Photo: Ralph Alswang/ABC via Getty Images

Former FBI Director James Comey sat down with Axios' Mike Allen Monday to discuss the the juiciest parts of his new book, "A Higher Loyalty," and his time working under the Trump administration.

The big quote: Comey denied President Trump's repeated claims that he's a leaker. "I never leaked in office," he said, adding that his definition of a leak is a disclosure of protected information. He also warned against trusting the leaks and media coverage flowing from the Mueller probe. "Nothing is coming from the people who know what they're talking about," he said.

On Trump
  • If Comey had Trump under oath, he would "want to understand his state of mind" at points where he's been accused of obstruction of justice.
  • Trump's pardon of Scooter Libby was "an attack on the rule of law": "There's a reason that George W. Bush, for whom Scooter Libby worked, declined to pardon him ... I don't know whether it's a message."
  • On his reputation after working for Trump: “I don’t think I was stained.”
  • The people surrounding Trump he admires: "I admire [Defense Secretary] Jim Mattis a great deal and believe he's an American patriot." He also said he worked closely with chief of staff John Kelly for a long time and "developed a very positive relationship with him."
  • Why Comey doesn't hate Trump: "It's important that we remember who we are ... hate their actions, but don't give that person that central of a role in your life."
The Russia investigation
  • If Trump pardons Michael Cohen, Comey said Cohen would "no longer be a defendant in that investigation, but he could be compelled to testify" — in this case, against the president.
  • What would happen if Trump fires Robert Mueller? "There is no Deep State, but there is a deep culture and commitment to the rule of law" that runs through the military and intelligence communities, said Comey.
  • His advice to Trump: "Don’t do disastrous things at all, but don’t do disastrous things that won’t make a difference."
The 2016 presidential election
  • If Clinton had won "I think I'd still be FBI Director," said Comey. "Secretary Clinton is someone deeply enmeshed in the rule of law, respect for institutions."
  • As for whether he helped get Donald Trump get elected? "You can't think in those terms ... down that path lies the death of the FBI."
The FBI's reputation
  • "Never forget just how strong the culture of that organization is ... No president serves long enough to destroy that ... Remember how proud you will be to tell your grandchildren what you were during this period."

Go deeper

Louisville police declare state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision looms

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The Louisville police chief declared in a memo obtained by news outlets a "state of emergency" for the department on Monday to prepare for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 31,1833,800 — Total deaths: 962,793— Total recoveries: 21,348,410Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,833,800 — Total deaths: 199,818 — Total recoveries: 2,615,949 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: U.K. upgrades COVID alert level as Europe sees worrying rise in infections — "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

Sen. Cory Gardner on vacant Supreme Court seat: "I will vote to confirm"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will vote to confirm President Trump's nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he announced in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The development is a win for President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It should mean Republicans are all but assured to have enough support to hold hearings for Trump's potential nominee.

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