I’m convinced that it was vanity that ultimately brought down FBI director James Comey.
What I can’t explain is why this career prosecutor, with an impeccable reputation, decided to close the case against Hillary Clinton in July, 2016 and usurp the authority of former Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch.
This should be investigated. Was it simply that Loretta Lynch recused herself after her inappropriate meeting on the Arizona tarmac with Bill Clinton? If that was the reason, why did Comey not referred the case to Deputy Atty. Gen. Sally Yates for evaluation and prosecutorial determination? Why did Comey step out of his role and was there an inappropriate or illegal reason?
The FBI director is not the person who is charged with determining whether a person should be prosecuted or not. The FBI’s role is to conduct a thorough investigation and make a recommendation to the Justice Department.
There’s only one explanation for Comey’s actions that isn’t criminal: He loved the attention. When the story of his firing broke, he was giving a speech.
Just two days prior, he had given a speech where he talked about his use of Twitter. He said, “I am not a ‘tweeter’ but I do use twitter…” to follow the commentary about the FBI. He added that he “cares deeply” about the integrity of his department. I believe he was interested in following the narrative about himself more than his department.
In watching Comey testify before the Senate and hearing his speeches, it became clear that he enjoyed these roles. By contrast, former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, seem to find giving testimony painful and wanted to give as much detail as possible in order to ‘put an end to it.’
Most public servants in our government enjoy the power and prestige derived from their roles. However, most don’t get a taste of the level of attention given to Comey during the 2016 election (and beyond). This attention clouded his judgment and ultimately cost him his job while damaging the integrity of the FBI.
There are only three investigations relevant to the 2016 campaign that should be paramount to the new FBI director.
First, the investigation into Hillary Clinton should be reopened to ensure that it was thoroughly conducted. Then, the case should be referred to Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions for a determination regarding potential prosecution. Director Comey clearly usurped the role of the Justice Department in closing this investigation without referring it to the Atty. Gen.’s office.
Second, there should be a thorough investigation of Gen. Michael Flynn. He failed to disclose payments from foreign interests on his security clearance application to the Obama administration. The payments were likely not legal, but the non-disclosure is. He then lied about his communication with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to the Trump administration (this is not illegal but establishes a pattern of potentially illicit behavior). Will more be found?
I am not convinced that any of this will connect to President Trump, but if it does so be it. The truth should be our primary goal.
Thirdly, there should be an investigation into why Director Comey usurped the power of the Atty. Gen.’s office, closed the Hillary Clinton case and classified information about Gen. Flynn and other Trump associates was leaked to the media.
Regardless of who takes the fall, we should desire only the truth.
Given my deep knowledge of these matters, I suspect that if a thorough investigation into these three matters is conducted, we would find that Comey was incompetent (distracted by vanity). Hillary Clinton would be prosecuted and found guilty. General Flynn would receive a fine and one-two years in jail. Finally, I believe someone close to President Obama would be found to have requested the unmasking of names (connected to Trump’s campaign) and colluding with others to leak them to the media.
Trump is not under investigation. Trump may have a reputation for winning by being a bully, but he certainly is not a cheater. Remember he was accused of cheating on his taxes, yet his leaked return showed he paid over $30 million in taxes. He was accused of trying use eminent domain to take a woman’s home to build a limousine parking lot. We later found she owned a boarding house and he offered her four times it’s value. Coordinating (cheating) with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton is simply not his style.
It’s vaguely possible, but doubtful we’ll find people in his campaign that did any of those things either. However, other crimes have been committed. We already know Clinton and Flynn are guilty.
The two questions every American should be asking are, “was it a single person or several people who acted in a conspiracy to leak classified information in order to damage this president?” And, “will justice be served?”
We should simply feel sorry for Comey who likely let his own self-righteousness and vanity bring him down.