Streetwise Professor

October 29, 2016

James Comey: From Hero to Demon

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 9:02 pm

In July, FBI Director James Comey was a hero on the left. He made a contorted presentation of the law and the facts relating Hillary Clinton’s email in order to justify not recommending charging her with any crime. Yes, he said some very critical things about Hillary, but the end result was that she appeared to be out of legal jeopardy.

For her part, Hillary misrepresented what Comey had said, and claimed that he had found nothing discreditable about her conduct. That wasn’t true, but it didn’t really matter. What mattered was that this particular obstacle to her election appeared to have been cleared.

As a result, Comey was lionized on the left, and the Democrats attacked Republicans who criticized him. Donna Brazile, for instance, tweeted  link to a Washington Post article that claimed that Republican criticism of Comey was an attack on the rule of law.

But that was then! Now the left is in paroxysms of rage because yesterday–on a Friday afternoon, natch–Comey sent a letter to Congress claiming that new information found in the–get this–Anthony Weiner investigation had led him to re-open the Hillary investigation. Comey’s letter was equivocal and hedged, but the fact that 11 days before the election the email issue had risen from the dead (just in time for Halloween!) has unleashed leftist furies.

Hillary was informed of this new development while on her plane. She did not leave it for 25 minutes while it sat on the ground in Iowa. Maybe she was doing her best Keith Moon impersonation. You know she’s capable of it.

Yesterday and today the left has been out in full force, demonizing Comey for being a partisan hack attempting to throw the election to Trump. Yesterday I Tweeted in jest “Does the FBI work for the Russians?” because they have become the explanation for all of Hillary’s travails of late. (Joe McCarthy, call your office!) But some people apparently take this seriously. Like Howard Dean, who tweeted “Ironically, James Comey put himself on the same side as Putin.”

The absurdity just keeps on metastasizing.

And just how does this work, exactly? If Comey is a partisan hack intent on torpedoing Clinton and electing Trump, why would he twist himself into knots to exonerate her (well, at least put an end to any thought of charging her) in July? He could have well and truly put her in political peril then. Further, the accommodations he made to Clinton and her close staff were truly extraordinary, and would not have been extended to you or me or pretty much anybody other than Hillary. That’s hardly the kind of thing some partisan Javert would have done. This late in the day modified limited hangout is certainly not a welcome development to Hillary, but is not nearly as threatening as a recommendation to charge would have been in July.

So it is wildly implausible that Comey is attempting to swing the election. Washington being Washington, the most likely explanation for what Comey is doing is CYA. It’s what they do best on the banks of the Potomac.

There was no doubt tremendous discontent in the ranks at the way he handled the Hillary investigation. The (probably unexpected) discovery of information on Anthony Weiner’s and Huma Abedin’s devices would have come out eventually, and if Comey had sat on it until after the election there would have been a political explosion that would have cost him dearly. He also had to calculate that there was a high likelihood that some agent outraged at how the investigation had been handled would leak the new development, which would be the worst of both worlds for him: the information would be out, and it would look like he had tried to suppress it.

So I am guessing that Comey felt himself to be in the position of the weasel in a snare, and chewed off his leg to escape. Yeah, it’s not something he wanted to do, but given the alternatives, it was probably the best course of action available to him.

Just moments ago I read that the FBI did not have permission from Justice to actually read what they had discovered. Given its harrumphing today about how Comey violated department policy by taking actions that could affect an election, no doubt DoJ will not give such permission. And no doubt, Comey knew that they wouldn’t. He could therefore issue his CYA letter in the knowledge that its practical and legal ramifications would be very limited. Justice would stop the investigation dead in its tracks, meaning that no compromising information would be released before the election.

I therefore sadly conclude that this will mean little in the end. The most likely outcome is that Huma Abedin will be sacrificed to save the queen. But the queen will live. And James Comey will limp off into obscurity.


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  1. Very plausible. But then won’t the hypothesised enraged underlings leak the ruddy things anyway?

    Comment by dearieme — October 30, 2016 @ 5:35 am

  2. “the FBI did not have permission from Justice to actually read what they had discovered”

    Really ?

    Comment by david morris — October 30, 2016 @ 8:28 am

  3. @dearieme–Leaking that the ruddy things exist is a lot easier, and a lot lower risk, than releasing the things themselves.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 30, 2016 @ 11:05 am

  4. @david–Those are the reports on AP last night.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 30, 2016 @ 11:06 am

  5. I say “release”. Perhaps I should say “put on any easily hacked government, or party, or personal server.

    Comment by dearieme — October 30, 2016 @ 3:13 pm

  6. Just moments ago I read that the FBI did not have permission from Justice to actually read what they had discovered.

    But wait – Killery Billary, Her Supreme Pantsuit, Her Supreme Thighness, keeps crowing about how she “wants everything out there.”

    So why doesn’t she just get Huma to consent to release everything?

    Comment by elmer — October 30, 2016 @ 3:47 pm

  7. So the DoJ is in Hilary’s pocket too?

    Comment by bloke in france — October 30, 2016 @ 3:50 pm

  8. @bloke–Was that a rhetorical question?

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 30, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

  9. ‘They never had grand jury empaneled. And the reason … was that Loretta Lynch would not go along with that,’ Kallstrom said.

    ‘So this [email] investigation was without the ability to serve subpoenas, serve search warrants, and obtain the evidence that they ended up begging for. It was just ludicrous what went on.’

    Comment by Henry Barth — October 30, 2016 @ 8:35 pm

  10. @Henry-This is why it is so farcical to claim that Comey is a rabid anti-Hillary partisan. FFS, he bent over backwards to accommodate her and her henchmen (henchwomen, mainly) in ways that no other suspect could dream of.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 30, 2016 @ 10:04 pm

  11. @Henry-Kallstrom owes mobsters and cesspools an apology.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 30, 2016 @ 10:05 pm

  12. This 7-minute audio is very, very revealing

    How could it be that the basilisk, Billary Killery, could simply eliminate the FBI and the DOJ? It was not done without the cooperation of the High Priest of Climate Change, Obummer, hell-bent on his “legacy,” and Loretta Lynch. The fact that Obummer is the first incumbent prez to actively participate in another candidate’s campaign is very, very telling.

    Comment by elmer — October 31, 2016 @ 7:40 am

  13. And yes, SWP, Kallstron does owe mobsters and cesspools an apology

    Comment by elmer — October 31, 2016 @ 7:41 am

  14. Sacrificing Abedin is easier said than done. Let’s say HRC cuts ties tomorrow:

    Abedin is looking at spending 18-24 months sitting down with the unfriendlies. That’s a high burn proposition (and Abedin isn’t in a position to write those checks w/o the White House/HRC funds). The lower level guys would would love to run it up the ladder, so from day 1 the deal will be on the table. Abedin is going to figure out pretty quickly that she’s going to end up at $0 and disgraced, end up in prison, at $0, and disgraced, or make a deal. Maybe she’s a true believer and will fight to the end and hope HRC bails her out. Maybe. When you’re staring at 10+ years if you lose, things start to look different.

    Abedin getting looped in is a Big Deal. As long as Republicans hold the House, the higher-ups won’t be able to quash the junior unfriendlies from going to town. And the unfriendlies know how to play the game. Given a target who knows something, is at least somewhat guilty, and isn’t protected, they will get what they want. It hard not to imagine the junior guys being pretty pissed off at the situation and using Abedin to apply pressure.

    HRC knows this. Her best case scenario is try to protect Abedin, aim for 1-term, run the clock, and make a wrist slap deal year 3.75.

    Comment by FTR — November 1, 2016 @ 9:26 pm

  15. @SWP “And James Comey will limp off into obscurity.” So much for that one.

    Comment by job23_12 — March 21, 2017 @ 3:22 pm

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