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Jumpin’ Jim Flash
Yesterday the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General released its long awaited report on certain elements of James Comey’s misconduct as Director of the FBI. Contrary to his assurance to President Trump — an assurance that projected something of his essence — the report demonstrates that Comey is a weasel (and worse). He is also (again to borrow the words of his own denial to Trump) a sneak, a leaker, and a liar (and worse), but these are venial sins in the panoply of Comey’s misconduct. There is no substitute for reading the report. I have posted it below via Scribd.
Byron York elaborates on one particularly disgusting thread of the report in his Washington Examiner column “New report details Comey plan to ambush Trump with Moscow sex allegation.” Having assured then candidate Trump that he was not under investigation, Comey sought to elicit incriminating statements from Trump in connection with the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that the FBI dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane.” President Trump was its target and victim.
We await the proper identification of the operation’s true Jack Flash.
In her Wall Street Journal column, Kim Strassel draws on the report for a portrait of “Sneaky, Leaky James Comey.” Asked by the Inspector General how a memo detailing an official dinner between an FBI head and the President of the United States could ever be “personal,” as Comey asserted, Comey explained that he was also there in the capacity of…”human being.” Perhaps a depraved human being.
Of all the tall tales James Comey has told, none compare to the line he fed President Trump at their infamous January 2017 dinner. As recounted in the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director’s memo about that evening, “I said I don’t do sneaky things, I don’t leak, I don’t do weasel moves.”
The Justice Department’s inspector general begs to differ. In a new report about Mr. Comey’s handling of those memos, Michael Horowitz demonstrates that Mr. Comey in 2017 was consistently leaky and sneaky. The report refutes any claim that the then-director was justified in taking these actions. He repeatedly, and knowingly, broke the rules.
For more than two years, we’ve heard Mr. Comey’s characterization of his actions, popularized by an adoring media: He felt compelled to memorialize his private discussions with the president, to protect the FBI. He had no choice but to use an intermediary to leak memo contents, to save the nation by forcing the appointment of a special counsel. He was entitled to do so because the memos were his personal papers, and by that time he was a “private citizen.”
The inspector general calmly and coolly dismantles these claims. There’s good reason to suspect Mr. Trump was the focus of the bureau’s counterintelligence probe from the start, since that is the only way to explain the FBI’s outrageous decision to hide the probe from the president. The inspector general reports that Mr. Comey’s first briefing of the president-elect, on Jan. 6, 2017, was partly done in the hope that “Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to,” that probe. That may be the real reason everyone on the FBI leadership team agreed “ahead of time that Comey should memorialize” what happened.
Mr. Horowitz’s report methodically skewers Mr. Comey’s claim that his memos were “personal” and therefore his to keep and use. It notes that he interacted with Mr. Trump only in his capacity as the FBI director, in official settings. He shared the memos with senior FBI leaders. Some memos touch on official investigations, while others contain classified information, which “is never considered personal property.” The report makes clear Mr. Comey knew his claim that the memos were personal was a sham. That characterization, Mr. Horowitz writes, is “wholly incompatible with the plain language of the statutes, regulations, and policies defining Federal records.”
Mr. Comey’s attempt to dig himself out of his disingenuous characterization heightens its absurdity. Asked by the inspector general how a memo describing an official dinner between the FBI director and the president could be considered a “personal” document, Mr. Comey explains that he was also present in his capacity as a “human being.”
Anyone in Mr. Comey’s position would know that the memos were FBI documents and that he had no right to keep them after Mr. Trump fired him. He nonetheless gave them to his attorneys, and scanned and emailed the sensitive information on unsecure equipment. (This is the man who called Hillary Clinton ’s handling of official secrets “extremely careless.”) The inspector general found it “particularly concerning” that Mr. Comey didn’t tell the FBI he’d retained copies, even when bureau officials came to his home to inventory and remove FBI property.
Comey was one creepy cop. If he took the Steele Dossier at face value despite the FBI’s inability to verify any assertion of relevance in it — if he thought that Christopher Steele picked up the phone and got the lowdown from the friends of Vladimir Putin, as the dossier purports to have done — he is also an idiot, but I doubt that he is an idiot. Rather, he is the very bad man whose portrait is sketched in the Inspector General report.