All 'integrity' and out to Get Trump: James Comey's nauseating interview
The transcript is out of James Comey's vaunted interview with ABC News's George Stephanopoulos. It's a long one, and it's not a pretty picture.
What stands out about it is Comey's nauseating claims to a sort of theologically influenced self-examination, always coming to the conclusion that he acted in good conscience and now he's got lots to teach young people about all of his wonderful leadership decisions.
No matter how bad these decisions have been, how obviously politically skewed, how career ladder-oriented, or how unethical, Comey always comes out on top, his integrity ever fattened by the experience.
Here's a gag-inducing sample from this political lizard, and don't think there aren't more peppering the entire interview:
JAMES COMEY: First and foremost, it's someone who realizes that lasting values have to be at the center of their leadership. Whether they're in government or in the private sector or leading a university, they have to focus on things like fairness and integrity and, most of all, the truth. That the truth matters.
Give us a break.
Comey justifies early bad decisions in his career, such as the prosecution of Martha Stewart, a bum rap prosecution if there ever was one, with dog whistles to the left about racism, claiming he had prosecuted a black reverend in Virginia for lying to the FBI, so he had to prosecute Martha Stewart, too. The fact that he wouldn't name the reverend pretty well tells us he didn't want us to look at that case too closely for what he claims are parallels.
Then he let Bill Clinton off the hook in his last-hour pardoning of monster felon fugitive Marc Rich, whose wife was a close Hillary Clinton ally, babbling on about how the pardon was unprecedented and then casually saying he found nothing actionable. George Stephanopoulos let him walk with that one, and they moved on.
JAMES COMEY: That's right. When I became U.S. attorney in Manhattan after 9/11, I inherited from my predecessor, Mary Jo White, an investigation into whether there was any corruption associated with a pardon that President Clinton had given to a fugitive named Marc Rich and his codefendant, Pincus Green.
These were guys who had been charged with a massive tax fraud case and – and trading with the enemy and had fled to Switzerland and had been there for many years. And President Clinton, on his way out the door, pardoned them, which was extraordinary.
Actually, I've never heard of another case where a fugitive from justice was pardoned. And so the F.B.I. and the U.S. attorney's office were investigating were there promised contributions made to the Clinton Library or something else to secure that pardon. And so as the new boss in Manhattan, I oversaw that.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And what you found?
JAMES COMEY: Concluded there was not sufficient evidence to bring any charges in that case. And so we closed it.
So much for leadership or integrity in that one. We all know that Comey knew which way the wind was blowing. Not long after that little favor to the Clintons, Comey got the job he was angling for: to lead the FBI. One hand washes the other, right, Jim? And sure enough, he kept delivering the favors for Hillary when the matter of her email mishandling came up, something he continues to insist was just "extremely careless" quite unlike his harsh prosecution of General Petraeus, who let classified information lie around in a backpack and let his mistress who also had a security clearance look at it. Somehow, the mistress was worse than Anthony Weiner? Steph never got around to that comparison.
This is just a flavor of the interview, a whiff of Comey attempting to extol his own "character" and brand himself as man of integrity.
The other element that comes out (badly for Comey) is his stated aim at revenge against President Trump for throwing him out.
Look at this gag-inducing exchange:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Are we losing it?
JAMES COMEY: I think we are in part. But I think the strength of this country is that we're going to outlast it. That there will be damage to that norm. But I liken President Trump in the book to a forest fire. Going to do tremendous damage. Going to damage those important norms. But a forest fire gives healthy things a chance to grow that had no chance before that fire.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How do we put it out?
JAMES COMEY: We put it out in two ways. We put it out first by not becoming numb to the fact that the truth is being assailed every day. By not deciding that it's just too much to pay attention to because that's the path to losing truth as the central value in this country. So all of us have to constantly be involved and call it out when we see the truth endangered, when we see lying. And then next, we need to get involved. The American people need to stand up in the public square and in the voting booth and say, "Look, we disagree about an awful lot. But we have in common something that matters enormously to this country. And our leaders must reflect those values."
Farther down in the interview, he also reiterates his desire to Get Trump.
A CBS columnist from the right calls the Comey book junk and says it's not going to move the needle against Trump as Comey hopes. Thomas Lifson's must-read item from Sunday exposes the fraudery quite impressively here, too.
The problem with this whole thing is that it centers on Comey's effort to portray himself as a man of integrity and light. This, despite having to repeatedly explain all the bad decisions he made that reflect just the opposite – the acts of a partisan hack – and these charges against him have been going on for years. Everything seems to be an exception.
Here's a piece of news for Comey: if you have to keep claiming you have integrity, saying it loud, saying it proud, it's pretty obvious to the rest of us that you don't have any.