James Comey: Villain, apparatchik or fall-guy?
The revelation that James Comey drafted his exoneration of Hillary Clinton long before 17 witnesses had been interviewed has made him a villain in the eyes of that small portion of the populace that is paying attention to politics just prior to Labor Day, and which happens to read conservative media.
In other words, for most Americans, Comey remains the guy lionized in the media for being fired by President Trump, an automatic badge of honor in the MSM world.
Nonetheless, as the realization that “the fix was in” spreads, there is going to be some hell to pay, especially with Robert Mueller spreading the tentacles of his investigation to the NY State AG and the IRS, according to reports. Mueller‘s appointment was corruptly obtained by Comey leaking documents via a cut out, a professor at Columbia University.
Comey makes an attractive villain, especially because the pedestal erected by the left is already so high. If nothing else, it is great drama to unmask a phony hero, and President Trump understands long form televised dramatic narratives. Simon and Shuster, which paid him millions on a book advance, is paying attention, I am certain.
But Comey’s old friend and colleague, Andrew McCarthy, still sees Comey as something less than a scoundrel, and defends Comey (to some degree) from the status of arch-villain. And he makes some fair points, writing at NRO:
The thing to understand, what has always been the most important thing to understand, is that Jim Comey was out in front, but he was not calling the shots.
True enough, as McCarthy points out, President Obama made clear to the FBI and DoJ what their findings would be.
Let’s think about what else was going on in April 2016. I’ve written about it a number of times over the last year-plus, such as in a column a few months back: On April 10, 2016, President Obama publicly stated that Hillary Clinton had shown “carelessness” in using a private e-mail server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the [criminal statutes relevant to her e-mail scandal]). The president acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, its importance had been vastly overstated. This is precisely the reasoning that Comey relied on in ultimately absolving Clinton. (snip)
I’m baffled by complaints that Comey allegedly made “his” decision not to charge Clinton before key witnesses were interviewed. The main issue is not that witnesses hadn’t been questioned; it is that by April 2016, restraints were already in place to ensure that witness interviews would be fruitless, and that any incriminating information they accidentally turned up would be ignored or buried. The decision not to indict Hillary Clinton was not made by then-FBI Director Comey. It was made by President Obama and his Justice Department – Comey’s superiors.
My translation: Comey was acting as a “good German,” faithfully carrying out corrupt orders. McCarthy is more circumspect:
If you want to say Comey went along for the ride rather than bucking the tide (as he concedes doing when Lynch directed him to call the Clinton probe a “matter,” not an “investigation”), that’s fair. But the fact that Comey already knew in April what he would say in July has long been perfectly obvious.
Loyalty is a virtue, and so is honesty, and both are in evidence here. McCarthy makes the devastating point that our political establishment in both parties is reluctant to acknowledge:
As we also now know – but as Obama knew at the time – the president himself had communicated with Clinton over her non-secure, private communications system, using an alias. The Obama administration refused to disclose these several e-mail exchanges because they undoubtedly involve classified conversations between the president and his secretary of state. It would not have been possible to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for mishandling classified information without its being clear that President Obama had engaged in the same conduct. The administration was never, ever going to allow that to happen.
Obstruction of Justice to fix the outcome of the election of his successor is the high crime that seems to have taken place in the spring of 2016. The “wiretapping” via unmasking of telecommunications intercepts is the other half of the equation in the unsuccessful Big Fix[i] of the 2016 election. This could be the biggest political scandal in the history of the Republic. Worse, even, than Democrats stealing Illinois electoral votes for Kennedy, which Richard Nixon declined to press in the name of political stability.
But, no president has ever gone after a predecessor for crimes or scandals. What goes around comes around, especially in a two-party system. Part of the “Impeach Trump!” fever gripping the Left is pure desire for vengeance over Clinton’s impeachment. Going after a former president, especially the first African-American to hold the office, is out of the question, no matter what the evidence may eventually show.
Now that the President is the target of a Special Counsel investigation that shows every sign of being a witch hunt, and its very instigation was due to the corrupt action of James Comey, he will be the focus of attention. Every crime needs a fall guy if the ultimate criminal is to escape.
[i] A big hat tip to Roger L. Simon of PJ Media, who first came to my attention decades before the internet as the author of the crime novel, The Big Fix, later made into a movie of the same name, starring Richard Dreyfus.
The Slammer's cartoon on our home page today has a different ultimate Villain: