While the President of the United States may be immune from civil liability for acts taken as part of his job as the President, Courts have ruled that he may be subject to civil liability for anything he does when not conducting business as the President.
Thus, James Comey couldn’t sue Trump successfully for firing him as Director of the FBI. That was clearly done as part of his job as President. However the more compelling case may be a civil suit for defamation.
James Comey testified that he was “confused” and “concerned” when President Donald Trump told the public he was firing him for undermining the morale of the agency he had led since 2013.
“Those were lies, plain and simple,” Comey said.
The Trump administration, he said, “chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader.”
While the country is contemplating whether the President will be impeached for obstructing justice, the more immediate concern for Donald Trump may be whether he will be sued personally for defamation. Comey chose his words carefully during the Senate hearing. He strategically used the word “defame” and “lie”. The fact that Trump has himself said two conflicting things is the best evidence possible for Comey.
In an interview that was aired on national television, Lester Holt specifically asked Trump why he fired Comey.
During that same interview Trump contradicted himself, suggesting that Comey was fired to to his ineptness in managing the FBI, while admitting that the Russian investigation was a reason for Comey’s firing.
Trump also told Russian officials firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him. Trump called Comey a “crazy” and a real nut job,” Trump said “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
He acknowledged that the Russia investigation was one of the things he considered. “In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”
In a defamation suit the jury is often required to assess the credibility of the witnesses to determine who to believe. In this case, Trump’s own words will be used against him. Comey will unquestionably make the better witness. Adjectives to describe Comey include, “Impeccable integrity” , “stable”, and “trustworthy.” Comey was described as responding “calmly and confidently,” and having a reputation for rectitude. Trump as described as a “serial prevaricator.”
Trump probably will be found to have obstructed justice as a result of his efforts to interfere with the Russian investigation. He doesn’t seem to understand that whether he is the subject of the investigation or not, he can still be impeached for obstructing justice by interfering with the investigation. However it seems likely that Comey is planning to sue Trump in a civil suit for defamation.
Even Chris Wallace found Comey to be an incredible witness.
“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!”
Trump still doesn’t get it! By accusing James Comey of making “false statements” and “lies” Trump is simply making a defamation suit more likely successful.