Of all of Donald Trump’s various unhinged tweets about James Comey on Sunday, this one was probably the most mocked. It was certainly mentioned more than the ones where the President of the United States twice called for Comey to be jailed for 1) taking notes; and 2) saying things Trump believes are lies. That’s par for the course, now.
But it was the above tweet that caught most people’s attention, for how deeply removed from reality it was. It was in reference to this section of Comey’s book.
Comey worries that his belief that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election may have influenced how he handled the investigation of her email practices while secretary of state. “It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in the polls.”
The referent here is when the FBI opened up Anthony Weiner’s laptop (and I will never, ever get over the fact that this goddamn dummy’s gross horndogging had world-historic impact), and notified Congress that it was investigating more Hillary emails. Obviously, Congress leaked that to the press in less than 1/10th of a second, and that helped tank Hillary.
The fact that this was guaranteed to hurt her, and was completely pointless (why would there be incriminating emails on his laptop when there weren’t on anyone else’s?), is why Trump’s tweet was opened up to mockery. Hurting your boss seems a weird way to ask for a job.
But I think that actually makes a certain amount of sense. After all, Comey had over the summer of 2016 publically delivered a tongue-lashing to Clinton, altering the dynamics of the race. But she was still going to win, it seemed. And she had reason to be angry at him.
So how do you guarantee job security? You announce an investigation. You show that you aren’t kissing up to power. And you therefore make yourself unable to be fired. After all, Comey knew as well as anyone that the GOP was already gearing up to nullify the election with phony investigation after phony investigation. If Hillary dare fired the FBI director who had investigated her emails, well…let’s just say impeachment would have happened in a heartbeat.
I mean, you can see that, right? WHAT IS SHE HIDING headlines would be all across the every paper in the country. Maggie Haberman would write so many articles about “the appearance of smoke” that she’d spontaneously come down with the first case of above-ground miner’s lung. And while the howling on the right would be deafening, the mainstream media would be just as loud.
Comey knew all that. He was a canny Washington player, for as much as a sanctimoniously-smirking Boy Scout he is. I don’t actually think he was trying to throw the election to Trump. It isn’t just that the FBI was already investigating the campaign. It was clear to anyone that Trump was a deeply unqualified fool, and venal as he is stupid, and both immoral and morally compromised. I doubt that Comey actually wanted him to win.
But hey, if he did, Trump would owe him, right?
Of course, you can never bet against Trump doing the very worst thing, which in this case is exactly what Comey assumed Hillary wouldn’t do: risk an obstruction of justice case. So don’t feel too badly for Comey. Sure, he justified his actions with dewy blatherings about protecting the Presidency, but the truth is he played politics, looking out for himself, and paid the price. But we all payed a much steeper one.
I’m glad his book is getting bad reviews, and I’m glad that, for the most part, the real anti-Trumpers (as opposed to the clannish Green Room parasites) are treating Comey with the contempt he deserves. I’ll be very happy if he helps to end this nightmare, but it isn’t absolution. The long-term effects are far too great.
So yeah, at the end of day, I agree with Trump that for Comey, this was about a job. Of course, Trump is wrong in his reasoning. He thinks that Comey helped Hillary by not throwing her in jail, because Trump is unable to see that Comey helped him or that he hurt Hillary, because then he wouldn’t be able to see himself as both the world’s greatest conquering hero and the world’s most aggrieved victim. He’s wrong about everything, is what I’m saying.
But man, what dumb times. Comey made one of the biggest mistakes in history. He gambled with all our futures, and lost. Because of that, he will (or should) go down as one of the most consequential FBI heads in history, and not in a good way. That he might get rehabbed as a hero for saying that Donald Trump is a bad person, while getting rich for justifying all his actions, is a pretty good sign of our idiot times.