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James Comey On Speaking Truth to Power

James Comey reveals what really happened in those strange early months of the Trump presidency and discusses his long career in public service.

‘James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did – until he was, in fact, fired.’ – President Donald Trump

When President Trump sacked James Comey as FBI Director in May last year, he ignited a political firestorm with huge implications for American democracy. Comey’s dismissal led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to look at possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — an investigation which may bring to light dark secrets about President Trump and his close associates. Now to mark the publication of his global bestseller, A Higher Loyalty, Comey comes to the Intelligence Squared stage for an exclusive event. In conversation with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, he will reveal what really happened in those strange early months of the Trump presidency, as well as his long career in public service and speaking truth to power.

Before his tenure at the head of the FBI under Obama from 2013 to 2017, Comey served in the highest echelons of American law enforcement, first as a senior prosecutor during the Clinton administration and then as Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush. His career under both Republican and Democratic presidents brought him to the centre of the most important cases in modern history, including prosecuting the mafia, overhauling the Bush administration’s surveillance and counterterrorism policies, securing the conviction of lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and leading the controversial investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

In today’s era of fake news, polarised politics and ‘alternative facts’ — when the truth itself often seems under attack — integrity, honesty and ethical leadership seem more important than ever. Comey, who served under four very different presidents, has witnessed and experienced the struggles that arise when patriotism and principles careen headlong into the partisanship that has gripped American politics.



Emily Maitlis

Lead presenter of BBC Newsnight and one of the UK’s best known broadcasters

Lead presenter of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight. She presents general elections for the BBC and covers US politics for the programme from across America. She has won plaudits for her longer form interviews for Newsnight, for which she has interviewed Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Clinton and the Duke of York. 

James Comey

Former Director of the FBI

Former Director of the FBI and author of A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, which has sold over a million copies worldwide since it was published in April. As an attorney he prosecuted numerous high-profile cases, including the case of the United States v. John Gambino, and the case that followed the 1996 terrorist attack on the U.S. military’s Khobar Towers in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. He served as Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice, and as General Counsel for Lockheed Martin and then Bridgewater Associates. He is a Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia Law School.