Saturday, March 11, 2017

The power of the FBI and James Comey

Let's just assume that FBI director James Comey did exactly what he wanted to do when he discussed publicly an ongoing investigation in July, and when he again raised the issue two weeks before the election and then two days before.  Let's just assume that this highly regarded University of Chicago Law School graduate, former Deputy Attorney General, former general counsel of Lockheed Martin, was not fumbling around mistakenly breaking longstanding precedents at the FBI.  If that obvious assumption could be made, a significant amount of newsprint and television time would have been put to better use.

His actions directly contributed to the election of Trump.  His background could suggest that he did so more out of a dislike of the policy history of Hillary Clinton than due to a positive opinion of Trump.  Comey's college thesis at William and Mary was a comparison of the German theologian Reinhold Neibuhr and the Lynchburg, VA evangelist Jerry Falwell whose racist rants could be watched on television in that part of Virginia in the 1950's and 1960's.  Only a 22 year old college student could imagine such a pairing, but the elevation of Falwell to that status suggests that Comey's background is one of flirting with the far right on many issues.

People change.  Falwell became famous, tempered his language, and his endorsement was sought by Presidents.  Comey followed his successful path and is now head of one of the most powerful law enforcement agencies in the world.

Comey apparently views himself as independent, and he is characterized by those who know him as someone with great confidence in himself, ambition, and a drive to succeed.  It is entirely possible, even likely, that Comey and Comey alone decided to act in the way he did related to Clinton's e-mails based on his beliefs.

An interesting thought is that he may not be a person who can be controlled by the Trump, Bannon, and Sessions.  With the many obvious conflicts of interest that Trump's business empire represents, the refusal to provide basic tax information, plus the knee jerk decision making by Trump, is it possible that Comey will stand up to Trump at some point and investigate the President.  There will be multiple opportunities to do so.  A big attention getting opportunity could present itself and Comey could take action.  That is not necessarily a positive comment about the personality or character of Comey but, contrary to what some may say, he seems to enjoy being in the spotlight.

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