Why FBI Director James Comey Must Apologize and Resign.
By way of introduction, this is a freedom forum that seeks to find truth and deliver it, receive it and nurture it through rational dialogue among our readers. We are interested in insight from all political, economic and social quarters: liberal, conservative, moderate, green, socialist, communist or independent. If you can help us find the truth, you are welcome here.
One of our goals is both grandiose and in short supply. And that is to let common men and women challenge the world order with fresh ideas. We are at a time of extremes and divisions in our American society that pit Republicans against Democrats as if they were contestants in an NFL game, each one seeking to bludgeon the other without rules, without referees. Lies are weapons hurled with reckless abandon. Our digital borders have gapping holes through which state-sponsored hackers strive, and perhaps succeed, in altering our democracy.
Now to the point. Our own Federal Bureau of Investigation has suddenly become a threat to our norms. Once sacred boundaries and best practices that have governed our election seasons for decades were cast aside by Director James Comey at the very moment in time when he should have stood down and relied upon out trusted tools of law enforcement: sealed search warrants and grand juries managed by professional prosecutors.
When Comey took it upon himself to turn the searchlight back upon Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner in the 2016 Presidential election, he played right into the hands of her rival, Donald Trump. Comey did so as we know by writing an ill-advised letter to members of Congress in which he suggested, but did not state, that he was re-opening the FBI investigation of Clinton’s private email server. He did this against the recommendation of his boss, the Attorney General of the United States, and with less than two weeks to go before Election Day. The impact of his extra-judicial misconduct was staggering. Clinton had broken free of Trump in their bitter contest and was surging in the polls. Trump was openly talking of a subject he detests – losing. But Comey’s reckless conduct and it’s enormous echo caused millions of voters to pause and consider a very logical assertion from the Trump campaign – why would the director of the FBI take such an unprecedented action unless he had compelling evidence to pursue an indictment.
In fact, Comey had no evidence at all. The FBI knew what it had known for weeks, that it had a laptop owned by the estranged husband of one of Clinton’s aide’s and it contained emails that were unread at the time by the FBI. So essentially it had a box of rumors which would prove harmless, but only after the arc of history had been changed.
So it is late November, and strong winds are blowing us toward inauguration or infamy – or both. There is talk of recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania where respected computer scientists have found no proof of foul play with computerized voting systems, but they have stronger evidence than Comey had when he left the sidelines where Department of Justice guidelines say he must stay in the final two months of an election, and lunged onto a hotly contested field to interrupt play with the clock winding down.
Comey has been roundly denounced for his actions by dozens of former federal prosecutors, members of Congress and commentators. In response, he has remained silent. And that silence is deafening.
One could surmise that he is pondering his resignation but he cannot bring himself to write the final letter that seals his shame and his career.
But resign he must, in defense of Democracy and here is the reason why. At the very moment when the nation most needed his simple silence and sound judgment, he spoke out and acted in a fashion that was one hundred times more reckless than any of Hillary’s emails. There is no do over for such foolish and devastating acts, no learning curve, no second chance.
So far, we only know that Comey acted in such an impetuous fashion because he claims he told Congress he’d update them if new evidence emerged after he exonerated Clinton during his two year inquiry. But that was a mess of his own making. Comey reports to the AG who reports to the President of the United States. We call this the executive branch of government and it is a hallowed separation of power designed by the framers of our constitution to avoid precisely the type of political meddling to which Comey fell victim. So he clearly did not understand the time tested guidelines which control his official duties, not did he understand the separation of powers in our form of government.
There is some reason to believe that Comey compounded his felony by presiding over the sudden release of the previously confidential Mark Rich documents. Rich was pardoned by Clinton’s husband when William Jefferson Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States after he had been prosecuted by Comey when he was a US Attorney. To some, these two acts, the letter and the FOIA release, were unrelated actions and mere coincidence. To others, the release of the Rich papers was a less than subtle signature writ large by the hand of Comey for everyone to see.
It’s irrelevant whether one voted for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Comey must resign and he should apologize to the American people for failing our democracy at the exact moment in time when he should have been its undying defender.
As you consider what has transpired, ask yourself what you would be thinking right now if you were reading an article in the New York Times, or listening to a report on Fox News, about the head of the another country’s federal police inserting wild rumors in the final days of an election. Perhaps your first conclusion would be “that could never happen here.”
However it did happen here, in the United States of America, where Big James Comey, all six foot eight inches of him, leaped across our separation of powers to a terrible conclusion. For that, Comey must apologize and resign.