Colbert asked.

"I spoke about information, unverified, that related to an allegation that he was with prostitutes in a hotel in Moscow, and that the Russians had videotaped it," Comey answered. "I didn’t go into the rest of it."

"So you didn’t mention the salacious detail of the two prostitutes getting up on the bed that the Obamas had stayed in — because it was the presidential suite — and, you know, engaging in some water play?" Colbert asked.

Comey, consistent with his recent interview with ABC New on Sunday, confirmed he did not get too explicit and told Colbert that the president denied all of the allegations profusely.

However, Colbert couldn't help but mention that he actually rented the room used by Trump when he traveled to Moscow last summer.

"Would you like to ask me anything about that room?" Colbert said to Comey.

Comey asked, "Is it big enough for a germaphobe to be at a safe distance from the activity?"

"The bedroom is very long," Colbert quipped. "You’d definitely be out of what we call at Sea World, the splash zone."


By Charlie May

MORE FROM Charlie May