How Comey Made A Huge Mistake: I Also Made One

() HareMy Big Mistake:

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa we used to say at one time. That is how you admitted doing wrong. My huge error, maxima, was not knowing Comey.

Who would ever think the guy leading the nation’s investigative agency most responsible for our well-being would write a letter within two weeks of the election for president which he knew may affect the outcome of the election when he had no valid reason to do it?

My grievous fault was assuming that he had a “smoking gun” which he felt compelled to disclose or he and the FBI would be accused of a cover-up. I thought there was no other basis for writing a letter to those congressional chairmen unless he had the goods on Hillary. I then learned he does not even know what he has even though he said it was pertinent to his investigation of Hillary Clinton. How can something be pertinent which is defined as relevant or applicable to the issue of whether Hillary Clinton violated criminal laws of the country if you don’t know what it is?

Comey wrote the letter running up against the long tradition in America that such things not be done if they may have an impact on an ongoing election contest. He knew what he was doing would intrude himself into the contest for president. Those around him told him that it was unprecedented. Shockingly he did it for no seemingly valid reason at all. He could easily have waited another eleven days until the FBI agents had a time to determine what they were dealing with before taking any action for nothing he had before him when he wrote the letter had changed the extant situation.

Comey made the FBI look like a political outfit. It looks like it is working for the Republicans. This has happened because of:.

Comey’s Big Mistake:

Let’s go back to July. Comey back then was not a prosecutor. He was head of the FBI. The prosecutor was the attorney general. She had said prior to him making his decision that she would follow whatever he recommended. She had passed the buck to him and he stupidly picked it up.

The lodestar any director of the FBI should look to is J. Edgar Hoover. For all his faults he knew how to act as the person in charge of the FBI. He was in charge of it for 48 years. He protected its reputation as if it were his natural child which to him it was. He would never have acted as Comey did. He would have gone into the Attorney General and made his recommendation. She is the political officer. He would have let her take the heat.

Comey fell into a trap. He thought he was the attorney general. He gave a lengthy public statement about facts discovered during the FBI investigation. At the end he announced he was not going to recommend charges against Hillary. Some believed the evidence showed she violated the law. He put himself in the position of defending a decision he never should have made.

It was clear to me that the decision not to prosecute took into account that Hillary was in line to be the Democratic nominee for president. Some might object that is wrong and you should never look at the person who is alleged to have done the acts but only the acts themselves. That is not the way things are done in America. A prosecutor with the help of the investigators is first supposed to determine if there was a crime; and then decide whether the person who committed it should be prosecuted. It is a long tradition in America that prosecutors do this at least on the state side. That is why they are given the right to enter a nolle prosequi. That the prosecutor has that power means he does not have to charge every person who commits a crime.

Comey knew his decision in Hillary’s case was a highly awaited one. He should simply have said that he reviewed all the evidence and presented its findings to the attorney general. He may have added that it was his recommendation that a prosecution is not warranted.

The attorney general would then have to make the decision whether to prosecute or not. Yes, many would have shouted and screamed, perhaps including me, that the fix was in or something along those lines but so what. Let the attorney general take the heat. Comey and the FBI did its job. It was the attorney general’s job to look at what it did and make a decision.

I would expect and hope there are many federal investigations done where at the end it is decided not to charge a person when it is determined the consequences of bringing a charge will inflict greater punishment than demanded by the crime itself.

Comey embarrassed the FBI because he forgot his job title. We see the mess that has now happened because he did not understand his position.

 

15 thoughts on “How Comey Made A Huge Mistake: I Also Made One

  1. Matt, for now, just a few quick rebuttals: (1) there is no “long standing tradition” of which you and the liberal press speak: October surprises are a fact of American life. In the weekend before an election, Bill Clinton feasted off Special Prosecutor’s Walsh announcement (4 days before the election) that Caspar Weinberger was being prosecuted for lying about Iran-Contra. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/flashback-clinton-cheered-11th-hour-indictment-that-doomed-bush-reelection/article/2606000
    2. Nulle prosequi: True that not every crime is prosecuted. Comey is condemned for refusing to prosecute when the evidence was crystal clear, and there was no reason, except a political one, not to prosecute. Nulle prosequi is not a tool for prosecutors to excuse the rich and politically connected. That prosecutors have discretion? Yes! When they abuse their discretion, they are rightfully condemned.
    3. We don’t know what the FBI agents saw. Perhaps some email headings alone suggested serious wrongdoing: e.g. From Huma Abedin to Hillary: “Emails related to Benghazi and Foundation have been bleached per your request.”
    4. I now see Comey’s dilemma: Damned if he does or doesn’t! Disclose the existence of thousands of undiscovered emails from Hillary’s #1 confidante before or after the election? Either way, he’d be crucified. Disclosing it beforehand prevents the DOJ from burying it after Hillary’s elected. Considering Lynch’s cozy relationship with Bill Clinton, perhaps that was Comey’s thinking: the only way to ensure this sees the light of day unspun and unfiltered is to reveal it now.

    1. Bill:

      1. That was not the DOJ but a very dangerous guy named Welch (I believe) who was the special prosecutor who deliberately tried to influence the investigation That is the danger of a special prosecutor since they are under no one’s control. That does not go against the tradition. There have been no October surprises from the Department of Justice or FBI that I ever recall like what Comey has done.

      2. Comey did not recomend that Clinton be prosecuted because he weighed the crime against the damage that could be done to the potential Democratic nominee if indicted and decided against doing it. That is perfectly proper. You do have to consider a person’s position when making those decisions and that is part of the discretion. It is not abused unless it is done corruptly.

      3. Comey wrote to the FBI staff: “At the same time, however, given that we do not know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression,” Was he lying?

      4. Comey had no dilemma. He should not have acted until he knew the significance of the newly discovered evidence. If there is nothing to it who would ever have complained? What was the rush when he has no idea of the significance, his words, of the emails which the FBI knew about for weeks.

      1. Matt: the Attorney General and head of the FBI are appointed by the president. Attorney General Edwin Meese appointed Lawrence Walsh as a special prosecutor. The point is, via the Executive Branch’s DOJ, we’ve seen October surprises before. 2. If as you write, Comey refused to indict because he did not want to damage a presidential nominee, that in my opinion is gross corruption. What law, rule or precedent exempts political candidates from indictments? 3. Comey may not have “known” (conclusively) the full “significance.” 4. I still see his dilemma: He sees “smoke”; does he alert the American people, at risk of causing a “false alarm”; or does he stay still, and risk a later conflagration.

      2. Our Virginia spring has been wild with 90s and 50s, wind and rain. The dogwood blossoms are now giving way to spring green leaves. It’s a bonus to see it all happening again in New England photos. When my son expressed a desire for a quilt with a Penrose tiling design, I showed him your hexagon pillows to give him the idea that something smaller would be as satisfying. The hexagon potholder would be very cool, too…

  2. Matt: an interesting article: When you read it to the end, the author concludes Hillary will never be prosecuted: http://spectator.org/g-men-hillary-and-the-pervert/ .
    If she’s not elected, Obama will pardon her.
    If she is elected:
    1. She’ll appoint her own Attorney General (the FBI investigation likely will not be completed until early in her new term.) Hillary’s A.G. will never prosecute her.
    2. Plus, the DOJ decided in the 1970s and reaffirmed in the 2000s that it would not prosecute a sitting President. (Constitutional crisis.)
    3. The House decided in the 1870s that it would not impeach a President for acts committed prior to being elected, and neither Paul Ryan nor Nancy Pelosi (obviously) would reverse that policy.
    4. A learned colleague suggests President Hillary Clinton could appoint a Special Prosecutor. Zero Chance!
    5. Public opinion forced Nixon to resign, but Hillary is shameless.
    If she assumes the presidency and stays in power, the stench of corruption will hover over her presidency till the end. She doesn’t care!

    1. Bill:

      The proper way to get a president out of office is through impeachment an that is the main reason the DOJ has no authority to prosecute a president. Nixon resigned because he was on the way to being impeached.

      There has always been a problem with having the attorney general and the president being so close which means that no attorney general will ever let the person who put him in office get indicted. You can be sure Clinton will have one of that mindset.

      I agree Hillary will never appoint a special prosecutor after seeing what the special prosecutor did to her husband. There is another way to look at what Comey did in doing what he did. That is he was sending out the message that he was going to go public if he has any evidence that shows criminal activity and the attorney general tries to sit on it. Maybe tradition says you cannot prosecute a sitting president but what about the spouse of the sitting president.

  3. Like I indicated yesterday, Comey’s innuendos and phony Judicial Watch “email scandal” are blatant Hatch Act violations, part of a GOP smear campaign for political capital.

    Behind it is a Boston affiliated group linked to Winter Hill, Iran-Contra/Narco, Jeff Epstein, Koch, Mueller, Fred Wyshak and the “Market Basket” Divisions of the FBI & U.S. Attorney’s Office.

  4. Bill is on point on the newly minted “long tradition”. It is a media attempt to portray the wee weasel woman as a victim. But, then again, perhaps Comey’s disclosure is a clever feint to divert attention from Clinton’s real crimes as they are being disclosed via Wikileaks
    – by week’s end Hillary declared innocent after a close examination of 675,000 emails!

    Who knows?

    Don’t try to make sense of Fun House democracy. This election is a Halloween House of Horrors. Enjoy the scary twists and turns. Laugh with the kids. Weep for the Fatherland.

    To add gravitas to the following suggestion, note that 240 years ago all my mother’s ancestors in the two appropriate generations were Loyalists. Let’s bring back the House of Hanover with a constitutional monarch as chief executive. Yeah, George III had porphyria and was insane more oft than not, but can you believe that the stability he offered was less than what democracy and a republic is serving up today?

    Matt, you owe no one an apology for not being able to minutely detail the exact color pattern shining through a rapidly churning kaleidoscope at this moment. Enjoy the light show for what it is – a show and maybe a scripted fraud. On November 8 vote your conscience. Mine is clearly, firmly, saying Donald Trump.

    1. Tadzio:

      Bill refers to an example of a special prosecutor who was a Democratic zealot who did try to interfere with an election. He was a cowboy which is one reason we have to be careful in asking for special prosecutors.

  5. My current belief system sez we will get a President
    who will teach us lessons we need to learn as voters
    and taxpayers.
    Until we learn those lessons
    Presidents will always be there
    to teach us the same lesson plan.
    What is that Darwin said about evolution?

    Our Presidents are selected for us years in advance.
    You don’t like the lessons,
    change the lesson plan.

    In memory of Vince Foster who cannot rest in peace
    By World Tribune on October 30, 201

    Allegations of cover-up by lead investigator

    Kenneth Starr’s at-the-time lead investigator, US attorney Miguel Rodriguez,[8] emphatically disagreed with Starr’s conclusion that Foster committed suicide, referring to photographs and medical testimony suggesting a second gunshot wound on Foster’s neck, evidence he asserts Starr suppressed.[9] Concerning the cover-up, he wrote in his resignation letter, “As an ethical person, I don’t believe I could be involved in what they were doing.”[10]

    Other theories

    James Norman, former senior editor at Forbes Magazine, discussed[11] and wrote about Vince Foster having a Swiss bank account and possible espionage.[12] An FBI interview report by agent Russell Bransford and a handwritten note from the Office of Independent Counsel found at the National Archives refer to Vincent Foster’s Swiss bank account.[13]

    The comments of Patrick Knowlton, a grand jury witness who had been at the park where Foster’s body was found, were included as part of Starr’s Report over Starr’s objection. Judge John D. Butzner wrote to Judges Peter Fay and David Sentelle after Knowlton submitted a motion that his comments be included as part of an appendix to the final report, “I suspect that if we deny this motion we will be charged as conspirators in the cover-up,” and concluded “I suggest we let the motion and attachments speak for themselves.”[14] Judge Peter Fay wrote that Knowlton contradicted “specific factual matters and takes issue with the very basics of the report” filed by Kenneth Starr.[15] Knowlton’s comments were ordered[16]included as part of the official report on September 26, 1997. Two days later, Kenneth Starr filed a 9-page motion[17] to appeal that the comments by Knowlton not be included in the report. The next day, Starr’s motion was denied[18] and Knowlton’s comments were included as part of the final official Report on the Death of Vincent W. Foster.[19]

    John H. Clarke, attorney for Patrick Knowlton, argued that by using the FBI, the Office of Independent Counsel employed “the very agency it [was] designed to be independent from, the Justice Department.”[20] Clark further stated “The investigation under the auspices of…Mr. Fiske was little more than an FBI investigation. Publicly available official federal government records indicate that throughout the 16-day U.S. Park Police investigation into the case, FBI participation was significant.[21] Attorney Clarke’s letter argues, “The publicly available federal government record upon which the Fiske Report is based is replete with evidence that the FBI concealed the true facts surrounding Mr. Foster’s death.”[22]

    The Arkansas Project

    On May 2, 1999, the Washington Post published new details on the pursuit of a Vincent Foster conspiracy in an article by David Brock, a key figure in the Troopergate and Whitewater scandals whose disillusionment with the political corruption motivating what would come to be known as the Arkansas Project ended his lifelong commitment to the Conservative movement and facilitated public dissemination of insider details on G.O.P. machinations. The article explains how Brock was “summoned” to a meeting with Rex Armistead in Miami, Florida at an airport hotel. Brock claims that Armistead laid out for him an elaborate “Vince Foster murder scenario” – a scenario that he found implausible.[23]

    In an interview for Salon.com in 2000, Brock also revealed that he and Armistead received funding throughout Clinton’s two terms in office from Richard Scaife for the initiative known as the Arkansas Project.[24] The Project aimed to discredit the sitting president and first lady through investigations into a range of issues that could potentially prove problematic for the couple, from rehashed drug smuggling allegations to their long-standing relationship with Foster and other professionals/officials in Arkansas.

    Another prominent reporter to have received funds from Scaife was Christopher W. Ruddy[25] – a former writer for the Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (and later founder of NewsMax). Eventually, Scaife became the third-largest stockholder of Ruddy’s Newsmax;[26] and both NewsMax and the WorldNetDaily continued to publish materials that showed the Clintons in a negative light.[27]

    Ruddy also enjoyed the backing of Joseph Farah and Farah’s organization, the Western Journalism Center. This group supplied him with “additional expense money, funding for Freedom of Information Act requests, legal support and publicity” around his book deal & the requisite research into a conspiracy surrounding Foster’s death.[28] He published his findings in 1997 under the title The Strange Death of Vincent Foster (pub. Simon & Schuster).[29] In the book, he discusses mistakes and transgressions that occurred in the original investigations – in particular, alleged obstruction of justice by White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum – but stops short of positing an original theory on the circumstances surrounding Foster’s death. Interviews revealed his person

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