Lost in the reaction to the news that former FBI Director James Comey will not be prosecuted for being an insufferable jerk is that the inspector general established, once and for all, that yes, James Comey is in fact an insufferable jerk.
Which means, at a minimum, Trump was right to fire him.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller could not decide whether firing Comey violated federal laws against obstruction of justice. Inspector General Michael Horowitz answered that question with a resounding, “Are you kidding me, Bob?” He wrote:
Comey violated FBI policy and the requirements of his FBI Employment Agreement . . . Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees . . . Comey’s closest advisors used the words “surprised,” “stunned,” “shocked,” and “disappointment” to describe their reactions to learning what Comey had done.
This is only the leak case, remember: the one where Comey got the New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC to report his psycho-fantasies by putting them into an official-looking memo and leaking them through a Columbia law professor.
The reason he was not prosecuted was that it would just cause problems to designate as “classified” the anti-Trump porn he dreamed up and locked in a safe at his house. United States v. Comey in this instance would only elevate his mad ranting to a national secret.
Don’t Forget the Ukraine Angle
The real crime is that Comey lent the credibility of the FBI to bolster a ridiculous smear fabricated by the Democratic National Committee to undermine the Trump campaign and then his presidency. If we cannot prosecute that crime, we are a banana republic.
Attorney General Bill Barr has appointed John Durham to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. When he looks for who planted the stupid idea that Trump colluded with Russia, he will find, in each instance, that it was DNC working with the Clinton campaign—and Comey was involved up to his neck.
In a January 11, 2017 story headlined “Ukrainian Efforts to Sabotage Trump Backfire,” Politico reported that Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American operative, began doing opposition research for the DNC about Donald Trump and Russia in late 2015.
The Ukrainian embassy worked closely with Chalupa to undermine Trump’s campaign. As Politico noted, “The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.”
Chalupa was so successful in fanning the Russian nonsense that on October 24, 2016, reporter Michael Isikoff at Yahoo News portrayed her work as pivotal in a premature victory lap for the Clinton campaign.
A single, uncredentialed agitator, though, was not enough for Hillary and her crew. The Clinton campaign and the DNC commissioned the Steele dossier, to give British spy level credibility to Chalupa’s Chicken Little act.
The Steele dossier was uncorroborated, unverified, and false. That didn’t stop Comey and other political operatives at the FBI from turning it into evidence to support FISA warrants permitting them to spy on the Trump campaign.
Obviously, politicians should never, ever, ever be allowed to use their bought and paid for political opposition research to get their opponent investigated using clandestine measures.
Overly Politicized Federal Law Enforcement
The attorney general has already noted that it is unusual for the FBI to conduct investigations based on opposition research which “on its face had a number of clear mistakes and a somewhat jejune analysis.” That is Watergate times 10,000.
This cannot end upon the FISA investigation, though, no matter how satisfying it will be to see the conspirators start to get prosecuted. There is one additional piece of the puzzle that exceeds FISA abuse in its sheer audacity.
The whole mess began when the DNC sold the phony idea that Putin stole its emails. To this day, though, the FBI has never tested the computers. Instead, the FBI put its head in the sand and allowed the DNC to construct a Russia-did-it excuse to deflect attention from its damaging emails.
Comey ridiculously allowed the DNC to hire CrowdStrike to conduct the crucial autopsy in this murder investigation. Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer of CrowdStrike, is a Russian expat and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with a non-Trumpian agenda.
The Atlantic Council is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, a $10 million donor to the Clinton Foundation with additional millions committed. It was CrowdStrike—and not any unbiased law enforcement agency—that purported to connect Putin to the hack of Podesta’s emails.
CrowdStrike’s story raised more questions than it answered. A reputable group of former intelligence officials, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), has been critical of CrowdStrike’s work based on its own forensic analysis.
At the same time, it was being paid by the DNC to inspect its computers, CrowdStrike was caught fabricating a completely different Russian hack to serve Ukrainian disinformation. It had a dog in this fight.
That is three distinct instances—Chalupa, Steele, and CrowdStrike—where DNC opposition research was used in federal law-enforcement investigations. It doesn’t even include the work the FBI and CIA were doing with foreign intelligence services to get Hillary Clinton elected.
The inspector general has already concluded that the FBI was acting with political bias. Ya think?
There may not be a criminal indictment for Comey (yet). But it is certainly an indictment of the federal bureaucracy that a Mitty-esque figure like him could drag America through his imaginary battle against the Russians.
If he is not someday locked in an iron mask and set adrift in a rudderless skiff upon an edict that he may never again hear news of his country—or whatever the 21st-century equivalent of that is—we might as well just open the borders and end this experiment in democratic governance.