Former FBI Director James Comey is embarking on a new career. He’s going back to his roots, pulling from his experiences during his time as an attorney in the Southern District of New York and writing crime novels. His debut novel, “Central Park West,” is now on shelves.
While promoting his new book on “Frank Buckley Interviews,” Comey responded to the latest news regarding the release of the report by Special Counsel John Durham, saying, “After all these years, there’s nothing new in that report about the FBI. No new facts. He’s got his analysis and his take on things, but after all this time, there’s nothing new. And so, my reaction honestly is, an enormous waste of time and tax payer money to give us a nothingburger.”
The report was the conclusion of a four-year investigation conducted by Special Counsel John Durham, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr. It examined the origins of the FBI’s investigation of links between Russian officials and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Durham alleged that the FBI under Comey showed bias and treated Trump’s campaign differently than Clinton’s campaign.
Comey punched back at Durham, saying, “The FBI has no friends, and especially in a polarized environment, it’s being used as a political punching bag. Especially from MAGA world, because they fear it. It represents a threat to Donald Trump, and so he takes a flamethrower to it, and so do the rest of them. It’ll pass. The institution is trustworthy. The American people trust it and depend upon it. It’ll be OK in the long run, but for now, it’s in a difficult political spot.”
Comey has been the subject of many op-eds and accusations dissecting his time as FBI director. In 2019, a highly-anticipated report from the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice was released and found no evidence of political bias in the launch of the initial FBI investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign. But, did this investigation and accusations hurled at both Comey and the FBI by the Trump administration cost both the FBI and the nation? Comey thinks so.
“I think the FBI has been damaged, in a couple of respects. I think it has, most importantly, it has lost some of the faith and confidence of American citizens,” Comey said.
Does he feel the FBI will be able to stay independent? Comey emphatically says yes.
As the 2024 presidential race heats up, former Trump and Florida Gov. Ron Desantis have both suggested they would pardon Jan. 6 defendants. Comey unequivocally is against this, saying, “You can protest, you can leaflet, you can tweet, you can march up and down… but don’t you dare interfere by force in this Constitution’s work. Don’t you dare!”
Comey added, “It’s gotta be very painful to be a supporter of Donald Trump and see the images of Jan. 6, because on some level it whispers to you, ‘You fool, look what you did.'”
When asked how it feels to have his first novel hit shelves, Comey said, “It feels great and nerve-wracking. I had to be talked into doing this, and once I started though, I found it addictive and I loved it.”
Comey says he’s always been a writer, writing for the school paper in high school, but it took him a long time to get back to writing, “[It took] a few years after getting fired to be far enough from government work that I could think about it and consider it.”
Comey says his wife is who pushed him to write and actually helped come up with the idea for “Central Park West.” While writing this book, Comey experienced what he calls a special “cross-over” moment.
“I prosecuted mobsters in the ’90s,” he said. “And I tried a case against John Gambino and Joe Gambino, two big mobsters, in Courtroom 318 in the old federal courthouse in lower Manhattan. … At the same time I was writing this, my daughter was on her feet in Courtroom 318, the same courtroom, prosecuting Ghislaine Maxwell.”
This is what lead to Comey making the protagonist of the novel a woman.
On writing this book and reminiscing about places he used to work before becoming director of the FBI, Comey said working on this novel brought him back “before I had to deal with Congress and politicians and the media.”
The full interview airs on “Frank Buckley Interviews” June 4 at 4:30pm. New episodes of the podcast with extended audio drop on Wednesdays.