Trump Talk of Jailing Foe Akin to `Tin-Pot Dictator,' Comey Says

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(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s comments that ousted FBI Director James Comey belongs in jail are "dangerous" and threaten a "tin-pot dictatorship," the former lawman said in an interview Tuesday with NPR.

Comey’s comments kept alive a feud between the two that has seen Comey liken Trump to a Mafia boss and call him "morally unfit" for the presidency in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC News. Trump in turn lashed out at the former FBI chief as politically motivated and calling him "Slippery James Comey" and the worst director in the agency’s history.

"This is not some tin-pot dictatorship where the leader of the country gets to say ‘the people I don’t like go to jail,’" Comey said in the NPR interview that aired Tuesday. "Lady Justice can’t be peeking under the blindfold to see if Donald Trump wants her to convict so-and-so and not convict so-and-so. If we lose that, we’ve lost the rule of law."

Trump fired Comey in May, a move that eventually led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is also reviewing whether that dismissal amounts to obstruction of justice.

Comey has said the FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation into potential Russian election interference in July 2016, triggered by discussions that George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, had in London. The FBI was also interested in Carter Page, another adviser. Comey said an unverified dossier assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele had no impact on triggering the investigation.

Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” was released Tuesday although portions have been widely reported in the past several days. Trump and allies have lashed out at those excerpts, saying Comey’s decision to clear Democrat Hillary Clinton over her use of a private computer server to conduct State Department business was motivated by opinion polls not legal concerns.

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