Excerpts from James Comey's book, A Higher Loyalty, have hit the papers. The Guardian obtained an advance copy from a New York bookseller and has published excerpts from the book. Comey's description of his first meeting with Trump is instructive:
[He] appeared shorter than he seemed on a debate stage with Hillary Clinton. His face appeared slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assume he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coiffed, bright blond hair, which on close inspection looked to be all his. I remember wondering how long it must take him in the morning to get that done.
Here was a man who spent a lot of time in front of a mirror. But the more Comey got to know Trump, the more the president reminded him of characters he had met before:
I had never seen anything like it in the Oval Office. As I found myself thrust into the Trump orbit, I once again was having flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the mob. The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and the truth.”
Of Trump’s now famous demand over dinner at the White House in January 2017, “I need loyalty”, Comey writes: “To my mind, the demand was like Sammy the Bull’s Cosa Nostra induction ceremony – with Trump in the role of the family boss, asking me if I have what it takes to be a ‘made man.
That insight seems to fit when one remembers that Trump's protector was Roy Cohn, who represented New York mafiosos like Tony Salerno, Carmine Galante and John Gotti. Moreover, given recent reporting on how Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen works, the characterization appears to be spot on.
And, because Robert Mueller was the man who finally sent John Gotti to jail, it appears that the folks at the Justice Department know who they're dealing with.
All of this means that Donald The Don will not go easily.