Former FBI director James Comey (shown) has been making the media rounds virtue-signaling with his new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. But it turns out that his real loyalty might have been to career advancement: In a little-noted admission, Comey reveals in his book that he might have declined to prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information because he believed she’d be the next president.
This revelation may be more damning than anything Comey claims about President Trump. As American Thinker editor Monica Showalter points out about the latter, Comey “natters on about Trump’s hand size, the bags under his eyes, his tie being too long, and other stylistics that mark Comey as a vain little man obsessed with looks, little different from David Brooks and his fascination with the crease of President Obama’s pant legs.”
She also writes just a bit later, “Are we supposed to be surprised that President Trump didn’t like the “pee tape” about himself, in a dossier put together by his enemies and their Kremlin “sources”? Or to think it unnatural that President Trump wouldn’t want his wife to believe it? It all seems natural and predictable. Comey just wants to bring private business to the fore to embarrass Trump.”
Of course, Comey also wants to make money and, perhaps, exact a measure of vengeance for Trump’s firing of him. Like so many others, the ex-g-man bet on the wrong November 2016 horse, and now he has to find a new career and salvage his reputation.
But that reputation may very well deserve its ravaging. As even the left-wing New York Times writes (in a book review) about Comey’s “account of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation”:
[H]e seems to have felt a moral imperative to address, in a July 2016 press conference, what he described as her “extremely careless” handling of “very sensitive, highly classified information,” even though he went on to conclude that the bureau recommend no charges be filed against her. His announcement marked a departure from precedent in that it was done without coordination with Department of Justice leadership and offered more detail about the bureau's evaluation of the case than usual.
As for his controversial disclosure on Oct. 28, 2016, 11 days before the election, that the F.B.I. was reviewing more Clinton emails that might be pertinent to its earlier investigation, Comey notes here that he had assumed from media polling that Clinton was going to win. He has repeatedly asked himself, he writes, whether he was influenced by that assumption: “It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, 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.”
Actually, he likely does — on some level. The fact that he has “repeatedly” asked himself the given question is perhaps the answer to it, evidencing that Clinton’s assumed rise to power was weighing on his mind.
Of course, man’s nature is complex, people are prone to rationalize, and some have greater self-knowledge than others. But whether Comey is trying to fool us or just himself, something jumps out from his admission: If protecting the office of the presidency is so important to him, why is he doing everything he can to make Trump an “illegitimate president”?
Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent about Trump, this is the question. If Comey is willing to damage one president but not another, it reveals that he doesn’t operate by a hard-and-fast principle such as, “You protect the president’s legitimacy regardless for the good of the country” (though obscuring executive criminality never does our nation a service). Rather, he’s picking and choosing what presidents he’ll impugn based on, perhaps, ideological motivations. Yet there’s an even less charitable interpretation.
Getting back to rationalization, when someone shrinks from performance of duty, there’s a strong tendency to put the best possible face on it. Believing you refused to prosecute a lawbreaking politician for a higher good makes mirror gazing far easier than admitting what might have been the truth: You were an opportunist and coward.
Comey had to know that the Left in general — and Clinton in particular (given her reputation) — are vindictive and brook no dissent. You either drink the Kool-Aid or plan on career first aid. Recommending the prosecution of a soon-to-be President Clinton would not only be fruitless, as then-attorney general Loretta Lynch would decline to prosecute. It also would bring the wrath of Clinton and the leftist establishment Comey put on the spot and embarrassed. And losing his career might have been the least of his troubles.
Yet this brings us to a wider, more ominous issue. Why were the scandals involving the Clinton e-mails, the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the Benghazi attack, the DOJ and the New Black Panther Party, the previous administration’s Watergate-like use of government to spy on the Trump campaign, and other Obama-era scandals all perpetrated — and covered up — so brazenly?
It’s not just that the Left has a history of unabashed corruption. It also may be this: A Clinton victory appeared sure, and this would’ve accelerated the Left’s importation of Democrat-leaning voters. Add to this other leftist efforts to game the system, and most in the establishment might have assumed there’d thenceforth be perpetual leftist executive-branch control — that is, control over the entity that enforces the laws.
Now if you were in this establishment circle, you saw up close what leftists do to dissenters (e.g., IRS scandal). You knew that the penalty for disobedience was utter destruction. So it’s entirely possible that Comey just wanted to be on the winning, and cutthroat, team.
Historically, this wouldn’t make him unusual, just unethical, unprincipled and, owing to the Trump phenomenon, unexpectedly unsuccessful.
Photo of James Comey: AP Images