F#@k James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey, whose decision to make a public statement about reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails 11 days before the election, because it was something he thought voters needed to know, but didn't make any public statement about the suspicion of Donald Trump's possible collusion with Russia, because apparently that wasn't something he thought voters needed to know, has written a memoir and is now doing a round of press about it.

And it's as exactly lacking in self-awareness, personal responsibility, and regret as you'd expect from this guy.

Buried deep in Michiko Kakutani's New York Times review of Comey's irritatingly titled A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, is this passage:
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."

He adds that he hopes "very much that what we did — what I did — wasn't a deciding factor in the election." In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3, 2017, Comey stated that the very idea that his decisions might have had an impact on the outcome of the presidential race left him feeling "mildly nauseous" — or, as one of his grammatically minded daughters corrected him, "nauseated."
Well, he should be barfing nonstop for the foreseeable future, then, because what he did almost certainly was "a deciding factor in the election," and it was an action he took, he now says, because he was sure that Clinton would win, which is unforgivable arrogance from a person tasked with leading the primary federal law enforcement agency in a democracy.

Further, I'm not convinced that Comey is being fully honest when he asserts that he disclosed the "restarted investigation" because he wanted to protect her from being "an illegitimate president." To the contrary, I believe he did indeed assume she'd win and wanted to send her into her presidency hobbled by the continuing specter of wrongdoing — handing his fellow Republicans something into which to sink their teeth, right out of the gate.

But even taking Comey at his word, this was a spectacularly arrogant miscalculation, and one that cannot easily explain why he did not think it was important to disclose information about investigations of Trump. Even if he imagined Trump was set to lose, did he not think that the American people should know that the Republican Party standard-bearer was under suspicion of possible collusion with a foreign adversary? That isn't just an important piece of information about individual person Donald Trump, but about the party who nominated him and the party leadership who trusted him.

Comey chose to conceal that information, for reasons he has not adequately explained. He claims to have disclosed damaging information about Clinton to protect her. And he does not seem remotely inclined to hold himself accountable for the breathtaking arrogance underlying these fateful decisions.

And let me just say this, again, about James Comey: People routinely mistake as "integrity" what is, upon closer scrutiny, actually strategy. It's always been enticingly easy to ignore the possibility that Comey is primarily motivated by payback, not patriotism — and to think it doesn't matter, because his actions on their face seem to align with the general objective of holding Trump accountable.

But it does matter. It has always mattered. Comey was strategizing, by his own admission, on Oct. 28, 2016. And we know where that got us.

Comey is no hero. And he could do real damage on this tour, because his primary interest is and has always been himself.

Perhaps the hardest truth for many people to accept in the entire Comey saga is the possibility (likelihood) that Donald Trump and James Comey are both terrible. That there might not be a hero in this particular story.

Or that there was, and Comey made not a but the deciding factor in the election that would otherwise have made her our president.

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