Why James Comey should have been fired

The stated reason for President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is that Comey bungled the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton.

This is true.  Comey did bungle the investigation.

Comey’s FBI also is investigating possible Trump-Russia ties, and his firing smacks of President Nixon’s Saturday night massacre during the Watergate investigation.

James Comey

But the thing is, Comey is just as unfit as Trump says he is.

Trump said he acted on the recommendations of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  Rosenstein said Comey acted improperly last July by announcing the FBI had decided Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be prosecuted for having classified information on her private e-mail server.  Sessions said he agreed with Rosenstein.

Comey’s troubles began last June when ex-President Bill Clinton and Attorney-General Loretta Lynch spent an hour in conversation at an Arizona airport.   They were suspected of discussing the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, especially when Hillary Clinton, a short time later, said that, if elected, she would reappoint Lynch.

Soon thereafter Lynch said she would abide by the recommendations of the FBI and federal prosecutors, no matter what they were.   Comey evidently took this as a green light to announce the results of his investigation, which was a departure from standard FBI practice.

His worse blunder came shortly before the election when he reported he had discovered new Clinton e-mails on the server of her aide, Huma Abedin.  Although he later said this didn’t amount to anything, the negative publicity may have been a deciding factor in the election.

I suspect that Comey was one of those who thought Hillary Clinton’s election was inevitable, and that he wanted to absolve himself of any suspicion of favoring Clinton.

At the same time, he may not have wanted to take responsibility for torpedoing the Clinton candidacy over charges that were not clear-cut.  Then, too, lower-level FBI officials were leaking information about the investigation to the press,  and he may have wanted to get his own version of the facts on record.

I don’t know Comey’s motive, but these are thoughts that would have crossed my mind had I been in his place.  But the result was that, in his effort to seem fair and objective, he became more and more deeply involved.

Comey made a further blunder last week when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Abedin had shared “hundreds” or “thousands” of Clinton e-mails with her husband, Anthony Weiner, so that he could print them out.  The correct number was 12.

This goes to show that Comey, whether or not he has good intentions, is unable to handle a delicate politically charged matter such as the Trump-Russia investigation.

As to the investigation itself, I don’t think the Trump administration is capable of investigating itself and, even if it was, the conclusions of the investigations would not be accepted by the public.

What’s needed is an impartial, bi-partisan commission with subpoena powers.   And even then, given the experience of the Warren Commission and the 9-11 Commission, this might not settle matters to everybody’s satisfaction.


The irony is that all the justifiable reasons for dismissing James Comey stem from his public statements that were unfair to Hillary Clinton.


Trump’s letter firing FBI Director James Comey on CNN.  Also includes texts of Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein letters.

Statement by FBI Director James Comey on the investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server.

The Comey Letter Probably Cost Clinton the Election by Nate Silver for FiveThirtyEight.

How did we get here? A timeline of James Comey’s FBI controversies by Jessica Estepa for USA Today.

James Comey’s Testimony on Forwarding Emails Was Inaccurate by Peter Elkind for ProPublica.

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One Response to “Why James Comey should have been fired”

  1. paintedjaguar Says:

    “public statements that were unfair to Hillary Clinton”

    You mean those public statements that directly contradictied the lies that Hillary was spinning to the public? Those statements?


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