Streetwise Professor

May 24, 2017

Just When You Think the Comey Saga Couldn’t Be More Bizarre

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 8:04 pm

Today the WaPoop ran what I think is supposed to be a defense of James Comey’s absolution of Hillary in July 2016. You see, Comey supposedly learned of a clandestinely obtained Russian document purporting to disclose the contents of an email between Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a member of Soros’ Open Society Foundation in which DWS related a conversation between Attorney General Lynch and a Clinton campaign staffer in which Lynch said that the FBI investigation of the Hillary emails would go nowhere.

Oh my God! A third hand representation (with Russians at the third remove, no less) of a conversation in which the nation’s chief law enforcement officer discusses subverting the investigation of Hillary Clinton that Comey was leading. What to do? What to do? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Terminate the Hillary investigation!

No. I am not making that up:

Current and former officials have argued that the secret document gave Comey good reason to take the extraordinary step over the summer of announcing the findings of the Clinton investigation himself without Justice Department involvement.

Comey had little choice, these people have said, because he feared that if Lynch announced no charges against Clinton, and then the secret document leaked, the legitimacy of the entire case would be questioned.

. . . .

“It was a very powerful factor in the decision to go forward in July with the statement that there shouldn’t be a prosecution,” said a person familiar with the matter. “The point is that the bureau picked up hacked material that hadn’t been dumped by the bad guys [the Russians] involving Lynch. And that would have pulled the rug out of any authoritative announcement.”

So let me get this straight. If there were no charges, and the document leaked, people would suspect the investigation was tainted, so dammit, just better shut the whole investigation down. He had no choice! No choice! Free will is dead!

The article says that the veracity of the document was fiercely debated within the FBI. Well I would hope so! Does the FBI usually rely heavily on 3d hand stories retailed by those the Bureau claims suborn American democracy daily?

But let’s take the claim that Comey took the document seriously at face value. If so, rather than shut down the investigation of Hillary, he should have opened a no-holds-barred investigation of the Attorney General. Schultz, the Open Society person, and the Clinton staffer should have been put under intense scrutiny with all the tools at the FBI’s disposal, culminating in surprise questioning of those named in the Russian document. Comey should have found some way of preventing Lynch from shutting him down in the event she was tipped. This supposed paragon of rectitude (which he says he is, repeatedly) should have recognized this allegation for the brazen affront to the American polity that it represented, and investigated fearlessly (he also tells us he’s fearless, you know), and let the chips fall where they may.

The last thing he should have done is to do Lynch’s supposed dirty work of stonewalling the investigation for her. But per the WP, that’s exactly what he did.

Or, if he didn’t believe the document, he should have disregarded it in evaluating his course of action regarding Hillary, except to prepare a strong analysis detailing the document’s deficiencies, in order to answer the charge of coverup in the event that the document was leaked.

I see no possible reason why he should have done what he allegedly did, regardless of his opinion about the veracity of the document. This late-in-the day explanation makes no sense whatsoever.

Since it makes zero sense, one wonders why this defense is being proffered now, and by whom. If it is Comey or his surrogates or “friend”, he’s an even bigger douchenozzle than even I had imagined possible. Because it makes him look stupid, or craven, or both under any assumption about the truth of the document at issue, and his beliefs about the truth of the document.

If he believed it true, and it wasn’t: (a) he was credulous in believing such a dubious source, and (b) he was beyond derelict in his duty by failing to investigate the attorney general given his beliefs: if the document was false, the investigation would likely have shown that, and the Hillary investigation could have taken its course.

If he believed it to be true, and it was, he was beyond derelict in his duty by failing to investigate the attorney general: if the document was true, his dereliction let a rogue AG derail an important inquiry, and was in fact the instrument of that derailing.

If he believed it to be false, he was derelict in his duty by dropping the investigation of Hillary on such flimsy grounds. Indeed, he should have undertaken a thorough examination of its veracity, which would have necessarily involved an investigation of those identified in it.

Indeed, Comey looks so bad here the most logical explanation is that it came from his enemies, either in the Bureau, or in the administration (relying on people in the Bureau).

But regardless of where it came from, the story could be true. Given its explosive implications, Mr. James Comey should be questioned closely and indeed ferociously about it. If what the WaPoop reports is even remotely close to the truth, Trump vastly understated the man’s deficiencies when he allegedly called Comey a “nut job.” For if the story is remotely close to the truth, Comey is a nut job who turned a blind eye to what he believed to be a colorable case of obstruction of justice by the Attorney General of the United States, and essentially ensured that obstruction of justice would succeed by his own doing. And if Comey now has grave concerns about Trump asking him (again, allegedly) to let the Flynn matter pass, how could he have any less grave concerns about Lynch promising that the Hillary email matter would indeed pass?

I didn’t think the entire Comey-Hillary-Lynch-Trump story could get more bizarre. I was wrong. Very wrong.



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  1. What do you make of this tale, Prof?

    Comment by dearieme — May 25, 2017 @ 3:37 am

  2. Have to agree with SWP’s post.

    The Pournelle article is very, very interesting

    Comey’s background with Lockheed and in connection with the HSBC matter has certainly been reported previously.

    2 things jump out, one of them previously known:

    1) The Unhinged screaming about Flynn – they did not think of it, because of their Deranged Anti-Trump Syndrome, but it revealed that laws were violated and Flynn’s rights were violated – unmasking, surveillance of a US citizen, and leaks to the press

    2) The Unhinged immediately started their usual screaming and shrieking, etc., about Trump, when Trump tweeted about “tapes” – but I had certainly not thought that the Trump did not say he taped anyone, or that the tapes were actually Comey-produced, and that the DOJ had seized Comey’s computers, etc.

    Of course, The Unhinged, including PMSNBC, immediately started “reporting” that the White House statements about the tapes shows that the White House “admitted” that Trump taped Comey

    Now, The Unhinged is screaming about the Seth Rich revelations that Seth Rich – and not Rooshans – was the source of those emails, that Bernie Sanders was sick and tired of, being given to Wikileaks.

    “Debunked,” they keep screaming.

    Comment by elmer — May 25, 2017 @ 8:36 am

  3. to add to SWP’s post

    I got this very clear explanation of the Comey firing, etc., from a friend – 3 minutes:

    Comment by elmer — May 25, 2017 @ 8:38 am

  4. @dearieme and elmer
    Good links-thanks.

    Comment by pahoben — May 26, 2017 @ 2:41 pm

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