James Comey, you’re fired!

James Comey as Director, FBI. He and his entire agency are suffused with political bias today.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Yesterday President Donald Trump gave America a moment worthy of his television show, The Apprentice. He fired James Comey as Director of the FBI. He acted swiftly and seems to have acted without warning. But he did not act without proper authority or without justifiable cause.

James Comey thinks it’s a joke

James Comey did not see this coming. He heard about it at the same time millions of Americans did: on television. The New York Times and The Daily Caller set the scene. According to them, James Comey was speaking to FBI employees in the Los Angeles branch office. (Subject: “diversity” at the FBI. That alone should speak volumes, though it’s beyond scope here.) Suddenly several TV monitors lit up saying Trump had fired him. And Comey laughed. He thought it was a practical joke! That is, until some of the staff called him away to tell him privately: no joke.

The sudden firing surprised other officials at the FBI as much as it did James Comey.

Trump caught James Comey on the blind side. That, no one will deny. When Trump first took office, he assured Comey he wanted him to stay on.

Why Trump acted

Why did the President act? He said he acted after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended it. In fact, Deputy Rosenstein did write a letter that very day. In it he criticized James Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail affair.

Rosenstein made these points:

  1. James Comey, on 5 July 2016, said in public that Hillary Clinton did not deserve prosecution. He had no authority to say that. That was for the Attorney General to say. (Maybe then-AG Loretta Lynch ordered him to say that. Recall her cozy chat with Bill Clinton on the tarmac of an airport shortly before.)
  2. But even after declining to make a criminal referral, Comey went on to reveal damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Even prosecutors shouldn’t do that.

Three former FBI assistant directors all agreed: if James Comey did that, he deserved to lose his job.

Comey made a few more missteps concerning what happened to Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. At one point he said Mrs. Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, would forward e-mails from Mrs. Clinton to Abedin’s then-husband (Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-Brooklyn) for later print-out. That, if true, would be another outrageous breach of security by Mrs. Clinton. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked immediately why Abedin was not up before a judge. So Comey had to walk that back.

More broadly, Donald Trump said James Comey was not working out effectively as head of the FBI. In his termination letter, Trump called for “new leadership” to “restore public trust and confidence” in the FBI.

The likely real reason

Dick Morris suggested another, better reason for Trump to want to fire James Comey as fast as he could.

It’s almost impossible for a President to fire the head of the FBI. Louis Freeh had three criminal investigations going on against President Clinton. Clinton was itching to fire him, but couldn’t. Because he’d get a backlash because he had fired him while [Freeh was investigating him].

I think the real reason Trump fired Comey—and he deserved [it]—is [this]. On January 10, 2017, Comey had a judgment call. Would he release this dossier that had come into his possession, that was full of fictitious garbage about Donald Trump being with prostitutes in Moscow, and the annals of the supposed liaison between Trump and Putin, none of it verified, none of it proven, all of it conjecture? He gave it to President Obama and to the Congress. Predictably, within a few nanoseconds, it leaked to the press. This has fueled four months of conspiracy theories, two Congressional investigations, and an FBI investigation. Trump obviously was livid that material got out there.

Morris also found fault with James Comey for “embroiling” himself in politics. This he did far more than did anyone who served as Director before him. Morris called it right. Even Louis J. Freeh, Bill Clinton’s replacement for William Sessions, did not get as overtly political as James Comey has.

As to why Donald Trump waited until yesterday: Joel B. Pollak at Breitbart can explain. James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, told Congress he had no evidence that Trump and the Russians had colluded. And he said it under oath. So Trump would have felt he could fire James Comey without any backlash risk.

The legacy of J. Edgar Hoover

Then again, no Director has ever come close to J. Edgar Hoover, the first Director. He was the FBI. He saw Presidents come and go. Hoover also held information enough to blackmail half of official Washington. With the result that Life scornfully called him “Emperor of the FBI.” They even put a Roman-style bust of him, with a purple drape, on its cover.

That only shows that Hoover was the anti-Comey, and almost tune-deaf as regards politics. That tune-deafness hurt Hoover with mainstream media organs everywhere. The day after his death (2 May 1972), cartoonist Draper Hill (The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.) drew an iconic cartoon. It shows a slightly out-of-shape American eagle, wearing a shield with the letters “FBI” on its breast. The eagle also wears a wiretap rig on a sling over one shoulder, and looks up to heaven. Or is that bird an eagle? One witness of the period took one look at that cartoon and screamed in outrage: “NO! A BUZZARD!

Are the buzzards circling?

Political buzzards might be circling now. Within minutes of everyone else hearing of the firing, Senator Charles M. Schumer (D-N.Y.) lamented it in public. He repeated the canard about the Russians helping put Trump into office. Did he not hear James Clapper’s testimony to the contrary? Or did he simply discount that, though Clapper never worked for Trump? The senator did not say. But his pious calls for an investigation “far away as possible” from the White House or Trump, ring hollow.

The Senator, with all due respect to what a Senator ought to be, spoke foolishly. Foolishly because he took the American people for fools. He and other leftists called for James Comey to resign after he announced “re-opening” the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. Philip Hodges at Eagle Rising has the details. But Mr. Hodges leaves out something else even more to the point. This same Senator Schumer, and his same fellow travelers, gave Barack Obama repeated passes. They “passed” on Obama even after Operation Fast and Furious blew up as it did.

A hypocritical response

Various liberal celebrities are howling loudly for Congress to remove Trump on impeachment for firing James Comey. That’s bad enough. But these celebrities are not Senators or Representatives. They don’t get a paycheck for Constitutional discernment. Furthermore, the public stay free to gape at them and hang on their words, or not, as we wish. (And most of us don’t.)

But a United States Senator should know better. He swore “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” He then failed to do this with Barack Obama, for eight years. (Those eight years ought never have been. Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen. His father was a British colonial subject, which alone should disqualify him.) It ill befits him to throw off on Donald Trump as he now does.

Even if you grant Senator Schumer’s premise, James Comey deserves no such consideration. He vacillated and, at a critical moment, made the FBI political. As a result, several rank-and-file FBI special agents made a mutiny against him. The American public have them, not the Russian Federal Security Bureau, to thank for telling us about Hillary Clinton.

Who’s next?

Now Donald Trump must name a new Director. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) has already emerged as a candidate. So has Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) Or perhaps Trump could turn to the ranks of “local” law enforcement. He could, for instance, appoint Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Any of these would be a better Director than James Comey has been.

Editor-in-chief at | + posts

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

One Response to James Comey, you’re fired!

  1. Donald R. Laster, Jr says:

    This should read:

    (Those eight years ought never have been. Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen. His father was a British colonial subject, which alone disqualify him.)

    The word “should” does not belong. Remember, to be natural born citizen of a country one must be in the country of PARENTS who are citizens of the country.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.