On Politics: Who is the real James Comey?
Winston Churchill once said: “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” He could have used the same metaphor to describe former FBI Director James Comey.
In a very short period of time, Comey has gone from being a Democratic Party hero to a Republican Party hero to a Democratic Party goat to a Republican Party goat to a target by which enraged Democrats hope to topple Donald Trump’s presidency.
Comey served as a U.S. Attorney during the Clinton administration, including a stint as counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee. President George Bush extended his appointment as U.S. Attorney. He conducted an investigation into former-President Clinton’s controversial term ending pardon of financier Marc Rich and prosecuted Martha Stewart on a securities charge. In December 2003, he became deputy attorney general.
In 2005, Comey joined defense giant Lockheed Martin as general counsel where, Breitbart News reports, he earned $6 million and arranged for large contributions to the Clinton Global Initiative in exchange for lucrative defense contracts. He then joined the board of HSBC bank, which had been fined for engaging in money laundering and financing terrorist activities.
In 2013, Comey left the private sector to accept an appointment by President Obama as FBI director. In April 2015, he objected when General David Petraeus was allowed to plead to a misdemeanor for mishandling classified information. Just three months later, Comey began an investigation of Hillary Clinton, who was in a tight race with Donald Trump for president of the US. She was under suspicion of mishandling classified information as U.S. Secretary of State, and for selling out America in exchange for large foreign donations to the Clinton Global Initiative. Obama’s attorney general (and Comey’s boss), Loretta Lynch, instructed Comey not to refer to the Clinton inquiry as an “investigation,” but to call it a “matter.” Comey complied.
Subsequently, Lynch had a meeting in her private plane with former-President Bill Clinton in Arizona. Republicans hollered “fix,” and Lynch apparently turned the investigation over to Comey to adjudicate. Comey held a press conference in July 2016 and recited an indictment of Clinton for “extreme carelessness” in handling classified matter, but declined to prosecute for lack of specific intent to compromise U.S. secrets. Democrats cheered and Clinton told voters that Comey had “cleared” her.
On Oct. 28, 2016, Comey announced that new evidence had been found and the investigation reopened. Democrats jeered. On Nov. 6, 2016, Comey announced that the new evidence did not change anything. But the election was Nov. 9 and Trump went on to win by a substantial margin in the Electoral College. Clinton blames Comey for her loss.
So what are to make of this “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma?” The Wall Street Journal believes that Comey “has a record of prosecutorial excess and bad judgment.” Vanity Fair is less critical, characterizing him as a “Boy Scout” whose troubles stem from him jealously guarding his personal reputation while being placed in “no win” situations.
One commentator, retired CIA Agent John Bogart, believes Comey is a “poisonous snake of the highest order … a deep-water swamp denizen who has been highly paid.” Bogart believes that Comey was engaged to “provide cover” for Bill Clinton in the Marc Rich matter, for Hillary Clinton in her email and classified information scandal, and was well on his way to set Trump up for a fall when he got fired.
Comey told Congress that he made a series of written notes following each conversation he had with President Trump prior to his dismissal as head of the FBI. He is going to be a key witness in the upcoming special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and his memoranda may be key pieces of evidence.
It shouldn’t be long now before we discover who the real James Comey is.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.