This post was originally published on The Federalist.
Former FBI Director James Comey is set to promote his new memoir “A Higher Loyalty,” which gives his perspective on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and his bitter relationship with President Trump that ultimately ended with his firing.
In the book, he attempts to embarrass Trump by sharing the president’s concern about the dossier regarding the salacious, unsubstantiated allegation of a “pee tape” and making fun of Trump’s height, the size of his hands, and use of tanning goggles all while comparing him to a “mob boss.” And no, this book wasn’t written by Michael Wolff.
If there is anything new to learn from Comey, it’s what he had to say about his botched handling of the email investigation. He said he worried the Department of Justice would “screw around” as to whether Clinton should be prosecuted. Comey hinted that publicly unknown damaging material about former Attorney General Loretta Lynch would have “cast serious doubt” in her handling of the Clinton probe. He also admitted that he relied on polls in his decision to reopen the investigation days before the election, as he feared the eventual Clinton presidency would be considered “illegitimate.”
Comey became a polarizing figure specifically because of his handling of the Clinton investigation. Republicans were outraged when he let her off the hook during that infamous July press conference, and Democrats were outraged when he reopened the investigation. By his own admission, Comey politicized his role as FBI director. Despite the controversy that went into his firing, it was certainly deserved.
But with the release of his new book, Comey is showing that he has a lot in common with the woman his agency investigated for more than a year. “A Higher Loyalty” is meant for him to set the record straight about what happened during his tenure heading the FBI. Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened” was also meant to set the record straight as to why Trump won the election instead of her. Both books ended up being self-righteous, anti-Trump revenge porn.
As Comey determined back in 2016, Clinton was “extremely careless” with her handling of classified information—but so was he. While she had classified and top secret emails on an unsecure server, Comey leaked memos about his conversations with President Trump to the press in retaliation for his firing, which ultimately led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Comey and Clinton both had the luxury of being shielded by the mainstream media. 2016 set a dangerous precedent that a former secretary of state can abuse her power while in office and not be held accountable simply because journalists vehemently opposed her GOP rival.
Comey had a love-hate relationship with the media. When he first announced he wasn’t going to recommend criminal charges for Clinton, he was applauded. When he reopened the investigation 11 days before the election, he was condemned, and rightfully so, especially now that he has admitted it was solely a political decision.
But once when it was announced that the FBI had launched an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign, he won the media over again. And when Trump fired Comey, the media immediately accused the president of obstructing justice instead of acknowledging Comey’s numerous failures.
Then for the past year, the media condemned any Republican or conservative pundit who questioned the integrity of FBI leadership. Meanwhile, the DOJ inspector general just confirmed in a report that former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, Comey’s number two man, “lacked candor” to investigators under oath about leaking information to the press.
It wasn’t too long ago the media blasted Trump’s “cruel” decision to fire McCabe just hours before he was supposed to receive his pension. And discussion of alleged crimes Clinton may have committed has been dismissed because she lost the election, as if she deserves pity.
The biggest “bombshell” from Comey’s memoir isn’t actually in the memoir. It’s the reality that he is just as bitter about the Trump presidency as Hillary Clinton is. Both refuse to move on with their lives and felt the need to release a book that serves more as self-therapy than anything insightful.
Their greatest commonality is their failure to acknowledge their lapses in judgment. In their minds, they have the moral high ground over their critics, and they were wronged. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Just like Clinton, Comey will make countless TV appearances and pal around with late-night hosts. His first major interview was with, oddly enough, a Clinton lackey posing as a journalist, George Stephanopoulos. On the bright side, it’ll be fun to watch Comey defend his pal McCabe after Comey stated in the wake of his firing that McCabe “served with distinction.”
In the end, Comey tarnished his own reputation as the FBI director and buried any credibility he had left with this petty, sanctimonious memoir. Like Clinton, he’s better off wandering in the woods rather than trying to salvage his image that his actions in office destroyed. Also like Clinton, he is a political has-been whose elite status privileged him from facing any legal consequences.
It’s difficult to drain the swamp when all the pipes are clogged.
This post was originally published on The Federalist.