Notable and quotable: Comey

Staff Columnist

From “Comey’s People” by Mathew Continetti in July/August issue of Commentary:

It’s obvious [James] Comey was the one behind the stories of [President] Trump’s dishonesty and bad behavior.  He admitted as much in front of the cameras in a remarkable exchange with Senator Susan Collins of Maine….  The source for the New York Times article was “a good friend of mine who’s a professor at Columbia Law School,” Daniel Richman.

Comey said that, after Trump tweeted  on May 12 that he’d better hope there aren’t “any tapes” of their  conversations,  “I asked a friend of mine  to share the content  of the memo with a reporter.  Didn’t do it myself, for a variety of reasons.  But I asked him to , because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.  And so I asked a close friend of mine to do it,”….

Every time I watch or read that exchange, I am amazed.  Here is the former director of the FBI just flat-out admitting that, for months, he wrote down every interaction he had with the president of the United States because he wanted a written record in case the president ever fired or lied about him.  And when the president did fire and lie about him, that director set in motion a series of public disclosures with the intent of not only embarrassing the president, but also the appointment of a special counsel who might end up investigating the president for who knows what.  And none of this would have happened if the president had not fired Comey or tweeted about him.  He told the Senate that if Trump hadn’t dismissed him, he most likely would still be on the job.

Rarely, in my view, are high officials so transparent in describing how Washington works.  Comey revealed to the world that he was keeping a file on his boss, that he used go-betweens to get his story into the press, that “investigative journalism” is often just powerful people handing documents to reporters to further their careers or agendas or even to get revenge.  And as long as you maintain some distance from the fallout, and stick to the absolute letter of the law, you will come out on top, so long as you have a small army of nightingales singing to reporters on your behalf.

[As printed in The Wall Street Journal; Tuesday, August 1, 2017]

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