The self massaged reputation of James Comey made me believe when he stepped out last year and told America the fix was in on the HRC investigation that he was doing the right thing for the right reasons. His FBI had been compromised. It had been under assault for years due to the post 9/11 PC drive started by GWB. It accelerated into political decay when Obama was elected. (And by the way during which Mueller- now special counsel- was the head of the FBI. Yes, an incestuous pool of corruption.)
Comey was no help. It has turned out he’s that guy who spends a career maneuvering within a bureaucracy, not quite at the top- more like number three or four- who uses his position to time moments where he can shine, by mostly criticize those above him for making mistakes. And when the story is told by him, he’s always the hero. The Ashcroft in the hospital and Comey as the acting AG incident is a good example.
Yet, when these types get in charge of a department, company or division, their proven methods of moving UNDER the surface don’t work well. They get exposed, and are often found wanting. A year ago, I would have never believed this of Comey, which goes a long way to proving how effective his public reputation is.
However, today is today. The the whining, vengeful, weak man we saw in front of Congress is not a leader, and certainly not a leader of an organization like the FBI. He said he was cowed, confused, unsure, and mystified when dealing with Trump. He says Trump is a liar. But Lorettea Lynch, who actually did demand Comey change his wording in the HRC investigation to “matter” in order to be in line with the Hillary campaign, is not a criminal or a liar. Nor did he admit to keeping notes on Obama, Lynch, Hillary (who WAS a target of a criminal investigation) or anyone else in the last administration. And we know they were ALL liars!
That is the inner workings of the “ethics” that drives Comey. I watched his testimony in part. He came across as a whining, but sanctimonious, disgruntled ex-employee. It was painful to watch. As a retired cop, I felt sorry for the crew in the bureau that had to look at him every day.
During Thursday’s showdown Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, fired FBI Director James B. Comey came across as less as a fearless crusader for the truth and more as a disgruntled employee upset with the boss who unceremoniously let him go.
He deliberately shared his memos about his talks with President Trump with his friend Daniel Richman, a former FBI agent and Columbia Law School professor, explicitly hoping it would lead to the appointment of a special counsel, a ploy that succeeded brilliantly. The decision to share the sensitive memos is troubling because of Mr. Comey’s “unauthorized disclosure of privileged communications,” as Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, was quick to point out.
Strangely, Mr. Comey decided not to share that same memo with Attorney General Jeff Sessions or the acting deputy attorney general, holding his information close while waiting for the right moment to strike. He felt “defamed” by the Trump administration and took direct action against the president. This was Mr. Comey’s personal revenge after losing his job.
Liberals cheered Mr. Comey when he loosely denounced the president a liar, and revealed he began compiling the memos after their very first meeting out of concerns the president would lie about what happened.
But during the hearing, Mr. Comey repeatedly appeared unsure of himself. He reflected that he should have acted more firmly in his dealings with the president. Mr. Comey’s indecisive and self-described “cowardly” actions are now on record and further justify why the president was right to dismiss him.
Mr. Trump fared well on the legal question on the obstruction of justice. The ex-FBI chief had to admit that he was never directly ordered to end the investigation of Russia or of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Mr. Comey did feel uncomfortable meeting with the president alone, and the president’s staff should have advised him against meeting with Mr. Comey during an ongoing investigation.
Mr. Trump expects loyalty and is transparent about his actions and motives. He felt he could confide in Mr. Comey and be honest his feelings concerning Mr. Flynn, but a “hope” is not the same thing as a direct order to an FBI director to stop an investigation.
What was particularly shocking was to see Mr. Comey play by a different set of rules depending on the president he was serving. Were there memos associated with Mr. Comey’s meetings with President Obama, or with former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch when she told Mr. Comey to describe the Hillary Clinton email probe as a “matter” rather than what it plainly was — an investigation? Why not write up memos on these private comments if he was uncomfortable with Ms. Lynch’s characterization of the Clinton probe? Yet Mr. Comey clearly distrusted Mr. Trump and began his career as a memo-writer only when Mr. Trump was heading to the White House.
This is good writing. It summarizes what happened and why Trump was right in firing him. At this point, I don’t think it would have made a difference if Comey was fired with some deference to his position or just shot out of the cannon like the way Trump did it. Comey would have done the same thing- because this is who he is.
Mercedes, who is a great reporter, gets to the real issue here. That the vaunted “deep state” has to be handled carefully. Comey testified in open session UNDER OATH that his leaking of privileged conversations with the President was to force a special counsel- who happens to be his frigging friend. Again- incestuous. When you hear the professional class say “This guy is respected by both sides.” What that really means is he won’t rat out or chase down any of them. Which is frankly sad.
Even if he missed most of his targets Thursday, Mr. Comey in his testimony still represented a needed political stress test for the president and his team. The president’s learning curve is over. Another misstep could potentially cripple this administration beyond repair.
Mr. Trump needs to understand the sensitive nature of dealing with the FBI and the intelligence community, including the need to tread carefully on issues under active legal investigation. The Comey controversy has created a dark cloud over this White House, at a time when Mr. Trump badly wants to move on to his legislative agenda.
Mr. Comey did not have the strength of character to confront the president and explain how a president should interact with a top law enforcement officer. And the president should have known better and gotten better advice from his team on how to properly interact with the FBI.
Unfortunately, the political intensity surrounding Mr. Comey is not about to end. But it will now be special counsel Robert Mueller who will be the one to decide Mr. Trump and his team’s fate — despite Mr. Comey’s failed effort to defame the president.
Robert Mueller is one of the gang. Mueller will chase down someone like Flynn for lying to the FBI, only because Flynn is also NOT one of the gang and stood against Obama’s lying (yes really lying) ways and backdoor deals with Iran. This is how bad it is in DC. The outsider guy who really wants to do the right thing is crushed by the insider corrupt people. And the media rejoices.
However, Trump’s mere presence as President is making some of the DC insiders- who are comfortable sneaking around and causing problems by leaking and undermining their enemies- go simply insane. And crazy people make mistakes.
There is a growing number of lawyers and others pointing out that Comey simply cannot create work product on government time, on a government computer, concerning a privileged communication with the FREAKING PRESIDENT! and claim those memos are private. He has to to know this. Yet where are they? And is it legal to leak those communications to a private third party in hopes to undermine the President? The first part is easy- they are not his. The last part may trip Comey up. He whined his intentions were good, because after he got unfairly fired (in his, and a dwindling number of others, opinion) and he thought that he had a right to FORCE a special counsel on a lawfully elected President because he didn’t like him.
In a nutshell this is the end destination of James Comey’s long career playing the part of Diogenes, a guy looking for the last other honest man. He carefully massaged his reputation, carefully maneuvering his way through DC. He carefully crafted out of a shaky moral center this image of a man above it all, the hero. But instead, he became, in his mind, the judge, jury and executioner of everyone HE thought didn’t live up to his standard, a standard that moved as needed to suit his personal gain. He became corrupt. He became dangerous to associate with. He crafted all his stories to end with him being the hero in the final scene. Instead, he became the clown in the final play of his career.
The star of the show, James Comey, came off as a disgruntled former employee trying to save face after losing the confidence of leading Democrats and Republicans over the last two years. In fact, the account Comey gave at the hearing corroborated what President Trump has said from the beginning of this witch hunt.In the first scene, Senator Richard Burr questioned Comey about whether President Trump had ever asked him to stop the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. Comey’s response was clear: “Not to my understanding, no.”
Comey made clear that the president never impeded the FBI’s Russia investigation, nor asked him to end it, and neither had any White House staff. There goes the first of the Democrats’ conspiracy theories.
In scene two, Comey put to rest media speculation that he might use his testimony to refute the president’s account that he was told three times he was not under investigation. The former FBI director confirmed repeatedly that President Trump was never under investigation, even going so far as to recall the direct quote where he told him that at no point was he personally under investigation.
In scene three, and the most personally damaging to Comey himself, he admitted to giving his written memos about conversations with President Trump to a friend at Columbia Law School with clear instructions to leak the information to the media. Comey acknowledged that he did so after being angered at a Tweet by President Trump, and the leak was aimed at trying to force the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the president. The blatant political hackery at play here is truly astounding coming from a man who once led an agency that holds independence as a high imperative.
Following that account, Comey gave a series of awkward “I don’t know” answers when he was repeatedly pressed about why he didn’t bring it to the president’s, or anyone else’s, attention that he thought the discussion of Michael Flynn was inappropriate.
The most significant takeaways from the entire hearing did not, in fact, involve alleged inappropriate conduct by the Trump administration, but rather by the Obama Justice Department. Though we’ve long known about Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s interfered in the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, this was the first time that Comey admitted under oath that Lynch gave him directives about how to handle that investigation. According to his testimony, Lynch asked him not to call the investigation an “investigation” but simply a “matter” – language that identically mirrored the messaging coming out of the Clinton campaign at the time. That the head of the Obama Justice Department attempted to get the FBI to use Clinton talking points is a gross abuse of power and the real obstruction of justice.
What pisses me off the most was I believed the guy. I should have known better.
There are no heroes left anymore.