Administration

Comey: ‘Greatest punishment’ for Trump after Capitol riot is to ‘move past’ his presidency

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Former FBI Director James Comey said the worst punishment President Trump can receive for inciting a mob of his supporters to attack the Capitol last week is being ignored by the American public after he leaves office. 

“The president needs to be sanctioned for his behavior and held accountable. I think it is important that he be impeached,” Comey said Tuesday during an interview on the “Today” show. “I still think it would be better for this country if we move past a fallen and corrupt president, and turned off the television lights on him, which in some ways, would be the greatest punishment he could imagine.”

Since supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building last week, critics have said Trump incited the violent outburst and suggested he be held criminally liable for enflaming political tensions after losing the November presidential election. 

Democrats have introduced an article of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of “inciting insurrection” against the American government. 

During a rally on the White House Ellipse on Wednesday morning, Trump urged his supporters to march on the Capitol and display “strength” in supporting his objections to President-elect Joe Biden’s election win.

“You’ll never take our country back with weakness,” Trump said. 

Comey, who has been critical of Trump since his firing in 2017, in a new book suggested the president not be prosecuted or pardoned by Biden for the good of the nation. 

“Whether or not our next president pardons Donald Trump, and whether or not the Department of Justice pursues him, the American people should be told why,” Comey wrote in a new book

One Republican lawmaker, Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.), suggested over the weekend Trump enjoyed watching the chaos at the Capitol last week. 

“As this was unfolding on television, Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building,” Sasse said during a radio interview. “That was happening. He was delighted.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told his caucus on a call Monday that Trump acknowledged to him some responsibility for Wednesday’s events.  

Comey said Trump has damaged public trust in the election process by peddling false or misleading claims of voter fraud and it is incumbent on elected leaders to clear the “fog of lies” he said Trump has created. 

“You can’t shout at people to convince them that they’ve been defrauded. One of the hardest things in the world is for a victim of a fraud, of lies, to admit they were fooled,” Comey said. “I worked criminal cases where the victims of a fraud would come to support the fraudster after he pled guilty. It is not about shouting at them. It is about coaxing them and urging them and letting them out of that fog of lies.

“It is a really hard thing that takes years, and it will take years, but it is hastened by them seeing competent, honest, empathetic leadership, which I think they’re going to see starting January the 20th, as we heal this country, both spirituality and from this virus,” he added.

Tags 2020 election Ben Sasse Capitol breach Capitol riot Donald Trump Donald Trump Inauguration day James Comey James Comey Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Presidency of the United States

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