Recently, some former U.S. Attorneys’ have come to the defense of disgraced former FBI Director, James Comey, in a facile attempt to rehabilitate his justifiably tarnished reputation. Both are engaged in a fools errand, as neither one makes a terribly persuasive case for exculpating Comey.
As I noted in a previous post, Comey’s defenders can’t possibly exonerate Comey’s actions; they agree his conduct was inappropriate and a clear violation of Justice Department guidelines. Rather, in a marvelous demonstration of pure sophistry, they argue that, even though Comey’s conduct was indefensible, it’s a good think he disobeyed the rules for the good of the country.
Former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman defended the actions of Comey and said history will judge him as bending the rules, but he was doing a “good thing.”
Litman told MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace.
“… if Andrew McCabe gets indicted, Comey might be a witness, Lisa Page might be witness. You have the Department of Justice continuing to be riven and in the public eye also it’s kind of capital already overextended.”
If Comey and FBI agent Lisa Page are called as witnesses, it is only because they were part of, or had first hand knowledge of the attempts made by McCabe and others in the bureau, most notably, Comey himself, to use extrajudicial and illegal means to drive a duly elected president from office.
Yet, in the same breath, Litman nonetheless contends that,
“…history will record him rightly as bending the rules when he decided but they’ll record him as having – it’s a good thing that he did it here and these memos came to light but nevertheless it provokes a whole new round of Trumpian rhetoric that plays well on the campaign rallies and continues to cause crises at the Department of Justice.”
LItman’s defense of Comey’s pilfering government property and disclosing the sensitive material for his own partisan political purposes, cannot possibly be reconciled with the duty Comey had as FBI director to safeguard confidential and sensitive information. LItman’s attempt at acquittal is incoherent, as Comey himself testified that he leaked the memos with the intention of sparking an outcry that he hoped would lead to the appointment of a special counsel.
LItman’s justification is no different than the facile argument former Obama Administration Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, offered for her refusal to comply with a lawful executive order of president Trump, that was cleared by the justice Department’s legal office. When pressed to offer any legal or statutory support for her refusal to carrry out the order, Yates was at a loss for words. Instead, she said that she was obligated to a higher authority; in other words, she refused the order due to her partisan bias against president Trump.
The second attempt to minimize the seriousness of Comey’s breach of prosecutorial protocols , comes from Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. McQuade supports Comey’s actions by characterizing him as a “whistleblower.” This is a manifestly dishonest characterization, made to circumvent the obvious improprieties of Comey’s theft and unauthorized dissemination of government property.
McQuade uncritically swallows whole, Comey’s sanctimonious contention that he leaked the memorialization of his meetings with Trump out of “love of country.” McQuade defends Comey because he was worried about a, “threat to government itself. It can’t be the right choice for a government official to remain silent in the face of such a threat.”
Even though Mueller, after two years, failed to find a scintilla of evidence to support the Russian Collusion investigation, McQuade makes the astonishing argument that Comey’s actions were justified to “protect our country.” How being part of a concerted attempt to subvert an election can be construed as an attempt to protect the country is only an argument one afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome could make. Would it be a fair guess to say that McQuade voted for Hillary?
All McQuade and Litman due is try and put a sheen back on Comey’s halo of inestimable self-regard.