Comey: Impeach Trump, but 'Turn Off the Television Lights on Him' (NBC/"Today")
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 12 January 2021 08:31 AM
Former FBI Director James Comey said Monday he was "sickened" by last week's attack on the Capitol and believes it's important that everyone who entered the building is found and charged and that President Donald Trump is impeached.
But, he told NBC News' "Today," rather than prosecute Trump over the next several years, it would be better to "turn off the television lights on him" and to allow President-elect Joe Biden's administration to bring unity to the country.
"The president needs to be sanctioned for his behavior and held accountable," Comey told "Today" anchor Savannah Guthrie. "I think it is important that he be impeached. I think it is important that local prosecutors in New York continue to pursue the variety of frauds he surely committed before he became president."
But at the same time, he doesn't think it's in the best interest of the country to keep Trump on national television every day for the next three or four years "as part of the United States versus Donald Trump in the District of Columbia."
Doing that won't help Biden heal the nation or "coax the millions of Americans who have been defrauded, who are caught in the fog of lies," to move back into a "healthy place," said Comey.
"It's a hard, painful decision, but I still think it would be better for this country if we move past a fallen and corrupt president and turned off the television lights on him, which in some ways would be the greatest punishment he could imagine," said Comey.
Meanwhile, Comey said it was "appalling" that there was a lack of preparation before the riot, considering it was a "threat that was obvious on a date that's been marked for 130 years, Jan. 6 … it was just a failure to see a threat that was in bright daylight, coming at you."
However, he said he doesn't think plans for Biden's escorted walk after his inauguration need to be changed.
"It was important for all of us as Americans after 9/11 not to let terrorists win," said Comey. "We can be prepared. We should be prepared. We should act like the country we are, free and open and safe."