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Dublin: 0 °C Thursday 27 February, 2020

Former FBI director: Family separation is a 'shameful, disgraceful episode' in US history

James Comey said what has been happening on the Mexican border is “utterly inconsistent with who we are as Americans”.

Image: The Canadian Press/PA Images

FORMER DIRECTOR OF the FBI James Comey has described the separation of children from their parents at the Mexican border in recent months as shameful and disgraceful.

Comey, who was appointed by President Barack Obama and fired by Donald Trump, told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke what has been happening on the border is “utterly inconsistent with who we are as Americans”.

He said if there is any good to come of putting children in cages, it would be that the American people “wake up” to what he has been talking about – the threat to American values.

He said it is a “shameful, disgraceful episode in the history of my country”.

People need to wake up to the fact that this president and his approach jeopardises that which makes us Americans.

Comey compared President Trump to a mafia boss: “It’s all about him – what you can do for him, what affirmation, what praise do you bring him, because that’s what he’s craving.”

He said he found it “shocking” that the President had asked him for personal loyalty as it had been important since Watergate to keep distance between the government and the FBI.

‘There was no bias’

Comey was also asked about the impact the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails had on the presidential campaign. In her book, Clinton wrote that she felt he had “shivved” her.

“That makes me feel badly that she’s carrying around that kind of pain.”

He said if he were to speak with Clinton, he would ask her to read the chapter in his book about how those decisions were made.

“I honestly don’t think you can learn about those decisions and walk away thinking we were intending to harm her in some way… there was no bias, we were trying to do the right thing by the values of our institution.”

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