I was right. And, lordy, I was wrong…maybe. During the 2016 election, I argued that then-FBI Director Comey was acting from a self-righteous, Boy Scout ethos when he announced that the FBI was investigating a new batch of emails sent when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. It was a violation of longstanding Justice Department policy — doubly or quadruply so because it was only eleven days before the election.
Though Comey still defends his decision, the weight of the damage it caused couldn’t have escaped him in his brief time serving under The Orange Menace. Indeed, he’s admitted:
This was terrible. It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had some impact on the election.
It make me want to dive for the toilet.
But now Comey is a hero to Democrats, a martyr for the anti-Trumpian cause after he was summarily fired because of “this Russia thing.” They’re celebrating the very independence and adherence to his self-righteous moral compass that lead him to write that letter to congress in the first place.
I won’t pussyfoot around it: This is rank hypocrisy. I don’t, however, in any way agree with or condone Comey’s actions regarding the newly uncovered emails. There was NO reason to believe the investigation’s findings would be overturned or amended after they were examined.
That was as much about the pressure he felt from his mostly conservative FBI colleagues and preserving his own reputation for probity. In my post about Comey’s election-scrambling email, I said,
Comey has succumbed to the blindness of those who consider themselves to be upright and morally superior, so above the fray that their motives could never be questioned.
If I do something, it must be right.
C’mon, you have to admit the Dems are being entirely craven in their turnabout. Suddenly, Comey is Elliot Ness and Dudley Do-Right rolled into one.
James Comey: Harassed by an Expert
Okay, now that I’ve vented a bit of the remaining bitterness and venom out of my system, I have to say that Comey did come off sympathetically during his testimony. It’s rare for a adult man to admit frailty so readily — especially when he happens to be 6′ 8″.
Comey detailed Trump’s discomfiting and up-close-and-personal pressure tactics that reminded many women of sexual harassment they had personally experienced. The dinner that turned out to be private. The linkage to retaining a job. The reminders of your boss’s power over you.
In response to Sen. Diane Feinstein’s question as to why he didn’t rebuff the president’s entreaties directly, Comey answered:
Maybe if I were stronger, I would have.
Can you imagine Trump ever admitting that?
Or, as he said to Marco Rubio:
I was a bit stunned and didn’t have the presence of mind … I wasn’t “Captain Courageous.”
And speaking of lack of courage, it seemed that the old, cowed John McCain had returned. Here’s the the thing that I may have been wrong about. Perhaps we can’t count on John McCain’s Cold War spirit to keep the administration’s feet to the Russian fire, after all.
Okay, get it out of your system. Yes, some of you told me so.
McCain was in the cleanup spot — the last questioner before the private session — but McCain was the one who was a mess. His incoherent queries left everyone scratching their heads and lead to immediate suggestions of incipient Alzheimer’s disease.
Repeatedly referring to the ex-director as President Comey, McCain seemed to be channeling Sean Spicer — by way of Melissa McCarthy — as he suggested (as far as anyone can tell) that the former Fed treated Hillary Clinton better than Donald Trump in their respective investigations.
It’s hard to reconcile: In one case you reach a complete conclusion, and the other side you have not. I think that’s a double standard there, to tell you the truth.
I’ll pause to let your jaw return to its normal position.
At one point, Comey spoke for many when he said:
I’m a little confused, Senator.
You and me both. Was this the same Cold Warrior who said as recently as May 29:
McCain has established a pattern of, to steal a phrase from Comey, not being Captain Courageous. The 80-year-old senior senator from Arizona seems to suffer from a rare disorder (outside of the political sphere): Vanishing spine syndrome. McCain’s backbone randomly disappears and reappears without a moment’s notice. Now you see it; now you don’t.
I think ISIS can do terrible things. But it’s the Russians who tried to destroy the fundamental of democracy and that is to change the outcome of an American election.
What I was trying to get at was whether Mr. Comey believes that any of his interactions with the President rise to the level of obstruction of justice. In the case of Secretary Clinton’s emails, Mr. Comey was willing to step beyond his role as an investigator and state his belief about what ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would conclude about the evidence. I wanted Mr. Comey to apply the same approach to the key question surrounding his interactions with President Trump — whether or not the President’s conduct constitutes obstruction of justice. While I missed an opportunity in today’s hearing, I still believe this question is important, and I intend to submit it in writing to Mr. Comey for the record.
Um, that’s not what it sounded like to most observers. Perhaps massive injections of Fosamax shored up his crumbling spinal column. Again.
John McCain just won reelection, so he’ll have six more years to play find and seek with his backbone. (Yet the kindest take would be to write this off as a massive senior moment.)
Though McCain’s shaky questioning launched a thousand tweets, it was quickly overwhelmed in the Twitterverse by Comey’s steadfast portrait of the Prevaricator-in-Chief. As he repeatedly said throughout the nearly three hours of testimony, his meticulous note taking was inspired by “the nature of the person” he was dealing with.
I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.
Really? I’m shocked, shocked.
The GOP may be called the Party of Lincoln, but President Trump is a looooong way from Honest Abe.
If you like my writing, please consider supporting my work on Patreon. For only $1 a month, you can follow my recovery while you enjoy wildlife, nature, and garden photos, gifs, and panoramas, as well as other exclusive content. A pledge of $5 brings you the pre-publication versions of my Free Inquiry essays. Click here for more rewards: My Patreon Perks.