- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 18, 2018

In four weeks and one day, James B. Comey‘s forthcoming book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership” will be published. It might as well be published now. The book is already No. 1 on Amazon among all books 29 days before its formal publication on April 17 — besting such offerings as “Russian Roulette” by Michael Isikoff and David Corn and “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan B. Peterson. Mr. Comey’s work is also No. 1 in Amazon law, history and political sciences categories — and in one respect, he appears to have eclipsed the previous performance of another high-profile political writer.

Michael Wolff‘s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” rocketed to No. 1 on Amazon on Jan. 3 after an excerpt of his work — billed by CNN as “the first tell-all of the Trump presidency” — was revealed to the public online. The book was published two days later and went on to be a New York Times bestseller, where it remains No. 1 on the nonfiction list. Even in January, industry experts speculated Mr. Wolff made $7.9 million on book sales alone; he has since sold the film and TV rights to his book — with rights also sold in 32 countries. It’s complicated and sometimes counterintuitive, though. At the moment, “Fire and Fury” ranks No. 49 on Amazon.

But back to Mr. Comey.

The former FBI director’s book — presumably written after he was dismissed from his post by President Trump 10 months ago — has been cited as a must-read by Time, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and Publisher’s Weekly, among several news organizations. Mr. Comey’s trajectory into the rarefied publishing world is set. He will give an exclusive interview to ABC News moderator George Stephanopoulos two days before the book is published, then embark on a national tour in April which will take him to Washington, New York, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles and five other cities. During his appearance in the nation’s capital, the author also will give an exclusive interview to Axios co-founder Mike Allen, who calls the month-long blitz the “Comey vs. Trump tour,” and predicts that Mr. Comey is poised to counter the president.

“Look for fired FBI Director James Comey to come out hot on the book tour,” predicts Mr. Allen. “Comey has been quiet for nearly a year — fired by President Trump on May 9, precipitating the appointment of special counsel Bob Mueller eight days later. He has heard a lot of lies and misstatements about the FBI that he intends to correct. He didn’t want to be in this position, but is embracing it.”



Indeed. The confrontation is already underway with a Twitter skirmish percolating between President Trump and Mr. Comey — who recently finished recording the audio version of his book. The media, meanwhile, are crediting Mr. Trump for sparking a spike in the book’s popularity — “a best seller with Trump’s help,” according to CNN.

THE CONFIDENCE STILL HOLDS

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last week that 313,000 jobs were created in February and the unemployment rate remained at a 17-year low. Though President Trump‘s new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports have some wondering what effect they’ll have on the job market, Americans are more confident than ever that things will only get better,” says a new Rasmussen Reports survey.

It finds that 46 percent of Americans think the job market is better than it was a year ago, up from 39 percent in November and the highest level of confidence in regular surveying since early 2010. Just 15 percent think the job market today is worse than it was a year ago, while 35 percent think it’s about the same.”

PERSONAL POLITICS

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward is now offering online classes in investigative journalism and appears concerned over the newly revealed emotional side of the mainstream media.

“I don’t think journalism is failing at all in the Trump era. But we have a lot of work to do. A number of reporters have at times become emotionally unhinged about it all, one way or the other. Look at MSNBC or Fox News, and you will see those continually either denigrating Trump or praising him. I think the answer is in the middle, and in this class I talk about how it’s important to get your personal politics out. It’s destructive to become too politicized. The emotion should be directed at doing more work, not some feeling or personal conclusion,” Mr. Woodward told Newsweek.

His advice for those conducting an interview: “Shut up, and just listen.”

Mr. Woodward also noted that President Nixon most likely would not have tweeted when he was in office, had the technology been around during the Watergate era.

“He would have delegated it. In a sense, his secret tapes are his tweets,” observed Mr. Woodward.

MODERN ROMANCE

Just so you know. WCBS, the CBS affiliate in New York City, reports a new trend in engagement rings. Young women are now having their diamond embedded in their ring finger in a ceremonial piercing.

“A piercing artist marks the spot with a pen, cleans with alcohol and iodine, uses a tool to remove a small patch of skin, and then inserts an anchor made of titanium or gold,” WCBS reported. “The whole process takes about 10 minutes and costs around $100 for the piercing.”

Of course, the diamond is extra, healing takes up to 20 weeks and the site must be cleaned two to three times daily. A Manhattan dermatologist also warned that underlying tendons could be damaged, and that there was a real danger should the embedded diamond snag on clothing or anything else.

POLL DU JOUR

• 48 percent of Americans say Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election did not benefit the campaigns of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump; 75 percent of Republicans and 23 percent of Democrats agree.

• 42 percent of Americans overall think the efforts benefited Mr. Trump’s campaign; 14 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats agree.

• 4 percent overall think the efforts benefited Mrs. Clinton’s campaign; 7 percent of Republicans and 1 percent of Democrats agree.

• 36 percent overall are “somewhat confident” Robert Mueller will conduct a fair investigation into Russian involvement in the election; 35 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats agree.

• 25 percent are “very confident” it will be a fair investigation; 11 percent of Republicans and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

• 19 percent are “not too confident” the investigation will be fair; 24 percent of Republicans and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

• 18 percent are “not at all confident” it will be fair; 26 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 1,466 U.S. adults conducted March 7-14.

Chatter and facts to jharper@washingtontimes.com

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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