They say that if you’re a carpenter who owns only a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I think there’s some value there.
I’ve spent most of my adult life as a lawyer. One of the most difficult courses I took in law school — likely because it was one of the first and, thus, the one where I learned to “think like a lawyer” — was Torts. And in Torts, there’s this wonderful invention of English law known as “proximate cause.” Black’s Law Dictionary, the book that almost every law student receives as a gift upon being accepted to law school, defines “proximate cause” as that “which in a natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces injury, and without which the result would not have occurred.” When you take a Torts exam, you get hypotheticals full of accidents that, for example, started when Actor A dashed naked across the street, and Actor B looked up from her cell phone and hit her brakes, and Actor C swerved onto the shoulder to miss A & B and wound up hitting Victim D. And Actor C is the “proximate cause” of the injuries that Victim D sustained. Yes, everyone else contributed, but, in the law, if we’re going to compensate Victim D, we look to the proximate cause of her injury, i.e, Actor C.
Proximate cause is my hammer and I submit that James Comey was the proximate cause of Donald Trump’s electoral victory.
Sure, there were other, intervening causes. Patriarchy. (In my family, there’s a joke that Nonna can relate ANY evil, up to and including the designated hitter rule, to Patriarchy. It’s not really a joke. I really can.). Sexism (both conscious and un-). The way the media covered the campaign. Russian interference up to and including (show me that I’m wrong) vote tampering in key states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Racism. Xenophobia. A recurrent Nazi movement in the US and Europe. Liberal blogger bros who hated the idea of a powerful women but couldn’t admit that to themselves or their readers. Bernie Sanders’ refusal to admit that a woman beat him, his refusal to really endorse Hillary the way she endorsed Obama. Voter suppression that even Obama didn’t face.
But Comey’s announcement — just 11 days before the election — that the FBI was reviewing more emails that could be pertinent to the FBI’s earlier investigation into Clinton’s private email server (which revealed no illegal acts on her part), and which the FBI had closed months earlier, was the proximate cause of Clinton’s loss. By the time, on Nov. 6, 2016, a mere 2 days before the presidential election, that Comey wrote a letter to lawmakers saying that the FBI’s previous decision not to recommend charges against Clinton over her emails would stand (i.e., that his recent charges were bullshit), it was too late. Enough people had decided that Comey’s earlier announcement meant that Clinton was compromised, guilty, would spend her days as president fending off a serious federal investigation. Comey, as my Torts professor would have said, “caused” the accident that turned America over to the corrupt bunch of Russian-owned thugs who currently, under Donald Trump, are raiding our treasures and trashing our norms.
Comey’s actions are even more inexcusable because, by announcing 11 days before the election, that the FBI was reviewing more Clinton emails, Comey violated FBI/DOJ procedure.
By interfering in the 2016 election, Comey clearly violated DOJ guidelines.
Robby Mook called the move “very curious.”
“Let’s just get all the information out there so that the rumors and the hypotheticals can be put to rest. And again, we’re hearing a lot of criticism now from former Justice Department officials, from former Clinton administration, former Bush administration, pointing out this is unprecedented,” Mook said Oct. 30 on Meet the Press. “There are Justice Department policies against doing something like this so close to an election.”
Mook is right that the Justice Department — which oversees the FBI — not only explicitly prohibits employees from interfering with elections but urges employees avoid the appearance of interfering with elections.
In August 2008, President George W. Bush’s attorney general, Michael Mukasey, sent an internal memo entitled “election year sensitivities” to employees on the department’s policies on political activities. Part of it reads:
“Simply put, politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party. Such a purpose is inconsistent with the Department’s mission and with the Principles of Federal Prosecution.”
Attorney General Eric Holder resent the memo in March 2012.
While the memos don’t discuss limitation of timing specifically, former U.S. attorneys have alluded to an unwritten guideline about not filing cases or commenting on investigations in the 60 days before an election.
Citing the policy, several former prosecutors and department employees have aired concernsandcriticisms.
Two former deputy attorney generals under the Clinton and Bush administrations called Comey’s actions a departure from the department’s traditions and “real-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit.”
Conservative Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, a former prosecutor and New York county court judge, said Comey’s letter “disgraces and politicizes” the bureau.
“You know I support Donald Trump and want him to win, but whether it’s Hillary Clinton or anyone else, Comey’s actions violate not only longstanding Justice Department policy … but the most fundamental rules of fairness and impartiality,” Pirro said.
There’s a good reason why DOJ policy prohibits announcements of the sort that Comey made. America made a value judgement at Her founding that it was more important to protect innocent people than it was to punish guilty people. So, every accused person comes to court cloaked in the presumption that s/he is innocent until the state can prove that s/he is guilty. The DOJ guidelines were put in place to prevent exactly the evil that Comey enacted — tainting a candidate, later shown to be innocent, with the kind of guilt that would cause her/him to lose the election.
But that’s exactly what Comey did, based upon the scantiest of evidence.
What is even more remarkable is that Comey made his announcement — that maybe Clinton’s aide had some emails on her computer — knowing ALL THE WHILE that Donald Trump was under serious investigation for being controlled by Vladimir Putin, So, just to be clear, maybe Hillary’s aide had some emails on her server that were or weren’t subject to confidentiality concerns (it turns out, as Comey admitted just before the election, that they weren’t) and maybe Trump was a puppet of Vladimir Putin (as it turns out, he likely was). But Comey only released information concerning Clinton and sat on the information concerning Trump.
So how on earth does Comey explain his behavior?
Well, in his book he says:
Former FBI Director James Comey offers an apology in his forthcoming book for not providing a better explanation of his decision to announce that he had reopened the probe into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server just days before the 2016 election.
“I have read she has felt anger toward me personally, and I’m sorry for that,” Comey writes of Clinton, according to ABC News. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t do a better job explaining to her and her supporters why I made the decisions I made.”
He adds that he assumed at the time that Clinton would win the election.
“Certainly not consciously, but I would be a fool to say it couldn’t have had an impact on me,” he wrote of the assumption, according to ABC News. “It is entirely possible my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls. But I don’t know.”
You know, fuck that shit.
It was not his job to worry about Clinton (nor Trump), being an “illegitimate president.” The DOJ guidelines TOLD him to shut his trap about both Clinton and Trump close to an election so that the presumption of guilt, which America rejects, could not influence the election, Yet he chose to blab about Clinton (the woman) and stay quiet about Trump (the man). The point of the DOJ guidelines was to protect candidates still assumed innocent — regardless of whether James Comey liked candidates with vaginas or not. (And, it’s clear that he really, really, really doesn’t like powerful people with vaginas. Whether they’re Hillary Clinton or Loretta Lynch, Jimmy just has a difficult time with the wimmens.)
So, fuck his apology. I don’t care that he’s “sorry.” He’ll never have to kick his own ass when I’m in the bar.
And, while we’re on the topic, fuck the liberal bros who met up w/ him afterwards and assured him that, as far as they are concerned, it’s all “bros before hoes.”
In Comey’s upcoming book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” Comey recounted the late November, 2016 meeting with Obama in the Oval Office.
“I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability,” Obama said to Comey, according to the book. “I want you to know that nothing has happened in the last year to change my view.”
A teary-eyed Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) grabbed him by the hand afterward and said, “I know you. You were in an impossible position,” Comey writes.
Fuck Obama and fuck Schumer. If there’s one thing women have learned in the past two years it is that “liberal” men DO NOT HAVE OUR BACK.
A few days ago, the granddaughter of an old friend was in town for training as a campaign aide. I took her out for a hot meal and one of the first things she said to me was, “Most men are terrible. They really are.” And I had to tell her, “Yes, with some exceptions, they really are.” That’s where we are, today, America. Maybe women are only saying it to each other, over drinks with their grandmothers’ friends, but it’s where we are. Men like Obama and Schumer are all “bros before hoes,” and we women know it. We know that you mostly don’t have our backs, that you care more about Comey’s fee-fees than you do about standing with women.
That’s going to count in the months between now and 2020.
I have a hammer, I know proximate cause when I see it, and I do not accept James Comey’s “apology.
Fuck Comey, Obama, and Schumer.