James Comey slumps strategically in restaurants — all 6-foot-8 of him, drooping faux-furtively with his back to the room — and daydreams about deleting the civic-minded Twitter feed where a bipartisan coalition pronounces him a national disgrace.
He sleeps soundly — nine hours a night, he ballparks — and organizes the self-described “unemployed celebrity” chapter of his life around a series of workaday goals. “One of my goals has been to get to 10 consecutive pull-ups,” Mr. Comey said in an interview, legs crossed on the back porch of his stately Virginia home. “I’m at nine now. So, I’ve been doing a lot of pull-ups.”
He writes and thinks and reads and worries from a tidy downstairs office surrounded by the trinkets of his past: the White House place card from the night President Trump asked for his “loyalty” as F.B.I. director; a book by Nate Silver, the political data whiz who believes Mr. Comey’s explosively ambiguous letter in October 2016 about the Hillary Clinton email investigation probably handed Mr. Trump the election; a page from a quote-of-the-day calendar, saved for its resonance: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
“It reminds me so much of the F.B.I.,” Mr. Comey said.
But then, a lot of things have lately. Another Trump-branded election interference scandal is upon us. Institutions are wobbling. And Mr. Comey, as ever, cannot fight a nagging conviction about it all: James Comey can help. He must help.
“I feel stuck,” he said. “Like I can’t do something else. And I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I went and did something easy.”