Former chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) James Comey recently blasted US President Donald Trump in an interview, saying the latter was "morally unfit" to hold the top post and that he treated women like "pieces of meat" and lied constantly and made the people of America believe them.
Comey, 57, was explosive in the very first television interview that he gave since his dismissal in May 2017, less than four years after he took charge as the FBI chief during the reign of Barack Obama. Comey was speaking to ABC News's 20/20 programme on Sunday, April 15.
Trump, however, went for a 'pre-emptive strike' hours before Comey spoke his mind out, accusing the latter of "many lies".
Comey, who was handed a shocking dismissal last year, said he didn't think Trump was not medically but morally unfit to be the president of the US.
He said the president of the US "must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country" and Trump was not able to fulfil the qualification.
After the interview was broadcast, the Republican Party released a statement via the Republican National Committee saying Comey's publicity tour for his new publication 'A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership' showed that his "true higher loyalty is to himself."
Trump has already lashed out at Comey's upcoming book, saying the "badly reviewed book" raised "big questions". He also started calling Comey as a "slime ball" of late and sought his imprisonment.
The stakes are high for both the men at war. Comey could be the star witness in any likely obstruction of justice allegation that might be brought against Trump by Robert Mueller III, the special counsel in the alleged interference of Russia in the 2016 presidential elections. Trump is thus extra concerned about undermining Comey's public credibility as a bid to save his own legal and political fates.
The Trump-Comey saga started even before - during the 2016 presidential polls when the latter was the FBI chief and the probe into the handling of classified emails on a private server by Hillary Clinton as the secretary of state. She contested in the presidential election against Trump and lost.
Initially, the FBI did not press charges although it was said that Clinton had handled the emails in an "extremely careless" manner. However, as the polls approached, Comey informed the Congress that the FBI was reopening a probe after discovering more emails and the letter he wrote was leaked - an episode that Clinton believed had handed Trump the victory. On November 6, two days prior to the election, the FBI had again said that its review of the new emails was complete and there would be no charges.
Comey had also alleged later that after becoming the president, Trump had tried to gain personal loyalty from him - a charge the latter vehemently denied.