I came across something this week that brought me right back to the anger I felt on Election Night (admittedly, it doesn’t take that much to do so). Take a look at this from the Guardian:
In an instant, [FBI Director James] Comey regained, for those whose dearest desire is the downfall of Donald J Trump, the white knight status that has clung to him periodically throughout his career, except when it has fallen away.
Unless you’ve been living under Trump’s combover, you probably know that Comey recently revealed that the FBI has, for going on eight months now, been investigating cooperation and coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government—coordination that allowed Vladimir Putin to interfere in what the popular vote loser who became president ironically called “the very sacred election process.”
So far, it appears that Comey is serious about getting to the truth. He has shown no compunctions about contradicting the lies coming out of the White House about President Obama’s wiretapping of Trump Tower, or even about refuting the Trump administration, in real time, when they pretended Comey said something he didn’t about Russian involvement in the election. This is all to the good. But whether you like your knights white or dark, James Comey has a stain on his record that not even bringing down Donald Trump can erase.
You know what it is.
Lest we forget, he’s an FBI director who, 10 days before the presidential election, sent a letter to Congress (did he not expect Republicans to leak it?) informing them that the Bureau had discovered some new emails that look like they might, maybe, possibly, have something to do with an investigation of Hillary Clinton that was declared closed more than three months earlier.
These e-mails were found on a computer, mind you, that belonged neither to Clinton nor a high-ranking staffer but to the sext-addicted spouse of her top aide—let’s not even utter his name. Comey himself said, “we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails.” He sent the letter before actually looking at the damn emails. Going over what happened again only makes it seem more absurd.
If Comey had simply done what decades of precedent and policy prescribed, i.e., kept his big trap shut until and unless his agents found something that would’ve required reopening a closed criminal investigation, there would never have been a President Trump. But he didn’t, either because of ego or because he couldn’t control the rogue, pro-Trump elements within his own agency (one agent referred to the FBI as “Trumplandia”) who might have been preparing to leak the story of these new emails on their own. It’s probably some of each but either way, nothing will ever change the fact that what Comey did in the days leading up to the 2016 election will always be the first line in his obituary, and the crux of his legacy as a public servant.
Despite the best efforts of
House Intelligence Chair White House stooge Devin Nunes, we will hopefully find out the full extent to which Vladimir Putin was able to influence our election, as well as the degree to which Trump people and perhaps the candidate himself enabled Moscow to do so, and Comey will help in that process. That is a huge story that absolutely could end the Trump presidency.
But the thing is, we already know exactly how much Comey himself influenced the election. For certain, the Clinton campaign made mistakes—such as talking about actual policy significantly less in her TV ads than any presidential candidate in any of the races measured (the study goes back to 2000), a strategy that left her “more prone to voter backlash.” But even with those mistakes, Hillary would almost certainly be president right now had the election been held on October 27, the day before the FBI director sent that letter. We know in fact that his unprecedented, unjustifiable, and undemocratic actions altered the course of our country’s history forever.
Do we want Comey to do the right thing on Trump and Russia, to go wherever the facts take him and uncover the truth? Of course. It’s even pretty certain that he will put forth his best effort to do so, even if some in the FBI remain as in the tank for Trump now as they were last fall.
But as for this idea that he’s the new “white knight” of progressives, well, how about a whole pantsuit full of “No.”