James Comey May Talk Too Much For His Own Good
In case you weren't sure what crimes Comey probably committed, he's going on a tour reiterating all of them.
Fired FBI director James Comey is going public about his experiences. He’s pushing his new book A Higher Loyalty in a series of interviews. What’s the problem?
For him, it’s that he’s carelessly saying all kinds of things that reveal he may be guilty of crimes. For the country, it’s that he played a central role in investigating Donald Trump’s campaign for alleged collusion with Russia, and that ethical rules direct him not to discuss details until the investigation is over.
Gabbing and Hating
His ego is apparently so big he cannot constrain himself from gabbing. Last Sunday, he confidently allowed ABC to interview him for two hours. Former Clinton crony George Stephanopoulos threw him softballs.
Comey can’t hide his hatred for President Trump, who fired him last May. He admitted that he thought writing a book was an “exercise in vanity.” He said, “And one of the things I’ve struggled with my whole life is my ego and — and a sense that I — I have to be careful not to fall in love with my own view of things.” He worried about falling in love with his own virtue. Discussing the press conference he put on announcing no charges against Clinton in 2016, he admitted it was flawed because of his ego. “And I — I think that’s an example of my ego sneaking through.”
Trump likes Comey as little as Comey likes him. He’s suggested Comey belongs behind bars. He says the former FBI director has committed “many crimes.” Trump said Comey lied to Congress, to Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). And important people are listening to the president. Eleven members of the House are now calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute Comey. Joseph DiGenova, a former U.S. Attorney for D.C., calls him a criminal who should be charged.
Obstruction of Justice
Why are all these people after Comey? Several of his actions point to the possible crime of obstruction of justice. It’s alleged he politicized the FBI and interfered with the presidential election. He allowed political considerations to affect his legal work. This is a felony under 18 USC 1505 and 1515(B). DiGenova said “the dirty cop” knowingly and willingly used the criminal process against an American citizen to influence a presidential campaign.
These actions include failing to convene a grand jury to assess the charges against Clinton. Nor did he put her under oath. He claims no prosecutor would have brought charges against Clinton, but that’s not true. Even if he thought it was true, it’s not up to him to act as a prosecutor. That isn’t his job in his law enforcement role. Law enforcement investigates and if they think a crime has been committed, then they recommend charges. The government’s attorneys decide whether to bring them or not.
Comey Aids Clinton
Comey even admitted he considered the fact that Clinton was likely going to win the election when he decided to shut down the investigation into her email.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But — but at some level, wasn’t the decision to reveal influenced by your assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to win? And your concern that she wins, this comes out several weeks later, and then that’s taken by her opponent as a sign that she’s an illegitimate president?
JAMES COMEY: It must have been. I don’t remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been. ‘Cause I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. And so I’m sure that it — that it was a factor. Like I said, I don’t remember spelling it out, but it had to have been. That — that she’s going to be elected president, and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out.
Comey admits after discovering hundreds of thousands of Clinton’s emails on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the husband of her personal assistant Huma Abedin, he decided not to go over them before the election. He made major decisions without consulting first with his Department of Justice boss Loretta Lynch, such as the statement about Clinton. All this seems to show a corrupt intent to obstruct justice.
DiGenova believes Comey engaged in selective prosecution. Comey suggested criminal charges against former National Security Advisor General Flynn and campaign manager Paul Manafort but not against Hillary Clinton.
Comey Against Trump
It’s no surprise that Comey was working against Trump. He admitted that his wife and five children supported Clinton. He revealed one of his political positions in the ABC interview. “And so I see already things growing and flourishing that didn’t before this fire. I see the kids marching in the streets, including my own kids, about guns.” He also said he was upset that he may have cost Hillary the election. He said over and over that he was “sick to my stomach” over the FBI’s interference in the election.
Comey likely committed perjury when he told Congress under oath that he waited to decide whether recommend charges against Clinton until after her interview. But he actually wrote the exoneration statement two months before the FBI interviewed her. He also gave conflicting accounts of the author of the dossier’s relationship with the FBI, who is Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence (MI6) officer. These likely violate 18 USC 1621 and 18 USC 1001.
Comey kept memos of his conversations with Trump. At first, Comey stated under oath that he never leaked memos to the press. Comey admitted later to Congress that he did. He asked a friend to share four of them with a reporter. They were clearly FBI material. Four of the seven memos were classified. Comey never told the FBI about them. He could have given them to the FBI or to Congress. Instead, he leaked them to control the press narrative. Leaking this data violates 18 USC 641, 793 and 1924(a).
DiGenova said Comey also lied to the FISA court about the dossier. DiGenova said the dossier is clearly fake. Comey never verified the dossier presented to the court. When he told Trump in a private meeting about the dossier, he did not tell him that it was financed by his political opponents. He admitted during his ABC interview that he still doesn’t know if the dossier has been verified.
Leaking classified information is a serious crime. Former FBI agent Terry J. Albury pled guilty to leaking classified documents to the media. He faces a likely sentence of 3-5 years in prison.
Comey admitted during an appearance on The View on April 18 that he has lied. “Good people lie. I think I’m a good person, where I have lied.”
Ethical Rules on Publicity
Prosecutors, former prosecutors and their teams are not supposed to discuss active investigations in public. State bar ethics rules only allow them to release very basic details. Besides this flagrant violation, there’s the fact that Comey may end up being a cooperating witness. In that case, he’s supposed to refrain from public comment.
But Comey must know what he is doing. Timing is everything. Releasing the book now will bring in the most money. Especially if he can convince people that his nonpartisanship (wink-wink) outweighs any possible crimes he committed.
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