It’s all downhill for Comey now
The day that James Comey cashed the multi-million dollar advance check from MacMillan Publishers will turn out to mark the date that we can call “Peak Comey.” It was all downhill from the instant the ink started drying on his signature on the back of the check. He and his ghost writer suddenly faced the unenviable task of making him look like the righteous warrior he had always portended to be, but with the need to fill 300 pages with something. Self-serving rationalizations can’t sustain reader interest over that many words, so apparently they decided that prose about physical appearances drawn from the bodice-ripper school of novels grafted onto Trump-hatred would do the trick.
The result was so awful that even the Washington Post, owned by arch-enemy of Trump Jeff Bezos, felt the need for a satire. The result, written Alexandra Petri, a Post writer whose “Compost” blog is described as “offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day,” is downright hilarious. Purporting to offer “further excerpts” from his forthcoming book, her satire takes on the purple prose and wrestles it to the mat.
A couple of samples:
I would venture to say that I am the protagonist of my own life and perhaps the lives of many others. Certainly, no one else has as yet stood up to take on this grave responsibility, and it was my honor to rise to this challenge. It is a little embarrassing to describe myself: I stand, as mentioned, about 6-foot-8, like an oak with a firm sense of right and wrong and large, capacious hands. When I first seized Donald Trump’s, I took a mental note (and later, a physical note; I maintain scrupulous contemporaneous notes) that they had vanished into mine, like a dormouse curled up inside an oven mitt. But most hands do that when confronted with mine, except President Barack Obama’s, and — I hope — Reinhold Niebuhr’s, if we ever meet, in this life or the next.
After we met, I glanced over at Jeff Sessions to see what he thought of it all, and although he spoke not a word his pursed, pink lips seemed to say that he was a weak, small man with no gumption. He was pleading with me with his downcast eyes to do the right thing. With my eyes I said right back, I will. I always have. I never swerve from what I believe, and you can bet a shiny nickel that I never will, sir.
Thank you, Jeff Sessions’s eyes whispered. They glistened like marbles that were wet from being held in a dog’s mouth. As I stared at them I wondered: Has this man read the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr? I have read the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr.
Derisive laughter is but one of Comey’s problems, though it is impossible to win any arguments when they are laughing at you. More important to the nation is his impact on the Mueller investigation, which he deliberately provoked through leaks of apparently classified material in his famous memos that he wrote after speaking with President Trump. Four of those memos contain classified information, and he leaked four of them to his Columbia law professor friend who acted as a cut-out in passing them in to the New York Times. So it is arithmetically certain that at least one of the leaked memos contained classified information, the disclosure of which is a felony. Unfortunately for him, James Comey won’t face someone willing to excuse leaking classified information based on lack of intent, the excuse he used to exonerate Hillary Clinton.
And now, three House committee chairmen are demanding the immediate release of those memos.
“There is no legal basis for withholding these materials from Congress,” according to a letter from Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, and California Rep. Devin Nunes sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Friday.
“The Committees request the Department of Justice make copies of the Comey memos available immediately,” continues the letter, which sets Monday as the deadline to produce the memos.
I am fairly certain that Comey’s old friend Robert Mueller isn’t laughing.
His book, “A Higher Loyalty,” represents an official statement on key parts of the federal Russia probe—including the question of whether Trump may have sought to obstruct justice, a question Mueller is investigating. Legal experts warn that Comey’s own words could complicate court proceedings or a Congressional impeachment debate triggered by Mueller’s findings.
Prosecutors like Mueller generally cringe when a witness speaks at length in public before a case has wrapped up. Comey’s blockbuster book and accompanying media tour, which kicks off in primetime on Sunday, will also expose him to the watchful eye of Trump allies and defense lawyers ready to exploit any inconsistencies in his accounts to their clients’ benefit.
“I’d have a conniption if I knew one of my witnesses was going to be writing a book,” said Nick Akerman, a former assistant U.S. attorney and Watergate prosecutor.
“From a prosecutor standpoint, you want a witness who hasn’t gone out and made lots of statements that can be used to cross examine him,” Akerman added. “What he puts in there, he’s got to realize that’s his story and that’s what he’s sticking by.”
Another problem for Comey is that his Trump-bashing hasn’t convinced Hillary’s fans that he is on her side. They still blame him for losing the election for her by announcing the re-opening of the investigation days before the election. His claim in the book that he was sure she would win and wanted to make sure there were not questions about the integrity of her presidency ring hollow with Trump riding Air Force One when he travels and Hillary stumbling her way on her extended speaking tour. Lanny Davis, a Clinton friend since Yale Law School, reflects the Hillary party line, writing, “I would’ve advised President Hillary to fire Comey.”
Even CNN (!) is broadcasting the negative reactions of FBI agents toward the book:
Comey, after a career of manipulating, backstabbing, and ingratiating his way up the federal legal and law enforcement bureaucracy, is discovering that karma does eventually catch up to you. So far as I know, Reinhold Niebuhr never contemplated that concept.