James Comey admits to shrugging off Trump’s constant threats of jail: ‘Even I go, eh — and that’s crazy’
President Donald Trump and former FBI director James Comey (Shutterstock)

James Comey urged President Donald Trump to sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller -- but the ousted FBI director has no idea whether that will actually happen.

The former top law enforcement official spoke Monday night at a book-signing event for "A Higher Loyalty" at George Washington University, and his remarks were reported by event co-host Axios.

"In a normal world, it would be very hard for the president of the United States not to submit to an interview in connection with an investigation that touches upon ... his conduct and that of people around him," Comey said. "In a normal world, the American people would find that very, very difficult to accept."

But Comey recognized that political norms had been altered in the past couple of years.

"I'm only hesitating because we don't live in that world," he said. "So many norms have been broken that disturb me greatly."

"On a regular basis, the president tweets that I should be in jail, and even I go, 'Eh,'" Comey added, with a shrug. "And that's crazy, right?"

Comey has tried to make Republicans understand the democratic norms under assault by Trump, but they don't seem to care.

"I keep saying to Republicans, 'Close your eyes and imagine Barack Obama waking up some morning and saying that somebody he doesn't like should be in jail,'" Comey said. "Republicans would freak out about that."

Comey warned the president that any actions he took against Mueller would ultimately prove ineffective, because the investigation would almost certainly be picked up by other parts of the FBI or Justice Department.

"Something really interesting might happen, then, because there is no deep state, but there's a deep culture and commitment to the rule of law that runs all the way down through not just the Department of Justice and the FBI, but the military services and the intelligence community," he said. "It would be interesting to see what would happen next, because I could imagine U.S. attorney's offices picking up pieces of it, different FBI offices picking up pieces of it."

"I would hope it would be disastrous in the eyes of the American people without regard to their political affiliation, but it would also be ineffective," Comey added. "So, don't do disastrous things at all. Don't do disastrous things that won't make a difference."

"Unlimited time ... and I would look to negotiate away any boundaries, because I need to be able to ask any follow-up questions that I wish. And then, I'd want to make sure there was a clear understanding on the part of the subject of the interview that, whether or not it was within the grand jury, still a false statement would be prosecutable."