Counterterrorism expert: Trump is a ‘coward’ for not firing Comey personally

Caitlin Dickson
Breaking News Reporter
Philip Mudd, then at the National Security Branch of the FBI, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in 2007. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Counterterrorism expert Philip Mudd called President Trump a “coward” for the way he fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday.

“I don’t think the president just exercised bad judgment, I think he’s a coward,” an exasperated Mudd said on CNN Wednesday, referring to reports that Comey learned of his dismissal from TV news broadcasts while speaking to FBI employees at the agency’s field office in Los Angeles.


With Comey on the other side of the country, Trump chose not to call the FBI chief directly, or to wait for him to return to Washington, but reportedly sent his longtime personal bodyguard Keith Schiller to deliver a letter to FBI headquarters informing Comey of his termination.

“No. 1, if you’re gonna fire somebody with this experience, pick up the damn phone!” said Mudd, whose résumé includes serving as deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center and later of the National Security Branch of the FBI.

Mudd went on to dismiss Trump’s claim that he made the decision to fire Comey based on the recommendations of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“That’s a fig leaf, that’s an excuse,” Mudd said, pointing to the fact that Trump received the letters from Rosenstein and Sessions that supposedly motivated him to fire Comey mere hours before the news broke.

“The president acted cowardly in this case,” he continued. “He should’ve had the courtesy and the humanity to fire a man who’s done great service despite the mistakes he’s made.”

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