Fired FBI Director James Comey is back in the news now that alleged memos of an interaction he had with Donald Trump have surfaced.
In the memos, Comey claims Trump suggested he drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
However, Comey’s decision not to share the memos earlier could have unintended consequences.
Many believe Comey is on the warpath to get back at Trump after his humiliating termination; Comey found out on television.
The revenge narrative certainly makes sense and paints anything emanating from Comey with a dubious brush.
From Business Insider:
Two theories took hold among conservatives in the immediate aftermath of the bombshell New York Times report claiming that ousted FBI Director James Comey kept memos on his meetings with President Donald Trump, including one that claimed Trump suggested he drop an investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
With legal experts saying the memo could make for a “very strong case of obstruction of justice,” conservatives suggested that, actually, it’s Comey who could be in legal jeopardy. And at the very least, if Comey felt what Trump said amounted to obstruction of justice, why didn’t he say anything at the time or resign immediately?
A number of leading Republican politicians, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, targeted the latter point, questioning Comey’s decision to keep quiet until after he was fired.
“If this happened, the FBI director should have done something about it or quit,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said. “If the president asked the FBI director to do something inappropriate, the FBI director should have said no and quit.”
Meanwhile, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a major Trump backer, linked on Twitter to a Facebook post from a Tennessee-based lawyer, who suggested the former — that Comey himself could be in legal trouble for “concealing” the information. Huckabee wrote that the attorney, Matt Wilson, “has powerful questions NY Times ought to ask. Please read.”
Wilson also questioned why Comey waited until now to reveal the information if he believed a crime may have taken place, adding that the series of events leads to only two possible conclusions.
Either “Comey did not think the president had committed any crime, or Comey was committing a crime, himself, (i.e. misprision of a felony) in order to have something to hold over the president,” Wilson wrote, adding, “On the other hand, if he did, in fact, reveal this to a judge, or to the attorney general, or to any other person in authority, then by revealing this information to the press, Comey may be impeding an active investigation.”
Legal analysts suggest Comey is on solid ground in not disclosing the memos to anyone, but it undermines his credibility and speaks to his state of mind in the time between the meeting with Trump and his firing.
If Comey felt coerced by Trump, he would’ve either shared the memos or kowtowed and dropped the investigation. He did neither.
In recent testimony to Congress, Comey explicitly said there had been no coercion to halt the investigation. When asked if he had ever been pressured by the Attorney General, Comey responded:
“Not in my experience, because it would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something without an appropriate purpose…They give us opinions that we don’t see a case there and so you ought to stop investing resources in it, but I’m talking about a situation where we were told to stop something for a political reason…That would be a very big deal.”
This lines up with the testimony of acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who claimed he had seen zero interference from the White House.
If Comey is trying to paint himself as a martyr, his vindictiveness in releasing the memos (that he clearly believed were benign) brings his character into question.