When James Comey sent his infamous letter to Congress days before Election Day, there was speculation as to his motives. The emails discovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop were very unlikely to provide any new information, as anyone thinking about the actual situation rather than the partisan situation would have to conclude. The FBI hadn’t tried to get a court order to read the emails, hadn’t even contacted Huma Abedin’s lawyer to see if she would simply consent to search of the emails.
When the leaks came gushing out after the letter, we learned that there were a group of agents in the FBI office who were more interested in attacking Clinton than in pursuing justice, who had been prosecutor-shopping hoping to get more resources to dig further into a hit-piece of a book of shaky provenance funded by the CEO of the Trump campaign. The perception was that fear of leaks had forced Comey’s hand.
I had assumed that maybe his reputation as the hero who had stood up against the Bush administration’s attempt to get a hospitalized John Ashcroft to sign off on the domestic spying program had gone to his head, that he saw himself as the Last Honest Man in Washington. Others, noting that he was a Republican, thought he was trying to protect his standing in that party.
The latest revelations about the intelligence concerning Russian interference in our election raise new questions about Comey and the letter. Comey was part of the delegation that briefed Congressional leaders about this intelligence. He knew that the administration in which he serves was asking for a bipartisan statement about that intelligence. He was also aware that Mitch McConnell, the craven and cynical Senate Majority leader, rejected the intelligence and the idea of a statement. With all that knowledge, he sent a letter based on no evidence of wrongdoing to Congress that very likely tipped the election.
Leaks from rogue FBI agents would not have commanded the same level of credibility that a letter to Congress from the FBI head did. I had assumed that Comey risked the election to save his own hide, not really thinking it would be the tipping point. Now we know that Comey had heard from Mitch McConnell about the impact something like that could have. Did Comey deliberately throw the election, and why?
Is he just a self-righteous prig, or like the rest of his party, rotten to the core and willing to do anything for power?