Fact is, Comey is the type of law enforcer so filled with his own rectitude that he has angered members of both parties with his willingness to go after politicians whom he believes crossed the line.
Especially when, in going after them, Comey has crossed the line himself. He crossed the line, the Department of Justice noted, in announcing he would reopen the Clinton investigation before the election.
But also, Trump’s private attorney Marc Kasowitz noted after the hearing, Comey admitted that he leaked memos of privileged conversations with the president in order to influence the investigation. That’s not exactly impartial.
“We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether (these) leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated,” Kasowitz added.
Sanctimonious, but credible
On Thursday, Comey said he could not discuss why he thought Attorney General Jeff Sessions would recuse himself from the Russian investigation in an open hearing. Comey’s refusal to say more about it leaves Sessions in a lonely spot in a cold city. Comey’s insistence that Russian interference was real suggests that this story will not just go away.
Trump once suggested in a tweet that he may have taped conversations with Comey. Only if that Nixonian pronouncement is correct can Trump prove who has been telling the truth — the president or the lawman.
Comey is not infallible. In May, he gave inaccurate testimony about how often former Clinton aide Huma Abedin forwarded government emails to the laptop of her former husband. The FBI had to send out a correction. And perhaps, as Comey admitted is possible, Trump and he misperceived things they said to each other.
Team Trump’s favorite takeaway is that Trump was not a subject of the Russian probe. Why wouldn’t Comey say so sooner?
Even to those who consider Comey to be too full of his own rectitude — Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., once called him “sanctimonious” — the fired FBI chief has enhanced his credibility by admitting to his role in leaks that supported him.
That shows a respect for how Washington likes to see things done — a lesson Trump has yet to learn.