Growing up in suburban Washington, D.C., during the 1950s and early ’60s, my family would often drive into our nation’s magnificent, shining, marble-hewn capital city, where my dad worked as an aeronautical engineer for the Defense Department, and we’d visit all the storied monuments and federal edifices from the White House to the Capitol to the FBI’s headquarters. Even while in elementary school, I remember reading little biographical books about the exploits of the FBI and Secret Service.
These people were my heroes.
That’s why it caused me such profound sadness to watch former FBI director James Comey bragging publicly – to gales of audience laughter – about how he tricked, entrapped and ultimately ruined the life of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a 33-year military veteran, former Defense Intelligence Agency director and, briefly, a Trump adviser.
For a moment, put aside all the other moving parts of the Flynn story, including most recently the beyond-bizarre sentencing hearing before Judge Emmet Sullivan. Let’s just zoom in on one thing – Comey’s comments in his MSNBC interview with Nicole Wallace – because they reveal a whole dimension of the never-ending Mueller drama that is normally hidden from view.
Comey was interviewed in front of a live audience. You can see the relevant excerpts by watching the first 30 seconds of this video.
The fired ex-FBI director openly boasted about how, in January 2017, he took advantage of the brand-new, still-forming Trump administration and intentionally violated all the usual standards and protocols in arranging an ambush meeting by two FBI agents of a too-trusting Gen. Flynn. Then-FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe played his part in setting-up Flynn by phoning the general, all buddy-buddy, and explicitly advising him not to bother bringing an attorney. As everyone now knows, Flynn followed this malevolently misleading “advice,” which has led directly to his personal, professional and financial destruction.
Even though, by all accounts, the two FBI agents interviewing Flynn at the White House did not believe he had lied, Mueller ultimately decided to put the big squeeze on Flynn – in an effort to get to his real target, President Donald Trump – as he has done with so many other people whose broken lives are now casualties of the ever-metastasizing investigation.
During the MSNBC interview, Wallace, wondering aloud how on earth FBI agents could just stroll into the White House and grill a senior staffer there, asks Comey: “It’s hard to imagine two FBI agents ending up in the State Room. How did that happen?”
Responds Comey: “I sent them. Something we’ve, I probably wouldn’t have done or maybe gotten away with in a more organized investigation, a more organized administration, in the George W. Bush administration … or the Obama administration, two men that all of us, perhaps, have increased appreciation for over the last two years. In both of those administrations there was process.”
As Comey details the normal White House “process,” he revels in his own deviousness: “So, if the FBI wanted to send agents into the White House itself to interview a senior official, you would work through the White House counsel and there would be discussions and approvals and it would be there.” However, he added impishly, “I thought, ‘It’s early enough, let’s just send a couple of guys over.'”
How did the live audience respond to Comey’s startling admissions?
“The audience was audibly thrilled by his cleverness in keeping Flynn unrepresented by legal counsel and unaware of the true nature of the meeting,” comments George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley.
All of this, of course, to advance the relentless campaign to portray Donald Trump as some sort of traitorous Russian super-spy who conspired with Vladimir Putin to steal the presidency from its rightful heir, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 election. In reality, this is another case of the left’s signature modus operandi of projection – literally, accusing others of the evil you yourself do. As many Americans now know, it was the 2016 Clinton campaign that not only colluded with, but paid big money to, Russians – for researching and producing the infamous “Steele” dossier for the singular purpose of influencing the outcome of the presidential election.
There are a few rare occasions in this life when powerful, protected people at the top echelon of our ruling class inadvertently expose themselves, revealing what they’re really made of. Hillary Clinton did this in her infamous “deplorables” statement, in which she publicly branded half of Donald Trump’s voters as “deplorable” and “irredeemable.” She was literally announcing, with cameras rolling, that a large segment of Americans – we’re talking tens of millions of decent, hardworking, taxpaying, law-abiding citizens – are worthless and “irredeemable” human beings, people for whom there is no hope.
Many people saw that as the moment Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election.
Likewise, in a slightly less dramatic but still highly revealing manner, Comey unmasked who he really is when he not only admitted deviously tricking Flynn, but basked in the afterglow of the dirty deed. That kind of narcissism, smugness and sanctimony (Comey’s Trump-bashing book is titled “A Higher Loyalty”), which Rep. Trey Gowdy calls Comey’s “incredible hubris,” was revealed to a nation already reeling from the stench of the D.C. swamp – and probably happier than ever to have elected Trump, who may just be the only person with a chance of accomplishing the impossible and draining it.
In the meantime, how do you describe the destruction of a 33-year military veteran and patriot by people like this? It’s way beyond sad. Law professor Turley, himself a liberal, nevertheless described the treatment of Flynn this way: “It became a canned hunt. They put this guy in a cage, and they shot him.”