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Tags: comey | mccabe | trump | investigation

Al D'Amato: Comey and McCabe, Strangers to the Truth?

Al D'Amato: Comey and McCabe, Strangers to the Truth?
Former FBI Director James Comey poses for photographs as he arrives to speak about his new book "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership" at Barnes & Noble bookstore, April 18, 2018, in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 23 April 2018 04:39 PM EDT

We’re hearing a lot lately from a couple of former FBI officials who both claim to have held the highest moral ground in their respective public careers. Neither one of them measure up to the holier-than-thou image they try so hard to project.

First, let’s consider James Comey. As he travels around pushing his book about his time as FBI Director, Comey has attacked Donald Trump in the most personal, virulent ways. He tells us he’s not sure whether the president is susceptible to blackmail from the Russians, and he says dealing with Trump was like dealing with a Mafia Don who demanded “loyalty” at all costs.

Yet, despite these supposed glaring character defects and personal vulnerabilities Comey claims he discovered in the president, he didn’t do the one thing he could have done to most effectively express his supposed revulsion: He didn’t resign as head of the FBI. If he found the president such an objectionable leader, why didn’t he quit in protest?

Examples of such “principled resignations” abound. President Richard Nixon’s Attorney General, William Ruckelshaus, resigned in protest when Nixon ordered him to fire the Watergate Special Counsel. Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, resigned in protest when Carter decided to launch a military operation to rescue American diplomats held hostage by Iran. But while James Comey declares he found the president to be demanding Godfather-like fealty, what did he do? He clung to office to the bitter end.

Only after President Trump finally fired him did Mr. Comey publicly declare all the many things he now says are so wrong with the president. And Comey’s 11th hour epiphany comes in the context of peddling his tell-all book. This hardly makes him the Profile in Courage he’d like us to believe he is.

And this is not the only thing that strains Comey’s credibility. As FBI Director, Comey literally bounced all over the place in his handling of matters relating to both Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. First he seemed to exonerate Clinton for her email violations; then he declared the investigation reopened just a few days before the 2016 election. Now — twisting the facts like a pretzel — he says he did it because he was sure Clinton would win and he didn’t want her election to be “delegitimized.” In both these cases Comey clearly violated the FBI’s own rules against commenting on ongoing investigations. Before Mr. Comey finds ‘integrity and fitness for office’ lacking in Donald Trump, he should look in a mirror.

That mirror would reflect back some other glaring discrepancies in Mr. Comey’s handling of highly sensitive information as FBI director. While Mr. Comey testified under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he did not leak information about either the Clinton or Trump investigations, he later admitted that he did in fact secretly leak such information.

But playing loose with the truth at the FBI wasn’t limited to only James Comey. The Justice Department’s Inspector General just issued a scathing report on the apparent “lack of candor” of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe in these same cases. He also denied to FBI investigators that he improperly leaked sensitive investigation information to the press, claiming that Director Comey authorized these leaks. Comey of course says he did no such thing, so we’re left to conclude that one or the other of them is lying.

McCabe’s mishandling of sensitive information eventually got him fired. But before he got the boot Mr. McCabe badly mismanaged the Clinton and Trump investigations. In light of the fact that his own wife had received substantial contributions for her campaign for a Virginia State Senate seat from a very close associate of Bill and Hillary Clinton, McCabe should have recused himself from anything even remotely related to either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump. Instead, he not only stayed on these cases, but allowed his apparent political biases to influence his handling of the cases. And when he got caught being less than truthful, he tried to shift blame and dodge the truth.

Why does any of this matter? Because when it conducts investigations, the FBI demands the truth of those it interrogates. One of the more common charges lodged against its suspects is “lying to the FBI.” But if the men who ran the FBI were strangers to the truth, how can it demand the truth from others? If no one can lie except those who work for the FBI, where are we?

This column was originally published in the Long Island Herald Community Newspapers.

Former Senator D’Amato served a distinguished 18-year career in the U.S. Senate, where he chaired the Senate Banking Committee and was a member of the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees. While in the Senate, Mr. D’Amato also Chaired of the U.S. Commission on Cooperation and Security in Europe (CSCE), and served on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The former Senator is considered an expert in the legislative and political process, who maintains close relationships with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. He is regularly called upon for his advice and counsel, and is recognized for his incisive analysis of national and international political affairs. The former Senator will share insights gained from his years in Washington “with a clear-eyed view of the political forces that shape the world we live in today.” To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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We’re hearing a lot lately from a couple of former FBI officials who both claim to have held the highest moral ground in their respective public careers. Neither one of them measure up to the holier-than-thou image they try so hard to project.
comey, mccabe, trump, investigation
Monday, 23 April 2018 04:39 PM
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