James Comey appeared on Fox New’s Special Report on 04-27-18. Anchor Bret Baier conducted an interview that was a model of fair, unemotional and pertinent questioning. At the link one may view the entire interview, but I’ll deal with only a few of the issues raised in the interview.
My impression of Comey, based on that interview, is he is liar, and not a very good one. Clearly, he understands the legal jeopardy in which he put himself, and is spinning furiously to give the appearance of honesty and integrity, while lying to avoid legal liability. He also appears to be very much a legend in his own mind. He, like Barack Obama, is terribly disappointed in us. We let him down, and it weighs heavily on such an honest and honorable soul.
Baier excelled when it came to the counterintelligence investigation that originated the Mueller Switch Project. On this subject, Comey don’t know nothin’. Comey has drawn on his professional knowledge of mobsters to disparage President Trump’s method of operation. I wonder if he isn’t projecting. Last night Comey reminded me of nothing so much as an uncooperative Mafia witness playing dumb.
Two issues: the classified memos Comey leaked to the press, and his claim to know nothing about who paid for the Steele Dossier, the compilation of “unverified and salacious” accusations—Comey’s own words in testimony before the Congress–the FBI use, approved by Come, to obtain multiple FISA warrants to spy on an American citizen, a tangential associate of the Trump campaign.
Comey, whom Trump fired in May 2017, denied Thursday that sharing the memos with his legal team constituted a leak of classified information.
‘I didn’t consider it part of an FBI file,’ Comey told Fox News’ Bret Baier during an appearance on “Special Report.” He compared the process to keeping a ‘diary’ and maintained a key memo ‘was unclassified then. [skip]
Comey, in the Fox News interview, acknowledged giving the memos to at least three people including his friend, Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman. He said he sent Richman a copy of the two-page unclassified memo and ‘asked him to get the substance of it out to the media’ — which he did. [skip]
“I didn’t consider it part of an FBI file,” Comey told Fox News’ Bret Baier during an appearance on “Special Report.” He compared the process to keeping a ‘diary’ and maintained a key memo ‘was unclassified then.” [skip]
“The reason I’m smiling, Bret,’ Comey said, ‘I don’t consider what I shared Mr. Richman a leak.
At least Comey is being consistent in lying about the nature of classified material, just as he did in dealing with Hillary Clinton’s wanton exposure of classified materials. Comey wrote those memos as a result of his contacts, as FBI Director, with the President of the United States. He said he kept a copy of the memos at the FBI and another in his safe at home. He admitted giving them to a friend, a college professor, who was an unpaid “special” FBI employee, an SGE, which he did not bother to tell the Congress, but he maintained the memos weren’t classified, and he leaked them after he was fired, so he wasn’t an FBI employee, and he didn’t consider what he did leaking. Oh yes, and he also gave them to two other lawyers.
There is no question those memos were written as part of Comey’s job as FBI director, hence, they were work product and subject to the very specific FBI rules about keeping such materials in house. There is also no question at least some of those memos were classified. In fact, the three lawyers to whom Comey gave the memos were forced to return them to the FBI after their possession of the memos came to light. Comey was one of the few people empowered to classify materials. He was responsible for knowing what was and was not classified, even if was not stamped “classified.” There is no question that what Comey did violated FBI rules and arguably, federal law. It doesn’t matter that Comey didn’t consider what he did leaking, it was leaking.
Perhaps the most amazing assertion Comey made was that he had no idea who paid for the Steele dossier that was the basis for the FISA warrants, which is why, Comey claimed, he didn’t tell that to President Trump. Close to it is his claim that he didn’t remember who told him about the dossier, he didn’t tell Barack Obama any more about the memo than he did Donald Trump—just about the supposed golden shower incident—and to this day he doesn’t know who paid for the dossier. Anyone that knows anything about law enforcement knows that’s absolutely ludicrous.
Any competent investigator looking into any matter always asks essentially the same questions as reporters: who, what, when, where, why and how? Comey would have us believe that told about the dossier, the “unverified and salacious” dossier about the Republican nominee for president, he was so incurious as to fail to ask who paid for that document? The Director of the FBI failed to ask about something so fundamental, so Criminal Justice 101? The dimmest rookie cop knows enough to ask “who” in any investigation.
And Comey is not just some political hack—well, he may be that—who was dropped into the Director’s job as a political favor (though that may be true too). Prior to becoming FBI director, Comey was, for many years, a federal prosecutor, and a university lecturer on the law.
Consider too the political nature of the job, and the fact that the Comey FBI, at the highest levels, was thoroughly politicized. He has admitted, for example, his decision making on this and related cases was entirely politicized, though he simultaneously denies considering politics in making decisions. Any police officer anywhere understands local, state and federal politics play a role in their work. The same is true of FBI agents, particularly at FBI HQ in DC. They swim in the political cesspool every day.
How could it be possible that the Director of the FBI, a man that must be particularly careful about political concerns, didn’t so much as bother to ask who was responsible for an “unverified and salacious” document that he ensured was leaked to the press—he denied having any hand in that—for the purpose of ensuring that Hillary Clinton would be elected? How could it be possible that the high-ranking FBI agent—Comey admitted that much, though he couldn’t remember who–that informed Comey about the dossier didn’t fill him in completely? How could such a person fail to think that kind of pertinent information would be uninteresting to the Director? How could such a person think leaving that out anything other than incompetence? There are four primary possibilities:
1) Comey knew, but didn’t want to be told to maintain plausible deniability.
2) Comey really is so incompetent as not to care about the most pertinent facts of one of the most politically explosive cases in American history.
3) Comey is a liar.
4) Comey believed Hillary Clinton was going to be president—he’s admitted this—and didn’t want to do anything to annoy her. He knew she’d cover for any criminal acts on his, and the FBI’s part, as long as she believed he was on her team. He knew she was a criminal, but he hoped she’d behis criminal.
One could also argue, that in the best Hooverian tradition, having blackmail material on a president is handy in perpetually maintaining one’s job. Comey admitted that despite calling Trump a crime boss, and morally unfit for the presidency, he very much wanted to serve him as FBI Director. He has also retained the three men to whom he gave classified documents, in an apparent attempt to claim attorney-client privilege.
All rational Americans should be very glad Hillary Clinton was not elected. They should be equally glad President Trump fired James Comey.
Postscript: During the interview, Comey claimed he never held the belief, or told anyone, that the FBI did not believe General Michael Flynn lied to FBI agents during his interview with them. The newly released congressional report on supposed Trump collusion—it concluded there was no such thing—reveals Comey is likely less than honest about this too. Fox News reports:
Comey, however, denied that he ever told lawmakers agents didn’t believe Flynn intentionally lied.
‘No,’ he said in an interview Thursday with Fox News’ Bret Baier on ‘Special Report.’ ‘I saw that in the media … maybe someone misunderstood something I said. I didn’t believe that. I didn’t say that.
There appears, however, to be compelling evidence that he did, indeed “say that”:
House Intelligence Committee Republicans, in their newly released report concluding their Russia investigation, seemed to back up reports that FBI agents did not think ex-White House national security adviser Michael Flynn lied to them – despite his eventual guilty plea for making false statements.
Among the 44 findings in the report was a line stating that ‘Federal Bureau of Investigation agents did not detect any deception during Flynn’s interview.
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York first reported earlier this year that fired FBI boss James Comey had briefed lawmakers amid allegations Flynn had lied to Vice President Pence about conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and speculation he may have misled FBI agents who questioned him in January 2017. Comey reportedly told lawmakers at the time that agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he lied in that Jan. 24 meeting, and that any inaccuracies in his account were unintentional.
Comey stands to make a great deal of money from his recently released book. He may need it for attorney fees.
UPDATE: 04-28-18, 1540 CST: For anyone wondering about the nature of Comey’s honor and veracity, I recommend this article by Paul Mirengoff at Powerline. As you’ll see, gentle readers, its confirmed facts do not speak well of Comey as an official of the Department Justice, but as an example of a leftist political hack/deep state operative, statues should be erected of him in every blue state capitol.
UPDATE: 04-28-18, 2015 CST: For a somewhat different take on Comey, visit this article by former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who I often quote here. I consider McCarthy a reliable writer, though at least in this instance, he somewhat differs from my opinion of Comey. He also admits Comey, and several of Comey’s friends caught up in the current debacle are good, and old, friends, which does seem to have influenced his opinion, as he pretty much admits. Still, an interesting article.