U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch adjusts her glasses during a session at the OECD headquarters, in Paris, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Ministers discuss measures to strengthen international efforts for combating foreign bribery as well as the role of the Convention and the OECD Working Group on Bribery (WGB) in the broader, global anti-corruption framework. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
While I’m doubtful that anyone learned much about Donald Trump’s character or behavior from James Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” we do learn quite a bit about Comey.
Other than him being an obsequious little crapweasel, we learn that he’s perfectly willing to burn down people who trusted him just because he can.
Someone needs to give @FoxNewsSunday host Chris Wallace a medal for his take down of Comey's new book – "The other thing that surprises me frankly is how bitchy the book is." https://t.co/LrHKLb44GH pic.twitter.com/STVpxuEpwU
— Christian Datoc (@TocRadio) April 13, 2018
One of the victims of this is White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. I like Kelly and think he deserves a helluva lot of credit for creating a functioning White House. But it is obvious as Trump’s tenure in the White House grows, so too does his (often mistaken) trust in his own instincts and it is obvious, even to the casual observer, that Trump is working around Kelly as much as he’s working with him. So this little vignette is not going to help matters:
According to Comey’s account, which is set to appear in his highly anticipated forthcoming memoir, Kelly was “emotional” over the manner in which Comey was let go. The then-FBI director was in California at the time, speaking to FBI agents in Los Angeles, and only found out that he was out of a job when he saw the news break on TV.
Kelly, Comey recalls, said he was “sick” about the situation and “intended to quit” in protest. Kelly “said he didn’t want to work for dishonorable people,” referring specifically to President Donald Trump, who appeared to be upset at the FBI’s persistent investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russian officials.
According to sources, Comey writes in his book that he encouraged Kelly to remain in his post, saying “this president,” more than his predecessors, needed people of principle and integrity around him.
How does this help Kelly out? And if Comey truly believes it is vital that Kelly be in the White House, how does this further the cause? It doesn’t. Its sole purpose is to demonstrate how much everyone really loves Comey and how he has a “higher loyalty.” If anything, the story is going to make Kelly’s job much more difficult and rightfully so because a chief of staff who’ll talk about his boss in those terms really isn’t all that trustworthy.
But there is a second incident that is really curious and deserves our attention. It deals with one of the actions by Comey that Rod Rosenstein decided justified his firing, and that would be supplanting Loretta Lynch as the decisionmaker in the Hillary Clinton email case…and it explains why she went along with it.
Comey writes that he felt obligated to take more of a personal role as the public face of the investigation rather than deferring to then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch – in part because of something involving Lynch that he cryptically refers to as a “development still unknown to the American public to this day.”
In early 2016, the U.S. government became aware of information from a classified source, and “the source and content of that material remains classified as I write this,” according to the book.
“Had it become public, the unverified material would undoubtedly have been used by political opponents to cast serious doubt on the attorney general’s independence in connection with the Clinton investigation,” Comey writes, without further elaboration.
Message: I know sh** and I can keep a secret…or not.
Let’s tease this out. We can infer that whatever this classified material from a classified source is, it took place after April 23, 2015. Because it “cast doubt” on Lynch’s independence in the Clinton email investigation, we can further infer that Hillary or Bill Clinton are involved. And it seems that an investigation is still ongoing. As an aside, Loretta Lynch led the federal prosecution of FIFA corruption and the FBI’s go-to guy on that case was none other than Trump dossier author Christopher Steele. The most logical pressure point is Uranium One. Shortly after Lynch was confirmed the Justice Department decided to basically punt on the investigation. The key figure, Vadim Mikerin, the key Russian official overseeing the expansion of the Russian nuclear industry into the U.S. through Rosatom, was allowed to plead guilty to an array of minor charges while the informant was slapped with a non-disclosure agreement and threatened with prison.
My only queasiness with this extrapolation is that I’m simply not sure that any scandal involving Clinton, or Lynch, would ever have generated enough critical mass to get the media to cover it in a way that was going to hurt either. Keep in mind, during the campaign Clinton was running an ongoing criminal enterprise in the Clinton Foundation. It had been an obvious pay-to-play scam all during her tenure at State, and the same media that is breathless over Scott Pruitt flying first class on Delta (!!!!!) ignored it.
So it may be something much larger but I can’t imagine the House and Senate Judiciary Committees aren’t on the spoor right now.
But back to the bigger point, what purpose does this serve other than to ensure this story gets out and embarrasses Lynch (I’m not against that, in principle)? And Lynch is someone who seems like she supported Comey and is repaid by being burned. The answer is obvious. Comey has a “higher loyalty,” and it is to himself.