The self-glorifying book tour of former FBI Director James Comey continues for the indefinite future. In his weekly National Review column this past Saturday, Andrew McCarthy conducts a reality check. In the column he explicated one thread of Comey’s comments in the interview with Bret Baier on FOX News last week. McCarthy’s column is headlined “Comey Confirms: In Clinton emails caper, the fix was in.” Subhead: “He knew Obama’s Justice Department would sweep Hillary’s violations under the rug, so he played along.”
My friend Mr. McCarthy has been my lodestar for informed analysis of the Clinton email matter and the collusion hysteria. In this column Andy revisits the argument he first made in 2016, as in the September 2016 column “Yes, the fix was in.” As he has occasionally in the past, he prefaces his analysis this time around with remarks about his friendships with Comey and other players. He confides: “No doubt because of my personal regard for him and respect for his high-end ability, I am inclined to cut the former director slack.”
Notwithstanding his inclination to “cut the former director slack,” McCarthy’s analysis is unsparing. I urge interested readers to review it and check it against what I have to say here. I want to isolate the key judgements implicit and explicit in the analysis. I want to emphasize, however, that these are my words, not Andy’s. Again, please check what I have to say against his column.
President Obama publicly absolved Hillary Clinton of any criminal misconduct in the email matter in April 2016.
The FBI investigation of Clinton in the email matter was designed and conducted to arrive at a predetermined outcome.
The predetermined outcome was the absolution of Hillary Clinton.
Comey referred in his interview to “the Justice Department.” This should be understood to refer to “the Obama Justice Department.” What the Justice Department would or wouldn’t do was dictated by the fact that it was the Obama Justice Department.
Comey asserts that he played his public role in the email case to save it from partisan taint, yet the rationale of his actions rests on the Obama Justice Department. See, e.g., the paragraph beginning “Comey is trying to have it both ways…”
Comey publicly argued that no prosecution of Clinton was warranted. Comey’s analysis supporting this argument was a sham.
Nothing Comey says in this matter is to be taken at face value. He is a political player executing a political role and doing so in a most disingenuous style.
I wrote Andy last night to tell him that I was going to write something that “translated” his column by stating the judgments inherent in his analysis. I asked him if he would give me any comments I could include in this post. He graciously responded:
I obviously did not enjoy writing that column but I don’t think it requires translation. I’m sorry you do … the response I’ve gotten indicates that readers think it was pretty clear.
I started saying that the fix was in when Cheryl Mills was interviewed sometime in mid-2016, so I don’t think I’ve minced words on that. And I believe I have more than once used the word “farce” to describe the investigation — I’ve explicitly described it as “trying not to make the case.”
To my mind, the record is damning enough when what happened is accurately described. I do not intend to go further and personally attack Comey. If people decide that means I am pulling punches because of personal feelings about the people involved, I can live with that. I am not saying it’s an unfair criticism — I wrote very harshly about, for example, Eric Holder (whom I do not know personally) regarding both his fitness to be confirmed as AG and his performance thereafter (which I believe bore out what I said during the confirmation debate); it is perfectly reasonable to say that I have been much more hesitant to make deductions about character in the current controversy.
But I don’t think anyone can credibly say that I pulled punches in describing what happened, and or that any commentator has described/explained its significance more exactingly than I have — notwithstanding that I have found that very painful to do, and that it has put great strain (and, in some cases, no doubt ended) friendships that I cherished for many years.
I am grateful to be able to give Andy the last word here.