Lazy Saturday Reads: James Comey Must Resign

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Good Morning!!

FBI Director James Comey, in the words of Lawrence Tribe, has “throw[n] a huge bomb at the election.” Hillary will still win, but Comey, with pressure from House Republicans and Donald Trump, may have negatively affected downticket races for Democrats.

As we all know, yesterday Comey sent a letter to GOP chairmen in Congress announcing that FBI investigators had found emails that could be “pertinent” to the Clinton server investigation. Here’s the full text of the letter:

Dear Messrs Chairmen:

In previous congressional testimony, l referred to the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had completed its investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s personal email server. Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony.

In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.
Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.

Sincerely yours,
James B. Comey
Director

Naturally, Rep. Jason Chaffetz immediately released the letter to the press, and hundreds of political reporters and cable talking heads went wild in a disgusting feeding frenzy, falsely reporting that the investigation into Clinton’s serve had been “reopened” even though Comey’s letter didn’t say any such thing.

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Later in the day, Comey tried to cover his ass by sending a second letter to FBI employees. That letter was also obtained by The Washington Post. Here’s the text:

To all:

This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation.  Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case.  Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them.

Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.  At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression.  In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.

Jim Comey

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No kidding. The Justice Department, which is in charge of the FBI, has historically tried to avoid politicizing investigation, especially within at least 60 days of an election. But Comey already chose to politicize the Clinton investigation with his highly inappropriate press conference in July.  Following that clusterfuck, former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller strongly criticized Comney’s actions.

“It’s not just unusual, it’s unprecedented,” said Matthew Miller, who was director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder and now works at strategic advisory firm Vianovo. “He’s put himself into the middle of a political campaign in a way that will call into question the legitimacy of the office.”

“You’ll now have people in the middle of a campaign able to say, ‘Well, the FBI director said Hillary Clinton was careless,'” Miller added. “That’s not the FBI director’s job to do, and the rules are set up to prohibit that kind of behavior.”

As we all know, Comey was then pressured by Republicans to testify before Congress about his decision not to charge Clinton. After that he took the unprecedented step of publicly releasing the FBI’s notes of Clinton’s private interview about the server. Comey is apparently hoping to become J. Edgar Hoover 2.0 with his blatant abuse of power.

We now know that the emails were found on a laptop that Huma Abedin shared with her estranged husband and social media pervert Anthony Weiner. They were not sent or received by Clinton and very likely are simply copies of emails that the FBI has already examined.

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This morning, Jane Mayer revealed that in his letter yesterday Comey went against the recommendation of Attorney General Lorretta Lynich–his boss: James Comey Broke with Loretta Lynch and Justice Department Tradition.

Coming less than two weeks before the Presidential election, Comey’s decision to make public new evidence that may raise additional legal questions about Clinton was contrary to the views of the Attorney General, according to a well-informed Administration official. Lynch expressed her preference that Comey follow the department’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations, and not taking any action that could influence the outcome of an election, but he said that he felt compelled to do otherwise.

Comey’s decision is a striking break with the policies of the Department of Justice, according to current and former federal legal officials. Comey, who is a Republican appointee of President Obama, has a reputation for integrity and independence, but his latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities, who see it as potentially affecting the outcome of the Presidential and congressional elections.

“You don’t do this,” one former senior Justice Department official exclaimed. “It’s aberrational. It violates decades of practice.” The reason, according to the former official, who asked not to be identified because of ongoing cases involving the department, “is because it impugns the integrity and reputation of the candidate, even though there’s no finding by a court, or in this instance even an indictment.”

Traditionally, the Justice Department has advised prosecutors and law enforcement to avoid any appearance of meddling in the outcome of elections, even if it means holding off on pressing cases. One former senior official recalled that Janet Reno, the Attorney General under Bill Clinton, “completely shut down” the prosecution of a politically sensitive criminal target prior to an election. “She was adamant—anything that could influence the election had to go dark,” the former official said.

Four years ago, then Attorney General Eric Holder formalized this practice in a memo to all Justice Department employees.

Not only that, but Comey’s announced resulted in a dramatic drop in the stock market. Once masssive FBI leaks clarified that Hillary Clinton likely didn’t send or receive any of the emails in question, the market began to rise again.

To top it all off, we have now learned that the FBI had the emails in question at least a month ago!

According to Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald, many in the FBI are angry at Comey.

And there’s this from Josh Marshall.

I don’t see how Comey recovers from this. He needs to resign, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. CNN legal analyst Paul Callan: Time for FBI director Comey to go.

Donald Trump’s oft-repeated claim that the FBI’s investigation of “Crooked Hillary” and the presidential election itself were and are “rigged,” seems to have thrown FBI Director James Comey into a state of panic. In foolishly making a public announcement that the bureau is reviewing newly discovered emails related to Hillary Clinton’s personal server, he has inserted himself yet again into the presidential campaign.

The FBI virtually never announces the commencement or termination of ongoing criminal investigations or the discovery of new evidence. Such inquiries are often conducted in relative secrecy, enabling a more efficient investigation….

The old, sensible FBI rule book apparently has been thrown on the trash heap this year. While undoubtedly attempting to be open and “transparent,” to protect the reputation of the FBI, the FBI director has tossed a Molotov cocktail into the presidential race.

Voters must now be subjected to endless speculation in the press and explicit accusations from the Trump campaign and other Republican candidates that Hillary Clinton is a “criminal” aided and abetted by a rigged FBI and Justice Department. Comey’s “openness and transparency” will blow up in his face and further tarnish the FBI’s reputation. He has reinserted the Bureau into the political process.

More interesting reads on the Comey mess:

Politico: Comey’s disclosure shocks former prosecutors.

Greg Sargent: James Comey needs to clean up his mess. Here’s what we need to know.

LA Times: FBI says emails found in Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal may have links to Clinton probe.

Benjamin Wittes at the Lawfare blog: Memo to the Press: What Comey’s Letter Does and Doesn’t Mean.

Jamie Bouie: Why the “October Surprise” Is Dead

Kurt Eichenwald: Hillary Clinton’s Emails: The Real Reason the FBI is Reviewing More of Them.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think? What stories are you following today?

 


59 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: James Comey Must Resign”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a great weekend Sky Dancers! If you can stand it, shut off the TV, ignore the news on the internet and do something relaxing. Of course, I won’t be able to tear myself away, but I hope you can.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I’m with you BB……I’ve been all up in this story since it broke and I can’t turn it off. Comey MUST go. This story is finally being covered correctly by the MSM, but it took nearly 24 hours for them to figure it out. I figured it out as soon as I read the Comey Letter, which was within the first hour after the story broke.The MSM took the Jason Caffetz line and went with it Nationally as if it was etched in stone. Shame on them for trying to break a story without doing any research and investigation. And I’m not concerned that this will harm Hillary. Like Hillary I believe everyone who is serious about voting has already made up their mind how they feel about the emails.

      And Rudy Ghouliani has been on Comey’s ass over the decision not to recommend prosecution. Rudy even said he “read the report”, which is impossible since no report was made public, only notes from the interview. Rudy was Comey’s boss in another life and I have a feeling that Rudy is Trump’s choice to be AG and Comey is playing a game of CYA. Well, it’s backfired and Comey must go and I believe he will resign when Hillary is elected.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I think he will need to resign immediately unless he can find a way to clean up his mess–based on reactions coming out of the justice department and Congress. He went against all advice and he had already violated protocol in July. He’s drunk with power.

  2. bostonboomer says:

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  3. dakinikat says:

    I’m glad to see more knowledgeable and studied voices in the media after absolutely bad journalism yesterday. Chaffetz and Howdy are terrorists imho. They lob bombs and destroy democracy and real Congressional oversight. More people are calling for Comey to resign and rightly so. You got both the articles I found useful. The Mayer one was great.

  4. Riverbird says:

    Thank you for your post and the links. I can’t tear myself away, either.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Mother Jones: Meet the Dapper White Nationalist who Wins Even if Trump Loses.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/richard-spencer-trump-alt-right-white-nationalist

  6. dakinikat says:

    Here’s something tweeted from your LA Times link above …

  7. William says:

    I could write ten paragraphs expressing my horror and fury at the way that a bunch of Far Right arsonists seriously threaten to destroy the complete fabric of American democracy. But at this point, the most important thing, by far, is to get Hillary elected. This monstrous cabal, with their ties to the media, the Russians, the FBI, may well have cost us the Senate, which was one of their goals. But a Hillary victory will make us feel better, even though the evil in the land will still be very much alive.

    It’s certainly not a game, of course. But I always think of an image where one player tries to play fairly; calls balls in our out in an accurate way; tries to compromise with the opponent regarding a rule dispute. The opponent does anything to win; cheats in every conceivable way; makes every call in his favor; constantly threatens to push over the whole board and destroy the game. Now, in this metaphor, the fair player would simply refuse to play with the evil opponent. But in our supposed democracy, leaving the game means abandoning all of it to the despicable opponent. So you have to play, or simply concede, and leave the country. Oh, and to extend the metaphor, the “referees,” the so-called media, are either on the side of the evil player; are afraid of his threats and blackmails; or simply too full of their own grandiosity to actually understand how he is trying to fix and corrupt the game.

  8. Enheduanna says:

    Does Hillary get to kick this MF out if he’s still there when she takes office?

    Comey was just one of many disappointing appointments Obama made – for me anyway.

    • bostonboomer says:

      He would have to be impeached or fired for cause. I think he needs to be asked to resign.

    • NW Luna says:

      Obama should have known better than to appoint Republicans — especially this one — to office, but he was too inexperienced. Thanks again, brogressives.

      Comey needs to resign.

      BB, really good post explaining the hoopla about this non-event.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Yes thank you BB for this post. I was able to forward it to my mom and she was able to put it all together. She even would go so far as to call it an attempted coup from the republicans. To proceed the way Comey did…so close to the election.

  9. William says:

    Ah, I have one more thing to say. As awful as the Far Right is, and as wrongly as Comey has acted, the media is as much to blame for this as any entity. (Don’t) turn on the TV for five minutes, and they have completely mis-stated this story, which is really hardly a story, except tha the Right and the media want it to be. The story is: the FBI found some emails. Apparently they were not to or from Hillary. Also, they may have been already looked at. That’s it.

    But the media starts yelling as if they are watching a TV mystery story, and this HAS to be important. Emails! Found some! FBI! Congress! Hillay! That is not a story, it is just screaming as loudly as they can, when they don’t, or won’t, actually tell people what the non-story is. And they stand up there and sententiously expound about this being a very big deal; when the truth is that it is Nothing At All, except that they decide that it is and try to make it so. And that is worse than wrong, or bad, or superficial. It is a disgrace to this country’s history and origins. It is a complete and cavalier dereliction of their responsibility as so-called journalists.

    P.S: I’m watching BIll Clinton speak in Ohio, and he is absolutely great. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  10. palhart says:

    I agree with Matthew Miller’s assessment that Comey should have followed the tradition and practice of the office and NEVER given a press conference in July to be so bloody tramsparent and open. He should have given the FBI’s conclusion to Lynch to announce. If he had to announce in July, he should have explained the tradition of nothing more said or written from the office (FBI). Also he could add that these cases aren’t closed and new info could be added and analyized, but the decision remains. He had the tradition to follow and should have followed that wise path. He should resign.

    • teele says:

      I think the tradition here is the glaring incompetence and corruption bred into the FBI by their great cross-dressing founder. The agency has had it in for the Clintons since Bill realized how bad they are and started using the ATF for federal law enforcement instead. So now Teeny Peeny Trump can boast that the FBI has endorser him, along with ICE. I think I can see where the guvmint can be trimmed of some dead wood, saving us some tax dollars.
      Comey should get kicked out immediately, and be exported to Russia, so he can serv(ic)e his Uncle Vlad more fully.

  11. Pat Johnson says:

    These ratfuckers will stop at nothing to get their way. Even going as far as hoping to elect a madman they think they can control in office over the needs of the nation. It is absolutely disgusting to even consider that perverted asshole in the Oval Office.

    But let’s not forget that “perception” is everything. For those who have listened to the shitstorm of “corrupt Hillary” this is just another example to persuade others that “where there is smoke there is fire”when it comes to Hillary. I am not sure what it would take to change that perception but we cannot deny its exists.

    The foul GOP has already announced plans to keep unnecessary hearings going beginning on Day 1 of her term. How much more do we need to understand that they will continue to put us all at risk by ignoring the real issues by focusing on the nonsense?

    It is up to the public at large to demand an end to these witch hunts but I am not sure we are up to it. If 40% of the country can cast their votes for an amoral orange buffoon we don’t stand a chance.

    I cannot believe what is happening but then again I do. Heartbreaking.

  12. janicen says:

    We don’t yet know what effect this is going to have on the election, but we do know what happened to the stock market as a result of Comey’s irresponsible actions. That in itself is reason for him to step down.

    • bostonboomer says:

      From what I saw from Clinton’s even down in Florida, it’s having the effect of really firing people up.

  13. janicen says:

    I just want to go on record as being against Democratic administrations selecting Republicans for certain positions to show how bipartisan we are. Fuck that. I say pick all Democrats for every position and give Republicans nothing. Just like they do to us.

  14. Boo Radly says:

    Change.org has a petition up now on Comey! I am so outraged, disgusted, sickened! I have to add – fearful since I viewed a tRump female supporter being interviewed on CNN. Unbelievable! We truly are facing Third World ruling if ANY Reptilians are allowed in Congress. WTF is wrong with these mentally, intelligent/ethically challenged people? Really like to see 20 million signatures by tomorrow lol. Heart be still. 😱

    • NW Luna says:

      He’s in clear violation of the Hatch Act against Federal employees using their positions to engage in activities which can influence the election, and should be charged.

      If any low-ranking Federal employee did anything like this they’d be terminated. Comey shouldn’t be exempt from the penalties.

      • Fannie says:

        He’s done enough harm, they need to make him step down, and take away all email accounts, and his classification clearances.

      • Earlynerd says:

        In the late 70’s, when against all hope I’d landed a job that let me support myself by my own talents and effort, rather than through access to a man’s wages, the Hatch Act was posted throughout the workplace.

        I asked my supervisor if it would be a violation to attend a march on D.C. in support of the extension of the ERA. He said it would not. As a low level employee, all of twenty-something years old, I had to check or I knew I would risk that precious job.

        The Republicans have made it crystal clear in this election “the law is for thee and not for me”.

        I think women know most of their lives, even if at a subconscious level, when the law is a rule agreed to by the consent of the governed, and when it is an upraised fist. The question in this election is whether they, the majority of citizens in this country, care, and whether they will act on that knowledge.

  15. Vger says:

    GOP is setting up HRC for impeachment as soon as she is in office. Comey caved to the pressure. The senate must be won.

    • dakinikat says:

      Exactly. This isn’t about saving Trump. It’s about saving Congressional seats down ballot. Dems have to win the senate back

    • Fannie says:

      Yea, I heard that was a so called slip of the tongue, but all Trump supporters are saying they are going to impeach her, and Trump going to put her in prison.

      I also heard too that Hillary’s supporters, are out pounding the ground.

  16. Ron4Hills says:

    I have a perverse hope that once Hills is POTUS that she will make Huma WH Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills AG, Susan Rice SOS, and appoint Loretta Lynch to the SCOTUS. As a matter of fact, if she appoints an all female cabinet, that would suit me fine.

  17. NW Luna says:

    Trump booted a black man from his event and called him a ‘thug.’ Turns out he is a supporter.

    Midway into his speech, the crowd suddenly grew restless, so Donald Trump paused. An increasing number of people began pointing at a person to Trump’s right. Soon, hundreds of people who had gathered for his Wednesday evening campaign rally in Kinston, North Carolina, were frantically waving their “Trump Pence” signs in that direction. Trump glanced at who his supporters were singling out: A black man wearing a suit jacket and sunglasses.

    “That’s all right, leave him alone,” Trump said, at first seemed dismissive of what he saw. He quickly pivoted. “We have a protester,” Trump declared. The crowd booed. “By the way, were you paid $1,500 to be a thug?” he said, seemingly addressing both the crowd and the person simultaneously. “Where’s the protester? Where is he? Was he paid?”

    http://www.seattlepi.com/politics/article/Trump-booted-a-black-man-from-his-event-and-10422513.php