You don’t have to be a cockeyed optimist to believe that, although times are tough, they could be worse. Just imagine the mess if James Comey were still running the FBI.
Near the end of his forceful Thursday interview, Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Comey if he would have kept working for President Trump had the president not fired him.
“Yes,” Comey said. “In fact, that was my intention. To serve another six years.”
Yikes. Thank heavens — and Trump — Comey didn’t get the chance to corrupt the FBI for a minute longer, let alone six more years.
Comey’s book tour is a phenomenon possible only in the Age of Trump. He is treated like a star because he delivers catnip to the hate-Trump media, as when he condemns the president as “like a crime boss who’s morally unfit.” The book, “Higher Loyalty” has sold more than 600,000 copies and the president feeds the circus by calling Comey a “leaker and a liar.”
Most authors would die for such attention and sales, but Comey is paying a reputational price for his windfall. The more he talks, the more he inadvertently proves Trump’s case that something was very rotten in Washington and that Comey himself was unfit to lead the FBI.
Consider his comments to a New York bookstore audience.
“There is a deep state in this sense,” Comey said. “There is a collection of people, CIA, NSA, FBI [and] in the United States military services who care passionately about getting it right, who care passionately about the values we try to talk about.”
He called them the “ballast of the country” and said “No president in a single term could screw it up…It would take generations, and that should comfort us.”
That depends on who “us” is and whose “values” are being pushed.
In a vacuum, the notion of seasoned professionals making the government run is unremarkable. But against the backdrop of continuing revelations of serious misconduct in those agencies during the Obama administration, there is no comfort for the millions of Americans who believe insiders abused their powers for partisan purposes.
They see the “deep state” as a sinister force aiming to hijack an election and, when that didn’t work, undermine a fairly elected president. They also see a system with one set of laws for those favored by the government and a different set for everyone else.
Comey, as an ambitious insider, was both a beneficiary and a perpetrator of this double standard of justice.
He continues to insist that his investigation of Hillary Clinton was clean, even as he says he didn’t trust the actions of his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch. He insists the Trump probe was not affected by the anti-Trump sentiments of top officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who texted about an “insurance plan” in case Trump won, or the lies to investigators of his top deputy, Andrew McCabe.
His claim that he saw no bias is laughable — they were all biased in the same way, agreeing that Trump should not be president!
In a truly bizarre claim, Comey said on Fox he isn’t certain the Russian dossier was paid for by Clinton and the Democratic Party.
That doesn’t pass the smell test, and, even if true, would mean the probe was incompetent. The political motivation behind the dossier is a key fact when judging its credibility, as are the openly-partisan leanings of investigators.
Yet to hear Comey talk, none of this matters. All that matters is that we should trust him to do the right thing, which happens to be whatever he says it is.
That includes giving a “friend” memos he wrote to leak them to the media. Oops — it’s not a leak when he does it.
Nor does he see anything wrong in writing a scathing book based on his private meetings with the president, even though he leaves an unprecedented stain on the FBI.
Comey’s self-aggrandizement is apparent with his claim that he tried to “protect the independence” of the agency, as if it were a separate branch of government, accountable to no one.
It also doesn’t seem to bother him that public trust is destroyed when law enforcement is politicized to help the candidate of the incumbent party and hurt the candidate of the opposition party.
What happened at the FBI under Comey in 2016 was not “ballast.” It was a clear and present danger to America.
This is the “deep state” in reality, not the idealized one he depicts.
A final example involves how the most salacious aspects of the Russian dossier were published. Comey writes that he briefed President-elect Trump on the alleged prostitute saga, telling him that “media like CNN had the dossier and were looking for a news hook” to publish it.
Presto — two days after that briefing, CNN broke the news that Comey had discussed the dossier with Trump, making the meeting the news hook CNN sought. The source of that story appears to be James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence — and now a CNN contributor.
According to a House Intelligence Committee report released Friday, Clapper initially “flatly denied” discussing the dossier with CNN.
But when confronted with evidence to the contrary, he changed his story.
The report says “Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the ‘dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,’ and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists,” according to The Federalist.
One more fact: Comey said he briefed Trump on the dossier at Clapper’s suggestion.
That’s the deep state in action.
Whazzup with youse voters?
The Oxford English Dictionary is turning 90 and wants to know more about American English, by which it apparently means Trump voters. As one official puts it, “We’re asking for help from you guys, y’all, yinz, you-uns, and youse to identify candidates for inclusion in the dictionary from varieties of English that are currently underrepresented.”
Progress or prejudice?
Fresh slice of NYC
New York has every kind of museum, except one: A pizza museum, but that will soon be fixed.
A firm called Nameless Network will open “the world’s first experimental pizza adventure,” complete with cheese cave and pizza beach, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Admission will be $35, but you get a slice with that.
Even more $$ down sinkhole
It’s raining money — your money.
Last Wednesday, I wrote that Mayor de Blasio failed to stem the homeless tide despite spending an “astonishing $1.6 billion.”
I spoke too soon. The next day, de Blasio announced he was adding $386 million more, bringing the total on homeless services to $2.15 billion.
The additional cash is part of the $1.5 billion for “new needs” de Blasio has added in just two months.
At $89.1 billion, the new budget would grow by about 5 percent over the current year and 20 percent, or $15 billion, since de Blasio took office.
At least drunken sailors spend their own money.
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