James Comey’s excuse for releasing damaging (and, as later shown, false) information about Hillary Clinton just before the election, while continuing to keep secret damaging (and, as is now clear, true) information about Donald Trump boils down to his concern that the NY FBI office was militantly anti-Hillary and that, had Comey not released the information, the NY office likely would have leaked it.
First, James Comey was the Director of the FBI. It was his job to run the organization, to make sure that everyone under his command followed the rules, to step in and be pro-active when there were problems. Heck, we expect that much from the manager at the local drugstore and the head of the cleaning crew that does your office each night. Comey is correct that it was very clear that the NY office was doing its best to damage Hillary. Long-silent Twitter accounts suddenly began tweeting out sections of ancient reports on Bill Clinton’s affairs. Trump cronies such as Rudy Giuliani were pretty obviously getting fed information. Comey says that he ordered an investigation.
But his job didn’t stop there. He had an obligation to be proactive, to get that office under control, and he completely failed. Did he go up there, call an all-hands meeting, and read the riot act, complete with a discussion of what would happen to those caught engaging in inappropriate behavior? Meet with the head of the office and make clear that s/he had a responsibility to bring the bad behavior to a halt? Move some staff around to break up the cell of bad actors? Order training concerning the illegality and impropriety of attempting to influence an election? Call Giuliani and talk to him about what the possible punishments might be for his role in receiving FBI leaks? Go public with his concerns about rogue actors in the NY office and warn Americans that an unfairly partisan game was afoot?
No. Comey sat on his sanctimonious ass.
But it’s worse than that. Comey showed his agents, months before the election, that it was OK to break the rules in order to injure Hillary. After a long investigation into what were always bullshit issues about her use of a private email server, Comey was unable to recommend that Hillary be prosecuted. In other words, he couldn’t make a case that she’d broken any laws. FBI/DOJ procedure in that case calls for a simple announcement that there will be no prosecution. It’s specifically against practice to do what Comey did — go ahead and scold the subject of the investigation for behavior that isn’t illegal. But that’s exactly what Comey did to Hillary. A simple, “There’s no basis for a prosecution; nothing here,” would have been too helpful to her. So, instead, Comey broke the rules and gave a long lecture about how Clinton’s behavior didn’t break any rules but was still irresponsible. His speech was designed to hurt her as much as possible, given that he couldn’t find any illegal behavior.
Well, as we all know, leaders lead by example. And the example that Comey gave to the members of the FBI was that they didn’t have to follow procedure when it came to harming Hillary Clinton.
But it’s worse than that. Comey realized that the NY FBI office would leak the information concerning Huma Abedin’s computer. He apparently didn’t think he could control his own agents. So he decided to announce the information himself. Why? Certainly not for the reasons he gives. Comey said that if he hadn’t shared the information, Clinton would have been an “illegitimate” president from day one. (Not sure what that even means nor how it squares with the DOJ’s policy against releasing damaging information just before an election.) No real explanation for why the same concern wouldn’t apply to Trump. And, if Comey’s out-of-control NY office was going to leak it, he didn’t need to. Further, having the information come from Comey made it MORE damaging to Hillary than if it had simply come from some “unnamed source.”
So Comey’s actions make no sense and, even all this time later, he doesn’t have an explanation that holds water. Shall I tell you why I think he did it?
He did it for the same reason he went out of his way to hurt Hillary as much as possible when he announced they couldn’t find a reason to prosecute her. Comey may not consider himself a sexist, but his unconscious sexism really shows. He may not have liked the idea of Trump as president, but powerful, ambitious women — Hillary, Loretta Lynch — really rub him the wrong way. If Hillary was going to be president — and he admits that he expected her to win — then she needed to be taken down a peg. Made to pay. Taught a lesson. Kept from getting too uppity.
James Comey will never need to kick his own ass if I’m in the bar.
Picture found here.