FBI’s James Comey caught in the middle

FBI director James Comey

During the 2016 election campaign, Bill Clinton had a long conversation with FBI director James Comey’s boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch.   Later Hillary Clinton said that, if elected, she would re-appoint Lynch.

All this immediately cast suspicion on the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified e-mails.    Usually, when the FBI is conducting an investigation, its spokesmen say nothing until the investigation is completed, and charges are filed, or not filed.

Comey’s comments about Clinton when the FBI decided not to file charges, and his further comments, may have been an attempt to show he wasn’t a tool of Lynch or the Clintons.  His motives are unknowable, of course, but that is my guess.

It didn’t work.  Clinton supporters were engaged by his comments, but Trump supporters also were enraged because he didn’t charge Clinton with anything.

His disclosure that the FBI is investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence may mean as little as his disclosure of the investigation of Clinton’s e-mails.    The mere fact of an investigation proves nothing.   There’s no way to know until the investigation is over.


All the articles I’ve read about the investigation of Trump-Russia connections contain a paragraph saying that there is no evidence of illegal collusion concerning the 2016 election, such as a promise of easing sanctions in return for secret intelligence on Clinton.

Democrats have been warned that it’s very possible no such evidence exists.  But I was mistaken when I wrote on Sunday that they would ease off on their allegations.  Instead they’re doubling down.

They may create a cloud of doubt over the Trump administration, as Senator Joe McCarthy did over the Truman administration with charges of Communist infiltration, even though McCarthy never produced any hard evidence of anything either.

It is ironic that Trump, whose early mentor was McCarthy’s chief aide, Roy Cohn, would be caught in such a situation.   In a way, it is poetic justice, but it is not actual justice.


I can’t predict what the FBI investigation or the congressional investigation will uncover.  The investigations may well turn up valuable information even if they don’t prove Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense.  We the people would do well to reserve judgement until and if they do.

A successful impeachment of Donald Trump would not be the best thing for Democrats politically.  It would leave Mike Pence as President.   Pence is a mature adult who, unlike Trump, would not be a national embarrassment.

But for that very reason, he would be more effective in supporting the status quo of perpetual war and impunity for Wall Street and in rolling back historic civil rights for women and minorities.


James Comey’s Remarkable Five Hours on Capitol Hill by John Cassidy for The New Yorker.

The Trump-Russia Story Has Only Just Begin (To Explode) by Howard Fineman for The Huffington Post.   Interesting on the political implications, but it assumes too much.  If you read this, please read the Robert Parry article as well.

The Missing Logic of Russia-gate by Robert Parry for Consortiumnews.

It is Comey who should be investigated by Juan Cole for Informed Comment.

Recommended Reading: Giant Russia Theory Edition by Nina Illingworth for Nina Illingworth Dot Com.   [Added 3/31/2017]   A definitive collection of links on reasons to be skeptical of claims that Russia “hacked” the 2016 election.

Photo via Common Dreams.

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