Andrew C. McCarthy:
On April 10, 2016, President Obama publicly stated that Hillary Clinton had shown “carelessness” in using a private e-mail server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the relevant criminal statute). The president acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, its importance had been vastly overstated.
On July 5, 2016, FBI director James Comey publicly stated that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in using a private email server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the relevant criminal statute). The director acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, it was just a small percentage of the emails involved.
Could there be more striking parallels? A cynic might say that Obama had clearly signaled to the FBI and the Justice Department that he did not want Mrs. Clinton to be charged with a crime, and that, with this not-so-subtle pressure in the air, the president’s subordinates dropped the case — exactly what Obama wanted, relying precisely on Obama’s stated rationale.
Yet the media yawned.
Of course, they’re not yawning now. Now it is Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, sending Comey signals. So now, such signals are a major issue — not merely of obstruction of justice, but of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Trump hysteria seems to be a permanent condition, a combustive compound of media-Democrat derangement surrounding a president who keeps providing derangement material. Let’s try to keep our feet on the ground, but with a commitment to get the evidence and go wherever it takes us.
For now, we don’t have much evidence. Essentially, we’ve got single statement, mined by the New York Times from a memo that no one outside a tight circle inside the FBI has seen — indeed, that the Times has not seen. According to anonymous sources, the memo was written by then–FBI director Comey shortly after a private meeting with President Trump — only two of them in the room after Trump asked other officials to leave. This was on February 14, the day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned over inaccurate statements he made to senior administration officials in recounting conversations he’d had with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
Trump is said to have told Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Other than telling us that Comey replied, “I agree he is a good guy,” the Times provides no context of the conversation. Its report gives no indication of whether the memo provides such context.
On its face, the statement does not amount to obstruction of justice. Trump could be said to be putting pressure on his subordinate, just as Obama was putting pressure on his subordinates (Comey included) last April. But assuming the Times is right about the memo, Trump did not order Comey to drop the case. In fact, Trump’s statement is consistent with encouraging Comey to use his own judgment, with the understanding that Trump hoped Comey would come out favorably to Flynn.
But of course, also with the understanding that if Comey pushed to prosecute Flynn, the president — who had the power to fire Comey — was going to be very unhappy. Just as President Obama would have been very unhappy, and in a position to fire Comey, if Mrs. Clinton had been indicted.
It is not frivolous to infer that Trump’s statement to Comey was a veiled order. If that is your interpretation, though, you cannot avoid the conclusion that Obama’s public statements were also veiled orders not to indict Clinton. Up until now, veiled orders have not been thought the equivalent of obstruction of justice.
the asshole comey is part of Trump’s Cabinet. he, as all members of the cabinet, can be terminated
so the media has nothing better to do-slow day the slime and wapo have terminated multiple employees because of decreased subscripting and street reading, except for the liberal snowflakes. ever wonder how many snowflake demonstrators either live at home or in welfare? recall the turbulent days or the assholes fist eight scum sucking years-it was not pretty
The Director of the FBI is not a cabinet-level position.
Ten-year appointments to the position of Director are made by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate. James Comey was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of 93 to 1. The only republican Senator voting against his confirmation was Rand Paul. They had no problem with this guy.
The only FBI Director fired previously was William S. Sessions. Clinton dismissed him after the Attorney General and Office of Professional Responsibility raised issues concerning Session’s improper use of FBI aircraft for private purposes, and for his improper use of FBI funds to have a home security system installed in his private residence. He was given the opportunity to resign first, but refused to do so.