Former FBI Director James Comey – fresh off an ABC News interview during which he declared Donald Trump “morally unfit” to serve as president – is now apparently seeking to make amends with former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, hoping she will read his new book and see him as “an honest idiot.”
Comey discussed the situation just before the 2016 election when he announced the FBI would reopen the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
“It was just a series of no-win decisions,” the former FBI director told USA Today in an interview published Monday, “and so, ‘which would be the least-bad decision?’ is constantly what we’re thinking in the book.”
Comey continued: “I even hope that Hillary Clinton at least reads those parts of the book, because she will walk away saying, ‘You know what? I still think that guy is an idiot, but, you know, he’s kind of an honest idiot. He’s trying to do the right thing here and I kind of get actually what he was faced with.'”
During the ABC interview, Comey’s wife, Patrice, even reveals: “I wanted a woman president really badly, and I supported Hillary Clinton. A lot of my friends worked for her. And I was devastated when she lost.”
Comey spent a large part of the ABC interview criticizing President Trump, saying he’s a liar and a crime boss, disparaging his physical appearance and even calling the president a “forest fire.” He even went so far as to say “it’s possible” Russia has compromising information on the president.
Comey family wanted Hillary as ‘1st woman president’
In fact, most of the Comey family apparently wanted Clinton to win, including most of his kids, who protested at the Women’s March after President Trump’s election.
“My wife and girls marched in the Women’s March the day after President Trump’s inauguration,” Comey said. “At least my four daughters – probably all five of my kids – wanted Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president. I know my amazing spouse did.”
As WND has reported, Comey made Clinton’s long list of people she blamed for her election loss. Other names on her list include Bernie Sanders, former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, the media, the New York Times specifically, former NBC host Matt Lauer, ‘Russian agents,’ Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Democratic National Committee, GOP donor Rebekah Mercer and America’s ‘sexism,’ ‘misogyny’ and naivete.
However, Clinton pegged Comey as the person who bears the most blame for her failed presidential campaign. She claimed he “shivved” her, tarnishing her image as a seasoned leader and portraying her as having a scandal-plagued history.
“Comey’s letter [to Congress announcing the reopening of the probe] turned that picture upside down,” she wrote in her recently published book, “What Happened.”
Clinton said she wanted to “hit back hard” at Comey for calling her “extremely careless” for her illegally using a private server, but she acquiesced to her campaign aides who advised against it.
“My first instinct was that my campaign should hit back hard and explain to the public that Comey had badly overstepped his bounds – the same argument [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein would make months after the election,” Clinton wrote. “That might have blunted the political damage and made Comey think twice before breaking protocol again a few months later. My team raised concerns with that kind of confrontational approach.
“In the end, we decided it would be better to just let it go and try to move on. Looking back, that was a mistake.”
Comey admits: ‘I was operating in world where Clinton was going to beat Trump’
During his Sunday interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Comey said he had believed Clinton would win the election against Trump.
Stephanopoulos asked him: “Wasn’t the decision to reveal influenced by your assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to win, and your concern that, she wins, this comes out several weeks later and then that’s taken by her opponents as a sign that she’s an illegitimate president?”
Comey replied: “It must have been. I don’t remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been. I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. I’m sure that it was a factor. I don’t remember spelling it out, but it had to have been. That she’s going to be elected president, and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out.”
In response to the Comey interview, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway ripped into the former FBI director, accusing him of trying to make himself the center of attention with his book and interviews.
“Jim Comey loves to be in the center of power,” she said. “He loves to divert the spotlight to himself and be in the center of power. … I saw a man last night very shay and unsure to answer questions, not even under oath, but when Comey was under oath, he had a very difficult time telling the truth. …
“He also admitted that he, as FBI director, injected partisan politics. And his belief that the person who lost the election should’ve won, that he believed that she would win – he was operating under that premise. He also had people in his own household who wanted her to win. And then he tells George Stephanopoulos he didn’t vote. … Last night, he tells George Stephanopoulos, ‘I didn’t vote because the FBI director should be independent.’ … That’s so ridiculous. He didn’t vote because he felt Hillary Clinton was going to win and [she] didn’t need his help.”
Even Comey admitted he has “struggled” with his “ego and – and a sense that I – I have to be careful not to fall in love with my own view of things.”
“[M]y rap on myself is that ego focus,” Comey explained to Stephanopoulos. “Since I was a kid, I’ve had a sense of confidence, that I know I’m good at certain things. And there’s a danger that will bleed over into pride, into not being open minded to the fact that I could be wrong and other people could have a better view of it.”
He said he never believed he would author a memoir because it “always felt like an exercise in ego.”
Loretta Lynch vs. James Comey and the Clinton ‘matter’
Comey also said he gave in when then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch insisted he use the term “matter” instead of “investigation” when making public statements about the email investigation:
STEPHANOPOULOS: She– but– she agreed. But you write that she didn’t want to call it an investigation?
COMEY: That’s right. She agreed Loretta Lynch I had a great relationship with and still have a lot of respect for. And she said, “I agree. But call it a matter.” And I said, “Why would I do that?” And she said, “Just call it a matter.” And I didn’t know exactly why she was doing that, but I decided in that moment that the whole world would miss the distinction between investigation and matter. And so I dropped it at that point. At my press event, I said – used the term matter, and I was right, the press missed it and said we’d confirmed an investigation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you think she was doing that to protect Hillary Clinton?
COMEY: I didn’t know. It worried me. It gave me an uncomfortable feeling because the Clinton campaign, since the matter had come in, the investigation had started in July, had been trying to come up with other words to describe it. They had used “review,” I think, “security referral,” things like that. And it did worry me that the attorney general’s direction was tracking that effort to avoid using the word “investigation.” And so, to be honest, it gave me a bad feeling. And maybe I should’ve pushed harder in the moment.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, did you push her on it?
COMEY: I didn’t because I’ve known Loretta for a long time. We worked a case together in the early 1990s. And she’s a very smart person. And if she’d had a reason that I couldn’t see in Justice Department policy or something, she would’ve given it to me. But her answer, “Just do it,” told me this is an order from the attorney general. So it’s not improper, it’s a little bit off axis from the actual facts. But people are going to miss the distinction. And so I’m not going to fight this new attorney general. This is not going to be our first battle.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You think you should have?
COMEY: Yeah, I probably should have. Given that I respect Loretta, I probably should’ve pushed harder in the moment.
In response to Comey’s interview, former Attorney General Loreatta Lynch released the following statement Sunday:
Over almost two decades as a federal prosecutor I have aggressively prosecuted drug dealers, violent gangs, mobsters, and money launderers, upheld the civil rights of all Americans, and fought corruption of all types – whether by elected officials from both sides of the aisle or within organizations like FIFA. Through it all I have never hesitated to make the hard decisions, guided by the Department of Justice’s core principles of integrity, independence and above all, always doing the right thing.
The Justice Department’s handling of the Clinton email investigation under my leadership was no exception. It was led by a team of non-partisan career prosecutors whose integrity cannot be overstated and whom I trust to assess the facts and make a recommendation – one that I ultimately accepted because I thought the evidence and law warranted it.
Everyone who works for the Department of Justice has an obligation to protect the confidentiality and integrity of the work of the Department. That is why, at the critical early stages of this case, I followed the Department’s longstanding policy of neither confirming nor denying the fact of an ongoing investigation. This policy both predates my tenure in the Department and will live in long after the current debate is over. It neither misleads nor misinforms, but instead both protects investigations and guarantees equal treatment of those under scrutiny, whether well-known or unknown. Any suggestion that I invoked this bedrock policy for any other reason is simply false.
Concerning the Comey-Lynch developments, President Trump tweeted Sunday: “Comey throws AG Lynch ‘under the bus!’ Why can’t we all find out what happened on the tarmac in the back of the plane with Wild Bill [Clinton] and Lynch? Was she promised a Supreme Court seat, or AG, in order to lay off Hillary. No golf and grandkids talk (give us all a break)!”
Comey throws AG Lynch “under the bus!” Why can’t we all find out what happened on the tarmac in the back of the plane with Wild Bill and Lynch? Was she promised a Supreme Court seat, or AG, in order to lay off Hillary. No golf and grandkids talk (give us all a break)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
Did Comey lie about the anti-Trump dossier?
During his interview with ABC, Comey claimed the FBI didn’t know about the anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele until after the bureau had launched its investigation into Trump campaign officials, which began on July 31, 2016.
However, it appears Comey’s claim is incorrect. As WND reported, Steele said the dossier was given to the FBI “near the start of July.” And Steele reportedly met with an FBI agent on July 5, 2016.
Steele had been hired by the Washington-based intelligence firm Fusion GPS, which funded Steele’s research with cash from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Comey himself admitted to Congress that the allegations in the dossier were “salacious and unverified.”
“Did [the dossier] trigger the FBI investigation in any way?” Stephanopoulos asked Comey during the interview.
“No,” Comey said. “No, in fact, as I said, the information that triggered it was the [former Trump campaign adviser George] Papadopoulos information that came in late July. The FBI didn’t get any information that’s part of the so-called Steele dossier, as I understand it, until after that.”
Comey also admitted he still isn’t sure if the dossier is credible.
“Has it checked out? Is it a credible document?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“The answer is, I don’t know,” Comey replied.
During his Monday show, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh chimed in on the dossier issue.
“Every investigator knew that this dossier was a fraudulent, fake bunch of crap,” Limbaugh said.
‘Shaking their heads’: FBI vets concerned about Comey
Meanwhile, veteran members of the FBI told the Daily Caller they are concerned about Comey’s decision to go public in an ABC News interview.
Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI, told the Daily Caller Monday: “I’m troubled by the timing of the book and some of the content that has been reported because I think it diminishes him.”
Hosko told the news site he’s particularly concerned about Comey’s criticism of President Trump’s tie length, hand size and possible use of tanning goggles.
“To me that kind of salacious commentary diminishes Jim Comey, raises more questions about his true desire here,” he said, noting that Comey is a “carrier of the FBI brand.”
“Director [Christopher] Wray would rather be answering questions on the FBI’s current work, its mission, priorities, and challenges rather than having this cloud on his horizon, questions about Jim Comey,” Hosko explained, adding that Comey’s apparent dislike of the president could fuel claims that a “deep state” is seeking to undermine the president.
The Daily Caller also spoke to Robert Anderson, former executive assistant director of the FBI. Anderson told the site that he thinks Comey is a “good man” and that he “loved working for him” but it’s worrisome that Comey would discuss an ongoing investigation.
“Usually you don’t have anybody in the FBI talking about ongoing investigations,” Anderson told the Daily Caller, adding, “if Jim says something in one interview, then says something in his book that’s different, then gives a different version of it in another interview, and they use him as a witness, which I’m sure they will, then that could become a problem” for the probe into alleged collusion with Russia.
Anderson said, “[T]the biggest thing that bothers me about the interview itself is that Jim is talking about some of the issues he discussed with the president in confidence. That’s a little shocking … that the former head of the FBI would do that.”
Daily Caller White House correspondent Saagar Enjeti tweeted Monday: “25-year FBI veteran Jack Garcia tells me it was ‘insane’ for Comey to speculate on whether Russia has damaging information on Trump and that ‘opinions are like assh–es, everybody has one. FBI agents are ‘shaking their heads’ after the interview, he said.”
During his Monday show, Limbaugh concurred: “Comey has essentially published a 300-page dossier on an ongoing investigation. There is an ongoing investigation.
“Whether it’s bogus or not, it is ongoing, and Comey has just vomited all over it by revealing a bunch of it. Much of this is in violation of Justice Department and FBI guidelines. …
“I think [Comey] believes that the American people look at him as a singular hero on a mission to save the nation and the Constitution from Donald Trump, and I think he believes that everyone looks at him that way. … [H]e thinks the vast majority of the American people are very appreciative of what he’s doing, that they understand his supreme intellect. I think he’s bought hook, line, and sinker into it. And when that happens to you, you automatically block reality. …
“You make the mistake of assuming it’s representative of a vast majority of people either in your town, at your office or in your country. That’s where Comey is right now. He’s going to be shocked at some point to find out just how unimportant a whole bunch of people end up thinking he is.”