By J. Stewart Cook
James Brien Comey Jr. served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States of America from September 2013 until May 2017. On May 9, 2017, Mr. Comey was fired by the President of the United States, for he had lost confidence in Mr. Comey, and to a great extent, the manner in which he managed the investigation of Russia’s interfering role in the 2016 election.
America Daily News described James Comey as “the quintessential Jim Comey. The cool, conscientious, earnest, intelligent, humble, self-deprecating and honest Jim Comey. A man and leader — as those of us who know him will readily attest — of impeccable integrity.” Were we to doubt these words? It was to be seen.
So, one asks, why are we focussing on the former Director of the FBI? Because he was asked to testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election, his interactions with President Donald Trump, in this regard, and of course, being responsible for the initial FBI investigation on this matter.
No, not a war of words between two high profile individuals? No, not “he said, he said? And, hopefully, not an investigation conducted by American politicians inundated with questions and answers with no firm conclusion? WORDS, merely words. Is this what this entire debacle is all about? My word against your word!
Is it possible, that after all is said and done, that the former Director of the FBI and the President of the United States were simply, as they say, “having words?” Did they argue at any time? Will the conclusion be no more than spoken words?
There could not be a more challenging time for anyone involved in a “matter” of such magnitude. James Comey was the focal point. He was responsible for investigating the role of Russia in the 2016 American election, including any individual who may have played an active role in this matter. And then, there was the President, “desperately seeking James” to confirm that he was not been investigated in any way, shape or form relevant to this matter. On the other side of the world, there was President Putin consistently stating that Russia had not interfered with the American election. He did note, that perhaps some “‘Patriotic’ Russian hackers may have targeted the US election, but insisted that none of their potential activities were state-backed.”
To get to the root of the whole matter, the government convened the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Having heard from high ranking officials, it was time to hear from the former Director of the FBI, James Comey. Prior to meeting with the Committee, Mr. Comey publicly released a seven page report stating, the “interactions” he had with President Trump, in this regard.
On the surface, Mr. Comey projects a “high school boy” image, clean, well groomed and postured. On the inside, Mr. Comey is very attentive, speaks eloquently and with unusual candour. He is proud of what he has accomplished over his career. He is a lawyer and has held many high profile positions over the years.
During the hearing, Mr. Comey typified someone who was “calm, cool and collective.” Always responsive, he never let a question go unanswered. There seemed to be an “air” of “innocence” about him and, at the same time, one of “confidence.” Nevertheless, there was something “uncomforting” about him. It was almost “Columboesk,” having an unassuming appearance (with the exception of his height) and, yet, someone with intelligence and shrewdness. Having a formidable eye for detail and a relentlessly dedicated approach to solving matters.
One cannot help but observe that James Comey took great advantage of having the opportunity to address the Committee. Not for the benefit of the presiding government, nor the American people, but for James Comey himself. Much thought was given, prior to Mr. Comey meeting with the Committee. He had an agenda and it was “personal.” There is no one individual, having had an illustrious career such as Mr. Comey’s, was going to miss an opportunity to assist in the downfall of the person who ended, and possibly ruined, his/her career and reputation. The PERPETRATOR…Donald Trump, President of the United States of America.
One cannot help but hear Mr. Comey making comment to himself or his closet friends…”there is no way that Donald Trump is going to ruin my career and reputation and get away with it. It is not going to happen without consequence.”
It was evident during the Committee meeting that he acted at times “innocently” or perhaps “ignorantly” when asked certain questions by the members. For a man of such intelligence and experience it was evident he “massaged” his responses for his benefit. It was as if they had been rehearsed. Often used, were phrases such as…”it is my understanding or my sense or my belief that the President …” Someone of Mr. Comey’s stature should “know” rather than assume (my understanding, my sense, etc.) what the President was saying to him. And if so, he should have sought immediate clarification from the President. But “ambiguity,” he thought, would serve him well. The following examples typified the aforementioned.
“Comey said he only agreed that Flynn “is a good guy,” but he said he came away believing that Trump was “requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December.”
“Comey also said he did not believe Trump was discussing the broader probe, opened the previous summer, into possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign. “Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency,” Comey said in his prepared remarks.”
“Comey said in his written testimony, which was released yesterday, that he didn’t have a habit of documenting meetings with former President Obama. But because of the circumstances, the subject matter and the “nature of the person” with whom he was interacting, Comey chose to make notes immediately following the matter.
“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of that meeting,” Comey testified.”
“Feinstein, the fourth senator to question Comey, started by asking him why he believed he was fired. Comey said he wasn’t sure, but believed reports that he was fired because of the Russia investigation. “I take [Trump] at his word there,” he said. She quoted from Comey’s written testimony and asked Comey to go into more detail about Trump’s request that he pledge loyalty. “He was asking for something and I was refusing to give it,” Comey said.
Feinstein also asked Comey about his own actions. “You’re big, you’re strong,” she said. “I know the Oval Office and I know what happens to people when they walk in. There is a certain amount of intimidation. But why didn’t you stop and say, ‘Mr. President this is wrong, I cannot discuss this with you?’” “That’s a great question,” Comey responded. “Maybe if I were stronger, I would have,” Mr Comey said. “I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in… I was playing in my mind what should my response be.”
For a man who has communicated with other Presidents, high officials and dignitaries over the years, you would expect that he would not hesitate, or would have the “strength,” to express his opinions and views on any given matter brought to his attention. Where are the factual responses Mr. Comey. It is not good enough to say “I ‘believe’ he meant this or I ‘believe’ he said that!”
Not to be outdone by his own testimony, as shown above, Mr. Comey dropped a bombshell no one expected, that he orchestrated the leak of accounts of conversations with President Donald Trump because he thought it might lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor to lead the Russia investigation.
Comey was asked by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton whether he believed that Trump had colluded with the Russians. “It is a question I don’t think I should answer in an open setting,” Comey said, adding that the question would be answered by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. It is evident (or perhaps wishful thinking) that Mr. Comey was relying on Mr. Mueller to conclude that, in fact, President Trump “colluded” with the Russians.
When a government official has an opportunity to meet with the President, without hesitation the official offers his/her loyalty to the President and the people of America. By all accounts, this was never offered by James Comey. One can only conclude that Mr. Comey has always had a great disdain for the President and hoping his “fall” would be imminent. Mr. Comey had no intention of offering his loyalty!
Perhaps this is one investigation Mr. Comey will not have the last word. When all is said and done, this may be President Trump’s greatest trial, however, he may have the occasion to prove that, yes, Mr. Comey “you are the weakest link…goodbye!”