Former FBI Director James Comey originally identified as a Republican. He first gained public acclaim for his integrity while temporarily acting as attorney general under John Ashcroft in 2004. Comey rushed to Ashcroft’s intensive-care hospital bedside to thwart President George W. Bush operatives from obtaining Ashcroft’s approval of a secret surveillance scheme that Comey deemed illegal. The Justice Department later agreed and Bush retreated. Subsequently, Comey’s reputed integrity won him a near-unanimous 93-1 Senate confirmation vote as President Obama’s appointed FBI director in 2013.
Comey faced criticism, particularly from Democrats, for tough transparency decisions regarding investigations preceding the 2016 presidential election. As the Obama administration’s former Attorney General Eric Holder said of Comey when he announced the reopening of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation just before the election, “He is a man of integrity and honor. I respect him. But good men make mistakes.”
Comey is reminiscent of such Republican statesmen as Sens. Everett Dirksen and Howard Baker with their integrity and bipartisan interests, reasons I formerly voted for some Republicans. But that breed of Republican leaders is virtually extinct; current Republican leadership is completely beholden to party, the wealthy and our corrupt president. Perhaps that is why Comey now identifies as an Independent.