The Ever Shrinking James Comey

It’s amusing to watch the James Comey Self-Aggrandizement Tour stagger along. With every passing day, Comey diminishes himself and solidifies his true legacy: a self-aggrandizing, sanctimonious prig that who somehow thinks he, of all people, has cornered the market on morality.

His carefully cultivated act of “The Last Honest Man, Boy Scout for the Ages” schtick is being shown to be just that: an act. Of course, truth be known, this entire image is a work decades in the making, stretching back to the days when Comey was the U.S. attorney in Richmond and hired a local reporter named Mike Kulstad to become his personal troubadour. And like all personal troubadours, Kulstad has gone with Comey from Richmond to New York and on to the Department of Justice and the FBI to be Comey’s personal press secretary, spinning the myth and legend of Comey’s noble quest for honesty and truth. But again, it’s just an act.

Comey’s press tour and his book show us what he really is. As Meghan McCain told Comey on “The View,” he “sound[s] like a political commentator.” Savannah Guthrie went even further saying that some are calling his bitterness and insulting comments about the president “catty” and noted they degrade the rest of his book. Comey’s “aw shucks” response rings hollow. Comey knew exactly what he was saying and the effect he intended it to have on his audience. Every day that Comey sits in front of a TV camera, caked in makeup, brings us one step closer to understanding his true partisan nature.

As with all facades, especially the very thin ones, they crumble quite easily when exposed to pressure and force. In fact, while Comey has portrayed himself as the honest one and Trump the liar, that’s not quite right. This past Sunday night, in his interview with former Clinton press flack turned “journalist” George Stephanopoulos, Comey acknowledged that he leaked documents, but claimed that none of them were classified.

That’s simply untrue.

All one has to do is read Senator Chuck Grassley’s letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein from January 3 of this year regarding James Comey’s seven memos. In that letter, Grassley states that the FBI “insisted that these reviews take place in a SCIF because the majority of the memos are classified. Of the seven memos, four are marked classified at the ‘SECRET’ or ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ levels. Only three did not contain classified information.”

So we know that the majority of Comey’s memos were in fact classified. Later in his letter, Grassley writes that “Professor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School stated that Mr. Comey provided him four of the seven memoranda and encouraged him to “detail [Comey’s] memos to the press.” Now simply by doing the math at least one of the memos leaked to the press was classified, perhaps more. Yet Comey claims none of his leaked memos were classified. Comey claims to have a “higher loyalty” and insists the president is an incessant liar. So what are we to make of this apparent, blatant, and obvious lie? Unfortunately, it’s indicative of a pattern from the former FBI Director, of manipulating morality to suit his political purposes.

Not only did Comey likely leak classified information, but improperly and perhaps deliberately, he mishandled the Steele Dossier as FBI Director. Comey claims that he was unaware of the nature of the funding of the Steele Dossier, only stating that he knew it was funded by a “Democrat aligned group.” That claim is highly questionable. Of course, we now know that the infamous and discredited work of former spy Christopher Steele was funded by lawyers employed by the Clinton presidential campaign.

Jane Mayer’s piece on Christopher Steele from March of this year in The New Yorker, states that in the summer of 2016 Steele knew exactly who was funding his work: “Several months after Steele signed the deal, he learned that, through this chain, his research was being jointly subsidized by the Clinton campaign and the D.N.C.” Either Comey and his FBI were incompetent, failing in their duties as FBI Director and agents, or Comey is being less than honest. While we know Steele was aware of the funding for his work, there’s never been clear confirmation from Comey’s less-than-forthcoming FBI.

Yet it’s reasonable to assume that the FBI did the most basic level of due diligence and was aware of who was funding the dossier in the summer of 2016 and despite that knowledge still used it as the basis for a FISA warrant application in October of the same year, in fact using it multiple times according to Grassley, Graham, and Nunes.

Comey likely knew the source of the funding, yet in his words failed to inform President Trump of that knowledge because it was “Not part of my agenda.” It’s entirely reasonable to ask what exactly was his agenda? Clearly it wasn’t to fully inform the President on the source and nature of the threats against his administration and the stability of the presidency. Comey’s deliberate actions to leak classified memos, run PR campaigns attacking the president, and hiding valuable information in favor of his “agenda” show the former FBI director’s true nature: that of a partisan hack.

It’s becoming clear that Comey is nothing more than a political operator whose every utterance deserves the skepticism due to any political partisan. His relationship with the truth is questionable at best. It’s hardly a surprise that Trump fired him; the shame of it all is that Trump should have fired James Comey on day one of his administration, hit the restart button and brought in a team committed to upholding the law, not a political party or candidate. Unfortunately, Trump kept Comey only to fire him a few months later and ergo the Mueller mess.

Comey’s actions over the last two years have diminished not only his reputation, but that of the organization he was supposed to lead. In so doing, Comey began his journey down the path of becoming what he is in fact today: a moral midget.

Photo credit:  Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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About Ned Ryun

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.