The inspector general of the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report indicating that the former head of the FBI, James B. Comey, violated departmental rules by leaking information to a friend of his, a law professor at Columbia University.
The former FBI director's motive in doing so was to raise doubts about President Donald Trump and thereby create media interest to force the Justice Department to designate a special counsel to investigate the president for alleged collusion with Russia.
We now know that there was no such collusion, and the inspector general’s report condemns Comey for his lapses in following policy.
Yet — because the Justice Department has chosen not to prosecute Comey for any offenses he may have committed, Comey has claimed that his detractors owe him an "apology."
This is curious. Why should Comey’s critics apologize?
There is no doubt that former Director Comey still believes what he did was justified, and we can guess from the title of his recent book, "A Higher Loyalty," that Mr. Comey follows a set of rules which may well differ from the normal ones.
Apparently, Mr. Comey strongly loathed Donald Trump, saw him as a danger, and believed that anything done that might result in Trump’s eventual removal from the presidency was justified.
This is, of course, the same attitude manifested by Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, James Clapper, John Brennan, Christopher Steele, Nellie, and Bruce Ohr.
It is also the same attitude of the other perpetrators of the Russia Collusion hoax.
The next inspector general’s report may tell us that there was criminal conduct involved in the securing of the FISA warrants that actually began the investigation of the alleged ties to Russia on the part of President Trump’s campaign.
But what is most alarming, at this point, is the moral, legal, and bureaucratic obtuseness on the part of those, like Comey, who were manifesting a "higher loyalty."
Just what was it that they were loyal to?
We know they were against Trump. Is it simply that they preferred Hillary Rodham Clinton to Donald John Trump?
What could lead them to have such a preference? One possibility, pushed by Mr. Trump and many of his defenders, is that those who sought to remove him from office did so simply because they were disinclined to give up the power they, and their fellow denizens of the administrative state (or, if you prefer, "the swamp") had accumulated.
According to this theory Comey, Strzok, et. al. reasoned that Mrs. Clinton, whose family had grown fabulously rich through service in the federal government, would not be likely to alter the corrupt status quo that had so benefited her — and them.
Comey himself is a millionaire several times over, but mere financial interest seems inadequate fully to capture what was at stake. The spectacular hubris (or perhaps chutzpah) Comey demonstrates suggests something deeper.
The disdain for Donald Trump among most of our ivy-league educated, the Hollywood glitterati, and most of the national media is more than just narrow self-interest; although narrow self-interest explains a lot.
The 2016 election, and the struggle between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton was really about two different visions exhibited by their generation, the baby boomers.
We tend to think of boomers as committed to self-actualization, consumer culture, the abandonment of traditional virtues of deference to one’s elders, and to religious and civil authority.
We tend also to think of the boomers as beginning our movement toward political correctness and away from patriotism, piety, and self-restraint.
This is the narrative favored by the media, and our universities and our organs of popular opinion overwhelmingly embrace this purported set of values (or the rejection of traditional ones).
Those not residing in our great urban centers, however, and especially those who are not part of our informational economy — farmers, coal miners, factory and construction workers, truck drivers, many of the clergy, many of the military — even though they too might be boomers, see it differently.
For them (these are the "Deplorables" insanely denigrated by Mrs. Clinton) Donald Trump represented a return to the values of a pre-1960s America, a time cherished in memory.
Trump’s slogan "Make America Great Again," superbly articulated this now endangered national ethos. We are, of course, a country now wisely more committed to equality than we were before, but not all our recent history is laudable.
For some boomers, for Trump, and for his supporters, it was not the purpose of this country to enrich its bureaucrats and their families, but it was instead to provide the opportunities for economic advancement and security for all Americans.
Those who voted for Trump believed that they were actually moving us back to our original shared republican ideals. Mrs. Clinton’s, and Mr. Comey’s crabbed and elitist vision, we can now see, was something quite different.
Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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