Bilateral Commentary

The Blurred Lines of James Comey

Author:  Dr. Anthony Bryson

What does it say about an investigation when the guy who is in charge of conducting said investigation is sacked by the guy who is being investigated?  Does that not require further investigation? 

So I was finishing up some work when a colleague phones me to tell me FBI Director James Comey was just sacked.  I thought he was kidding at first.  How could the Director of the FBI be fired when he is investigating the sitting President and his associates for improper connections to Russia?  How could this possibly happen, especially after all the questionable behaviors the FBI Director displayed during the presidential election?  It would take a guy with petty large coconuts to sack a guy investigating him, especially when public interest in the investigation is at a current apex.  But then I was reminded that Donald Trump was in the White House.  Everything made sense again.

The decision to sack Comey is not all that surprising.  Timing is.  This Presidential decision came based on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  Mr. Trump used a report drafted by Rosenstein as the main driver, pointing out that Comey’s behaviors during the election campaign were not consistent with protocols and standards the Department of Justice observed.  Well that is the understatement of the past six months!  Wasn’t that said numerous times during the election, when Comey would pop his head up like Puxatawney Phil, dump a bunch of erroneous information about on-going investigations, then disappear for another six weeks?  Why wasn’t that a fireable offense then, when the disclosures were happening, but it is now?

Back on the campaign trail it was Republicans who were heaping praise on Director Comey’s forthright comments about an on-going investigation.  It was the Republicans who were cheering on the leaks.  It was Democrats who were crying foul.  But the Democrats were silenced because (then) President Obama stated he did not want to do anything that may affect the outcome of the election.  Comey should have been sacked then, because he was directly influencing the election, especially with his 11th hour disclosure, but the President did not act.  It was unclear then, but in days that would follow that information would come to the surface.  As it would turn out, Director Comey would have more bombshell disclosures to make.  Disclosures that had he made during the campaign likely would have swayed votes as well. 

As it turned out, Hillary Clinton was not the only one under investigation at the time.  In a not so surprising revelation Donald Trump, and a number of his associates, were also under investigation for contacts with Russian interests.  This investigation went back into August of 2016.  So when Donald Trump was cheering on the Russians to find those emails from Crooked Hillary’s server, there was a lot more to the comments than met the eye?  Seems that is so.

So Comey makes his great disclosure about Clinton in the 11th hour, clearly affecting the outcome of the election result.  He chose to sit on the knowledge of the Trump investigation, even though Russian involvement in influencing the election was a big point of contention in the media.  What exactly does this say about the individual in question?  What does it say about his ethics?  I think there is very good reason to fire Director Comey, and he should have gone a while go.  But something is still rotten in the state of Denmark, or in this case, the District of Columbia.

Timing is everything, and the timing of this firing just wreaks of malfeasance.  Director Comey was behind the investigation into Donald Trump and his associates.  Comey was the driver to this.  His revelations the last two weeks, and the support from Sally Yates and James Clapper testimony to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, made it abundantly clear that there was more to the connections between Russia and Trump associates than the public was aware of.

Now it turns out that the Russia investigation was just starting to get interesting.  According to the New York Times, Director Comey had just requested for more resources to aid in the investigation.  Comey asked for those resources from one Rod Rosenstein, the man who would ultimately draft the memo demanding Comey’s termination.  Comey was actually quite frustrated with the pace of the investigation and was asking for assistance to expedite the process.  The person he would have to get that assistance from was a Trump appointee, someone who was thrust into the leadership role with the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who just happens to be Rosenstein’s boss.

This is a very bizarre happening.  It just wreaks of impropriety.  If our democracy and our election was influenced by a foreign interest, we need to know.  If the guy sitting in the Oval Office got there because of Russian interference, we need to know that.  If that guy, making the ultimate decisions for the United States of America is compromised in any shape or form, and those who are his closest and influential advisors, we need to know and remove those people from office.  This is not about partisan politics, this is about maintaining the integrity of our democracy and the sovereignty of our country.  There’s a lot more to be written on this, especially about the connections between Trump and foreign interests, and that will come.  If someone is being influenced by a foreign interest, we need to know.  In the light of the dismissal of the Director of the FBI, and the behaviors of the Attorney General and his Deputy, this demands an independent Special Prosecutor and this to become priority one for this government.

Dr. Bryson is an adjunct faculty member at Fielding Graduate University, teaching classes in media and political psychologies.  He is the author of the book, The Trump Card: The Long Game of Discrediting Media and Influencing Elections.