xFormer FBI Director James Comey took a victory lap in the pages of The Washington Post after he and the other senior FBI officials involved in launching the initial investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian election interference were exonerated by the Justice Department inspector general’s 434-page report on his probe of the bureau’s conduct during the probe.
In an op-ed entitled “James Comey: The truth is finally out. The FBI fulfilled its mission,” the famously fired FBI chief crowed over his ability to tell the world that Donald Trump’s baseless allegations of a “deep state” conspiracy — accusations that the president said amounted to “treason” — were “nonsense.”
You can practically hear the relief in Comey’s words as he writes:
“Although it took two years, the truth is finally out.”
After detailing the substance of the FBI’s decision to begin an investigation into the Trump campaign and the subsequent actions the bureau took, Comey takes pleasure in reiterating Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s primary conclusion that:
“Horowitz’s report found that the investigation was opened and conducted under the rules, finding no ‘evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced [the] decision’ to start it or how to run it. Those of us who knew that truth had to remain silent while a torrent of smears and falsehoods flowed from the White House, from some congressional committee chairmen, the attorney general and Fox News personalities. The FBI’s work was perceived as a threat to the president, and many Republicans apparently believe that all threats to Trump must be destroyed, no matter the cost to the nation.”
Comey also revealed for the first time a glimpse of the personal toll taken by Trump’s false accusations against him.
“The painful part is that millions of good people believed what they heard. My 89-year-old mother-in-law, watching Fox News in her Iowa assisted-living facility, became convinced that I was going to jail. I repeatedly assured her that there was a zero percent chance of that. ‘It’s all made up,’ I would tell her. But I couldn’t say that publicly because the investigation wasn’t done yet. Like the others accused of treason by the president, I respected the process and cooperated with the inspector general.”
While respecting the process and cooperating with investigations may be an utterly alien concept to Donald Trump, such a response is baked into Comey’s very being as a long-serving, straight-shooting law enforcement official.
As such, he rightfully tears into Attorney General William Barr for failing to apologize to the FBI for the false allegations and for continuing to support the president’s conspiracy theories rather than provide the American people with an acknowledgment of the truth.
“As the leader of an institution that is supposed to be devoted to truth, Barr needs to stop acting like a Trump spokesperson. In the words of the nation’s Founders, the Justice Department’s inspector general has ‘Let Facts be submitted to a candid world.’ The FBI fulfilled its mission — protecting the American people and upholding the U.S. Constitution. Now those who attacked the FBI for two years should admit they were wrong,” Comey concludes his op-ed.
Comey was even more bluntly critical in the Twitter post that he made linking to his editorial with a brief summary of the exonerating report’s findings.
So it was all lies. No treason. No spying on the campaign. No tapping Trumps wires. It was just good people trying to protect America. https://t.co/9nurCaIBq2
— James Comey (@Comey) December 9, 2019
While the former FBI director likely reached his intended audience of Washington DC luminaries with his Washington Post op-ed, it looks like Comey won’t get the chance to spread his message of vindication to the viewers of Fox News. While he had been booked to appear on the president’s favorite cable news network tomorrow morning, Comey tweeted out that he had been disinvited after the inspector general’s report was published and it contradicted Trump’s narrative.
FYI: I offered to go on Fox & Friends to answer all questions. I can’t change their viewers on Donald Trump but hoped to give them some actual facts about the FBI. They booked me for tomorrow at 8 am. They just cancelled. Must have read the report.
— James Comey (@Comey) December 9, 2019
Hopefully, Comey now realizes that “actual facts” are anathema to Fox News and its viewers who apparently mostly rely on conspiracy theories and faith-based beliefs rather than concrete reality to form their opinions.
While Comey can go to bed tonight and sleep well with the knowledge that his reputation as an honest broker is intact, Donald Trump will likely toss and turn in fitful paranoia as his lies are exposed and his defensive excuses are smashed to bits.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.