James Comey’s investigation into the Trump campaign didn’t just taint candidate Donald Trump right before the 2016 election.
Comey’s exploitation of powerful surveillance tools to entrap Trump campaign aides didn’t just violate U.S. law or agency protocol. Nor did Comey just almost destroy the lives of Carter Page, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos among others.
Comey’s presentation of the most outlandish claim in the phony dossier—that the Kremlin had a recording of Trump peeing on Russian prostitutes—to the incoming president of the United States days before he took office didn’t just rattle Trump.
Comey did not just sabotage a presidential candidate, his transition team, and his new administration to remind Donald Trump who’s boss. Comey did not just try to oust a duly-elected president from the Oval Office based on made-up “memos” he wrote to document the president’s alleged criminality.
James Comey didn’t just help launch his pal Robert Mueller’s destructive two-year probe into the imaginary crime of Russian “collusion.”
No, James Comey, in fact, declared war on America.
That is not hyperbole. Through his deeds and words, the highest lawman in the country single-handedly desecrated every essential rule of American jurisprudence, every individual protection provided by the Constitution—including the right of the people to choose their president—and every governmental boundary set by the Constitution, not to mention the courtesies of human decency.
Comey took some sort of sick pleasure in gaslighting an already dangerously divided electorate after the shocking victory of a man who not only is despised by his former boss, Barack Obama, but by Comey himself, his top deputies in the FBI, and his cronies in the Justice Department, State Department, and CIA.
Comey betrayed the long-standing trust the American people have in our nation’s most powerful law enforcement agency to feed his insatiable ego. He disguised his megalomania as patriotism.
An Inveterate Liar
James Comey, a man sworn to uphold the law, is an inveterate liar. He lied to a secret court, a body created for the sole purpose of catching foreign terrorists who threaten national security. He lied to Congress when he refused to notify top lawmakers that his FBI initiated an unprecedented investigation into a rival presidential campaign. When interviewed by House Republicans last year, Comey refused to answer questions more than 200 times.
James Comey lied to the news media in order to conceal his malfeasance. He lied to the American people time and again, even suggesting the president they elected might be an agent of Russia. He accused Carter Page, a Naval Academy graduate and longtime source for the U.S. government, of acting as an agent of a foreign power, essentially a traitor. Another lie.
James Comey said his FBI didn’t spy on the Trump campaign; they did. After Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his lengthy report on Monday, Comey declared exoneration and tweeted that there was “no spying on the campaign.”
But the report clearly confirmed that Comey’s FBI used confidential human sources and unidentified employees—spies—to make contact with several Trump campaign aides: “All of the [spies] were monitored by the FBI.”
Comey said the Steele dossier didn’t make up the evidentiary bulk of his application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to get the warrant on Carter Page; it did. He said he didn’t know that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton campaign paid for the dossier; he did. He swore, under penalty of perjury, that the facts contained in his FISA pleading were true; they were not.
Comey said that a mysterious professor who met with George Papadopoulos in early 2016 was a Russian agent; he is not.
Comey told President Trump that he wasn’t under investigation; he was. He said he didn’t tell President Obama about his probe into the Trump campaign; he did.
A Cunning Subversive
In a public forum last year, Comey gloated about how he ambushed Mike Flynn, a three-star general, who had just started his job as Trump’s national security advisor. “In the George W. Bush Administration or the Obama Administration…if the FBI wanted to send agents into the White House itself to interview a senior official, you would work through the White House counsel, there would be discussions and approvals and who would be there. And I thought, it’s early enough let’s just send a couple guys over.”
Comey continued to brag to MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace. “We placed a call to Flynn, said ‘Hey, we’re sending a couple of guys over, hope you’ll talk to them.’ He said, ‘sure.’ Nobody else was there. They interviewed him in a conference room in the White House Situation Room and he lied to them.” Comey also admitted he didn’t tell Flynn what his agents wanted to discuss.
He documented his private discussions with President Trump and then claimed his notes were personal; they were not. In fact, the Justice Department Inspector General concluded some of Comey’s memos contained classified information and that he potentially committed three felonies by mishandling what are considered government documents, not “Dear Diary” entries.
The inspector general blasted Comey in a separate report last summer. “By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees…who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information,” Michael Horowitz wrote. “Were current or former FBI employees to follow the former Director’s example and disclose sensitive information in service of their own strongly held personal convictions, the FBI would be unable to dispatch its law enforcement duties properly.”
Comey leaked damaging details of his memos to the New York Times in order to prompt the special counsel investigation into the Trump White House in hopes of removing Trump from office.
Comey portrays himself as a victim of Donald Trump; he is not. Comey is making at least $100,000 per speaking appearance to spew his contempt for the president and his supporters while reminding everyone what a true patriot he is. He’s authored a best-selling memoir, landed a gig as a contributor for the Washington Post, and is the hero in an upcoming Hollywood mini-series about him.
Cleaning Up the Damage
We will never know the full extent of the damage that James Comey has inflicted on our country. The amount of time, resources, focus, political capital, and tax dollars that have been wasted on Comey’s—and Obama’s—personal grudge against Donald Trump will never be fully tallied. Not to mention how he vilified and bankrupted innocent individuals ensnared in his vengeful crusade.
During Wednesday’s hearing, several senators from both sides of the aisle voiced their distrust of the FISA process—probably an overdue reaction—but nonetheless prompted by Comey’s egregious and intentional abuse of that government tool.
Social media is flooded with regular Americans expressing their new-found distrust of the FBI. Michael Horowitz repeatedly confirmed during Wednesday’s hearing that his report, contrary to Democratic talking points, did not “vindicate” Comey and his FBI.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy went a step further. “These were conscious, willful acts of malfeasance,” McCarthy said on Fox News as the hearing got underway.
Comey undoubtedly will make the rounds on cable news this week to try to spin his latest self-aggrandizing fantasy. (He is scheduled to appear on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend.) Trump haters will continue to boost Comey as a hero of #TheResistance for challenging the president without any consideration to the harm he caused to the body politic.
It’s unclear and, sadly, unlikely he will ever be held responsible or what he’s done. But Comey’s star eventually will fade as the wounds he inflicted on the country will remain. That is Comey’s legacy.