Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, after then-FBI director James Comey announced that he was "reopening" the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, I suggested that if I were President Obama, I would be firing Comey on the morning of November 9 (the day after the election) for an egregious violation of the FBI's policy of noninterference with elections.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
His judgment Comeyth, and that right soon
Such a firing would have been fully justified under the circumstances.
Given the narrow margins that allowed Buffoon* to slip in with an Electoral College majority despite a wide popular-vote victory for Clinton, it is easy to see how Comey's interference in the election turned the tide. That's not to say there weren't other factors, of course.
* - For the record, I have decided to refuse to use the name of the current occupant of the White House, and instead refer to him by the word that most aptly describes him, "Buffoon."
Comey's unprecedented and unnecessary public comments in July and October were designed to cause damage to Clinton without charging her with a crime for which he knew no conviction was possible. That he did not instinctually understand why an independent FBI cannot interfere with the electoral process illustrates why he made a poor director of that agency.
Obama decided not to fire him, and Buffoon kept him on with a public vote of confidence shortly after the inauguration.
There remain substantial questions about the interference of Russian agents in the election, as well as possible coordination between members of the Buffoon campaign (if not Buffoon himself) with those agents. Buffoon's business dealings with and potential indebtedness to Russian interests remain fully opaque because we lack an effective mechanism to force a presidential candidate to disclose such information. One might look to the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution as providing that authority, but it requires some organ of the government, probably either the Justice Department or a Congressional committee, to investigate that sort of thing.
Investigations are proceeding with all deliberate speed--to quote Chief Justice Warren--which is to say that they are moving slowly. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees each have a pending investigation, and the Justice Department began an investigation as well, shortly after Buffoon took office.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the investigation, however, because it turned out that he bald-faced lied during his confirmation hearing when Senator Al Franken asked him if he'd had contact with Russian officials during the campaign.** He said no, but he met at least twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign. Normally, lying under oath would be grounds for discharge from the position as well as potential disbarment as an attorney. (On that latter point, several grievances have been filed with the Alabama Bar, where Sessions has his license, but that's a process that takes a lot of time, and I don't have a lot of confidence in the Alabama Bar to act in the public interest on this one.)
** - Neo-Confederate Sessions was an early supporter of Buffoon and was deeply involved in the Buffoon campaign. I suspect he was attracted to Buffoon because of the tacit promise to "make America white again."
So Buffoon turned to Comey, the FBI director, to head up the investigation.
There has been no suggestion that Comey's handling of the investigation was anything but above-board. In fact, all indications are that Comey's efforts have been aimed at ferreting out the truth, wherever the trail might lead, and whatever that truth might be. For example, Comey refused to confirm Buffoon's ridiculous allegation that Obama had ordered the "wires tapped" in Buffoon Tower.
Whatever Comey's transgressions were with respect to the election, it appeared that he was handling this investigation as an independent investigator would.
And then he was fired, so abruptly that he found out about it while watching television.
I have said several times, in different ways, that Buffoon is not a smart person, but a caricature of what a stupid person thinks a smart person is. Buffoon was no great shakes academically. He was handed a small fortune and turned it into something less than a large fortune (simply investing in an index fund would have produced a much better return). His grammar and spelling are atrocious. He has difficulty speaking in complete sentences. He's mercurial, brash, and uncouth.
But for many people, wealth is a close proxy for merit. That is, if you have money, you must have something special in you that entitled you to that wealth.
The problem with thinking that way is that a lot of people who have a lot of money were born on third base. They didn't do anything to get there--they didn't hit a triple. There are brilliant billionaires, but for every Bill Gates or Warren Buffet that built their fortunes on intelligence and innovation, there's an Alice Walton or Jacqueline Mars whose fortunes came from inertia. Buffoon plainly falls into the latter category.
And as a result of that, he will be easily outsmarted by the smartest guys in the room. His many failed business dealings are proof of that.
Buffoon reportedly thought that he would have broad bipartisan support for firing Comey. After all, Democrats are carrying a grudge with him, and enough of the GOP will usually fall lockstep behind Buffoon, such that Buffoon thought he could easily get away with it.
He didn't count on the Democrats (and some Republicans) seeing through the charade. Sure, we have a beef with Comey about the election. But we strongly suspect there's something deeper going on. Whatever problems we might have with Comey, he was at least in position to investigate, and he was showing signs that he would not stop until the truth was out.
It doesn't take much to see that Buffoon saw Comey on the same trail, and he panicked.
And that's how we know where the trail leads. Whatever Buffoon's ties to Russia might be, and no matter how opaque they are to the general public, Buffoon knows. And he just told us all that when the truth is out, he's not going to look very good.
Where do we go from here? The next step in this investigation needs to be the appointment of a special prosecutor--someone with the authority, independence, and motivation needed to get to the bottom of this. We get that by gumming up the works. Democrats lack control over any branch of the government, but with the assistance of the handful of principled Senate Republicans who are rightly alarmed by this development, we can make the business of the Senate very slow and painful for everyone. This will put pressure on Buffoon to name a real special prosecutor and to grant him or her the authority to follow the trail, wherever it leads.
If he has nothing to hide, he will welcome an independent review.
I'm not holding my breath. But we can force this to happen.