Yes, former FBI Director James Comey is a grandstander. Yes, he is appallingly self-righteous with a huge ego and went public only after President Donald Trump fired and publicly insulted him. Yes, he orchestrated his Senate testimony through leaks of his memos, playing the media like a virtuoso.
And yes, albeit from different motives and tactics, Comey’s actions were in the FBI’s most-dangerous J. Edgar Hoover mode. Hoover’s illegally obtained information compromised administrations from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s to Richard Nixon’s. Comey’s memos might help dethrone President Donald Trump, just as his announcement concerning Hillary Clinton’s email probe in the final days of the presidential campaign might have cost her the election.
Nonetheless, with his testimony before the Senate, Comey has done something many public officials and most in the media have not had the courage to do. Instead of describing Trump’s words in such terms as “misspoke,” or “stated inaccurately,” or even “said falsely,” Comey called him a liar. Once the media latch on to that in describing an elected official, much less the president, that guy’s in real trouble.
And Trump has been lying from the day he announced his presidential candidacy through the firing of Comey, whose former boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is due to testify before the Senate Tuesday. Remember, Trump first said he fired Comey on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who objected to how Comey handled the Clinton email investigation.
After Rosenstein objected to Trump’s statement, the president then said he fired Comey because he was a “showboat” and a “grandstander.” He also cited Comey’s investigation into alleged corruption and/or collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Russians.
In fact, Trump lies so often he might not even realize he is lying. He said he didn’t ask for Comey’s loyalty, as Comey said. He hinted there might be tapes of his talks with Comey. And, Trump said on Friday that he would be willing to testify under oath that he never asked Comey to stop the investigation into ties between former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Russian officials.
Let’s see who’s telling the truth about all that.