The idea that James Comey is part of a deep state conspiracy against Donald Trump is absurd, and the attempt by the right to smear him as some sort of liar is a dangerous and transparent attempt to discredit an ongoing investigation. But Comey’s redemption tour is one that appears to be a cynical attempt to promote his book and his personal brand, not show the world a smoking gun.
After he was fired, the former FBI director testified to Congress about his experience working under Trump and entered his memos into the record. From there, he could have rode off into the sunset to eat onion rings with his wife.
Instead, Comey has kept himself in the news with vague metaphorical tweets about honor and leadership that probably allude to Trump. Liberals remain hopeful that Comey will make up for disclosing that the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton while not disclosing that it was also investigating Donald Trump.
If Comey had a smoking gun, he would disclose it to Congress or Robert Mueller, not George Stephanopoulos
But his book, A Higher Loyalty, and the accompanying redemption tour makes clear that Comey is motivated by a desire to stay in the public spotlight—just like Trump himself.
Let’s be clear: James Comey was paid millions of dollars to write this book, which is full of palace intrigue but isn’t full of passages that will protect the republic. Nothing Comey tells the press or writes in his book matters except in the exhausting and intractable “debate” between deep state conspiracy theorists and the #resistance; if Comey had a smoking gun, he would disclose it to Congress or Robert Mueller, not George Stephanopoulos on national television or in the pages of his book.
Comey says the book is about “ethical leadership” but the first news it broke was about the pee tape and other early headlines come from his attacks on Trump’s skin tone, eyes, and clothes: “His tie was too long, as it always is. He looked slightly orange up close with small white half-moons under his eyes, which I assume are from tanning goggles,” Comey wrote. He tells Stephanopoulos that Trump is a “forest fire,” that he made decisions about the Hillary Clinton investigation based on politics.
Outside of the Clinton email investigation, Comey is best known for spending a disordinate amount of time lobbying hard against common-sense encryption tools that would make all Americans safer—a mission he repeats in the book.
Comey is what he is: A man who served his country for many years, but made a critical miscalculation by inserting the specter of an FBI investigation into the last days of the 2016 election. It would have been possible to leave the legacy of James Comey there. Because America can’t let it go, we get his unproductive sparring match with the president. Trump and Comey remain fabulously wealthy and we keep watching.
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