Gowdy strikes a nerve

When FBI Director James Comey appeared before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, the GOP members grilled him about his handling and disposition of the Clinton email investigation. As former prosecutors, several members drew on their experience working with the FBI to point out the apparent anomalies that have come to light, including the various immunity deals that went roughly nowhere. (Paul Sperry provides a useful summary in the New York Post this morning.)

Rep. Trey Gowdy highlighted the anomalies in a way that drew the obvious ire of Comey (video below). Gowdy is particularly effective outlining the circumstantial evidence that belies Comey’s recommendation of no prosecution. “False exculpatory statements are gold in a courtroom,” Gowdy says, and then itemizes a few of Clinton’s most notable lies. Gowdy then sums up the lameness of Comey’s rationale for declining to recommend any prosecution.

In the final minute of the video, Gowdy pays an emotional tribute to the FBI based on his experience. He draws a contrast between the FBI he worked with and the one that is visible in the apparent anomalies in the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton case. “That is not the FBI that I used to work with,” Gowdy says.

Gowdy struck a nerve. Dropping his mask of impassivity, Comey indignantly responds: “I hope someday when this political craziness is over you will look back again on this because this is the FBI you know and love. This was done by pros in the right way. That’s the part I have no patience for.”

Well, I know the feeling, but that’s not exactly a defense on the merits to how “funny” things look or to the substance of Gowdy’s critique. It’s a substitute for an argument.