Streetwise Professor

June 9, 2017

Jim Comey: The Perfect Boy Scout in the DC Troop

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 1:20 pm

In the past, I have called James Comey a weasel and a douchenozzle. I was wrong. I therefore extend a sincere apology to all weasels and douchenozzles.

Comey is far worse. He is the consummate swamp thing. A self-serving “public servant.” An appartchik whose ethics are purely situational, with the salient part of the situation being how it affects his interests, and his armour propre.

Comey’s testimony yesterday was breathlessly awaited, yet deeply disappointing to most of the breathless. Yes, he tried to smear Trump, with some success, but what he succeeded at best was smearing himself. By revealing the kind of man he really is.

The main revelations of the testimony were not damning to Trump: they were exculpatory. As Marco Rubio–Marco Rubio!–hardly a Trumpian–pointed out, the only thing about his private conversation with Trump that Comey didn’t anonymously leak was the fact that Comey had indeed told Trump on three occasions that he was not under investigation.

Rubio was wrong, actually: another thing that Comey conveniently left out of his leak was the fact that Trump encouraged him to go after “satellites” in his campaign who might have engaged in illicit activities in connivance with the Russians. That hardly sounds like a coverup, or pressuring Comey to stop investigating.

There is a legal requirement in the US that illustrates the wrong that Comey committed–the Brady Rule. No, it does not apply strictly here, because this is not a formal legal matter, but it reveals the principle. The Rule mandates that prosecutors reveal all exculpatory information. The Rule exists because without it, prosecutors could lie by omission. And that is exactly what Comey did in his leaks.

Comey said that he leaked in order to prompt the naming of a special counsel. The fact that he leaked selectively and left out exculpatory evidence shows that he did so in bad faith, and arguably out of malice at being fired. Comey’s revelation calls into question the basis for naming the counsel in the first place. Apparently he felt that the whole truth might not have produced the desired result. So he lied by omission.

The timing also calls into question the appointment. Comey did not leak–or make a public statement–when the allegedly suspect communications took place, as would have been necessary and appropriate had he believed that Trump’s behavior was so egregious that it demanded an independent investigation. The leaking took place after he was fired. This further strengthens the case that he acted out of spite due to an affront to his person, rather than a belief that the president had indeed committed an offense, or that those around him had done so. If he had believed so, he would have believed it at the time and acted on it. The fact that he waited until after he was fired is damning.

Comey said there were “a variety of reasons” for his decision to leak, rather than go public, either when he was Director or after his termination. What would those be, sir? The fact that by leaking anonymously you could do so selectively in a misleading way, and avoid being questioned and confronted so the public could learn the full story (which would cast doubt on the need for a special counsel)? The fact that by leaking, you could let the misleading story fester for days and become truth in the public mind though it was much less than the whole truth? The fact that leaking adds a certain frisson of excitement, and element of mystery, that intensify interest and attention?

I can’t think of a good reason–a truly publicly spirited reason. An honorable man would have manned up, and gone public. But James Comey is a back shooter.

There are other things in his testimony that reveal his essential nature. For instance, he said that he knuckled under when Loretta Lynch ordered him not to refer to the Hillary investigation as an investigation, even though he knew that she was ordering him to parrot the Clinton campaign characterization of the situation–not the reality.

Crucially, Comey said that he did not push back because he didn’t want to “die on that hill.” Meaning that he wanted to keep his job, and would put up with AG interfering in his performance of that job as long as he kept it. Presumably Comey would have remained silent about his conversation with Trump, as he did about his conversation with Lynch, had Trump kept him in place.

What Lynch said was actually more egregious than what Comey reports Trump said about easing up on Flynn. And it gets worse. Comey also stated that he believed that the Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton fatally compromised her in connection with the Hillary investigation. So he felt obliged to step in and act.

Well, Mr. Comey–isn’t the situation that you describe exactly one in which a special counsel would be warranted? A special counsel would be able to act more objectively than a compromised attorney general and Justice Department–and you believed they were indeed compromised. Yet you did not privately recommend to Lynch the appointment of a special counsel; nor did you call for one publicly; nor did you leak damaging information in order to create public pressure that would have forced Lynch to appoint a special counsel, as you did with Sessions. Instead, you intervened, protected Lynch–and kept your job.

This is yet more evidence that Comey’s leaks were malicious revenge for being fired, rather than an attempt to see justice done. The case for a special counsel was stronger when Lynch was AG, yet Comey did not make it nor attempt to manipulate the situation to lead to an appointment of a special counsel, as he did after he was fired by Trump.

I could go on, but the whole thing is so distasteful and the foregoing is sufficient to show what an appalling person James Comey is.

Trump of course is largely to blame for his predicament. His lack of a filter, impetuosity, suspect judgment, and garbled syntax give enemies, like Comey, ample ammunition to fire at him. Trump has paid a big political price for firing Comey, but given what the man has been revealed to be not just by his testimony yesterday, but his performance over the last two years, that is a price worth paying. For a devious, self-serving, ambitious, and arrogant man like Comey would have done far more damage to Trump had he remained in place, than he has done by his despicable conduct after being fired.

Comey is often described by DC people as a “boy scout.” That says a lot about what the Scout’s Oath is in the DC troop–in other words, it is about 180 degrees from the one recited outside the Beltway. Jim Comey’s oath was to do his best for Jim Comey, the country be damned.

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  1. And this creature was in charge of the FBI.

    Comment by dearieme — June 9, 2017 @ 4:30 pm

  2. Though come to think of it, the FBI is in some ways the creature of J Edgar Horrible.

    Comment by dearieme — June 9, 2017 @ 4:30 pm

  3. There was a motherload of revelations in the Comey testimony.
    Comey’s appearance was supposed to be about two weeks ago, but he delayed it to speak with Robert Mueller, or so he said.
    So I was watching for the coaching effect: how was he being prepared, how was he going to weasel out of his May 3 statement, how would he frame his testimony.
    It struck me that he tried to come off overly downhome. “Lordy, I hope there are tapes…”, “I was going to have lunch with my wife…”, “…the reporters were parked at the end of my driveway…” There were other homespun phrases entered into the record. It is reminiscent of Hillary, baking cookies or liking bowling(2008) or changing her dialect according to her audience. Seemed like a conscious effort to pose as a boy scout from Omaha, and not the Clinton bagman since 1996 (reference Whitewater, Marc Rich, Lockheed, HSBC, the HRC server & e-mails…there are probably more).
    Congruent with that is that Comey came off less than even a beta male. You’d expect an alpha male at the head of the FBI. A beta male who can act alpha, maybe. He seemed less than beta; what is that, gamma? epsilon? For instance, why did he not push back on AG Lynch? He basically didn’t know. Huh?
    I didn’t get to watch every minute. Will there be follow-up to his lame timeline about the leak, in which he claims to have leaked sometime after the NYT runs a story with the details of that memo? Does anyone get to ask him about his longtime connection to the Clintons, and how that affected his 2016 behavior? Does he know what was discussed on the tarmac between WJC and AG Lynch? She said at the time they spoke about grandchildren and golf, but a recent FOIA was declined because of national security. Aaah…WUT?

    Comment by Richard Whitney — June 9, 2017 @ 5:11 pm

  4. How does a lawyer who engaged in egregious prosecutorial misconduct in prosecuting Martha Stewart and Frank Quattrone end up as FBI director?

    Comment by Tom Kirkendall — June 9, 2017 @ 5:51 pm

  5. @Tom–Such are the ways of the swamp. As several commenters have pointed out, he has been a Clinton pilot fish (or as @Richard Whitney put it, bagman) for years. Hell, those prosecutions may have been features, not bugs, in the swamp.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — June 9, 2017 @ 11:00 pm

  6. @Richard. Call him Omega Man.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — June 9, 2017 @ 11:00 pm

  7. @dearieme–It is in most ways the creation of Hoover.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — June 9, 2017 @ 11:01 pm

  8. Leaks – Jonathan Turley, law professor, a voice of reason, points out that a lawyer is prohibited by ethics rules from releasing client info without the consent of the client.

    Isn’t it truly amazing that Comey was able to make the call on Killery Billary’s emails/server – “nothing to see here, folks” – even after those emails wound up on Huma Duba’s/Carlos Danger’s laptop; yet, his testimony was that he could not publicly state that Trump was not personally under investigation because the “investigation,” such as it is, was not over! That was Pajama Boy Comey’s testimony.

    Isn’t it truly amazing that Pajama Boy Comey believes in the “independence” of the FBI, and especially its director – yet, he could not stand up to Tarmac Lynch.

    Of course, The Unhinged are now looking for any number of ways to keep spinning this fiasco targeting Trump. Now there is a new rule – the “independence” of the FBI. The FBI is part of the executive branch – not part of an imperial bureaucracy (thank you, SWP, for the previous post on that).

    Oh – The Unhinged are doing their usual screeching, screaming, shouting and squealing because Trump did not know the “rules of court.”

    There are “inappropriate things”, according to the Rules of the Royal Court of DC, according to which certain things just aren’t said – but they only apply to Trump, because apparently he’s unfamiliar with them. Never mind the ability of the president to hire and fire personnel within the executive branch. The proprieties, according to The Unhinged, must be observed at all times.

    oh – another little nicety from Pajama Boy Comey – he leaked because he didn’t want seagulls in his driveway – meaning, of course, the media idiots that constitute a big pile of DC dung.

    I used to think that the FBI was clean, having had some experience in observing the good work of uncorrupted agents.

    At one point, I even thought that Comey was “clean.”

    Having seen the slime that is Comey, associated with all the courtiers for Queen Killery – well, I join in apologies to slime, and weasels, and douchenozzles.

    Martha Stewart must be feeling like a ground salad right now.

    Comment by elmer — June 10, 2017 @ 6:23 am

  9. @SWP…I hesitated from using ‘omega’. This parrot is an omega parrot:

    Comment by Richard Whitney — June 10, 2017 @ 1:57 pm

  10. Sorry-off topic

    The Chicago political machine is sending one of their guys to resolve problems with North Korea. I can imagine Rodman disembarking from the plane in Pyongyang in full drag with a new tat of a mushroom cloud on his arm to talk arms control with the NoKo’s. Rodman knows Glocks so will just scale up from there.

    Comment by pahoben — June 13, 2017 @ 5:14 am

  11. @SWP If DJT (1) testifies under oath as he is 100% ready to do; (2) fires Mueller; and (3) prosecutes Comey for leaking; that should clear things up. Separately, please tell your ad hominem thoughts on Mueller?

    Comment by job — June 13, 2017 @ 2:24 pm

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