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Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 6:47 am | Fair 41º


Letter to the Editor: The Crucifixion of James Comey

Try to imagine the position of James Comey, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In an administration headed by a Democrat president, but both of whose congressional houses are controlled by Republicans, he is charged with investigating the private, government-related email use of Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Do you think he has received – or felt – immense pressure from his president not to find Democratic Party presidential candidate Clinton guilty of any criminal act? Do you think he has received – or felt – immense pressure from congressional oversight committees not to whitewash her actions?

The answer to both questions, in my view, is “You bet!”

Do any among you remember the corrupt uses the FBI was put to – and to which its director supinely agreed - when supposedly “investigating” the behavior of President Richard Nixon in connection with the notorious Watergate Scandal?

Do you think James Comey is not aware of his organization's history and of the behavior of former director L.Patrick Gray who suppressed relevant incriminating documents? Do you think Comey wants to go down in history as just another partisan administration slimeball?

It is obvious to me that he has tried to negotiate a path between the disgrace that might befall him on either side of the ridge on which he walks. But those whose only interest is partisan politics will have none of this. To them, he must help their side win an election or die.

Do any among you remember the American people ignoring the evidence of Nixon's filth in November, 1972 and reelecting him by a huge majority? Do any among you remember Republicans' indignation that he should be in trouble because of a “third-rate burglary?” Do any among you remember Nixon's saying to a national tv audience, “The American people want to know whether their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook.”

This, of course, is what candidate Clinton is saying to the American people without the actual words, i.e., “The FBI director has not found me guilty of a criminal act. Some citizens – but not many – want to know if the Democratic Party presidential candidate is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook!”

So it turns out – two weeks before the election - that Director Comey only recently discovered the existence of thousands of emails, some of which might have a bearing on the character and behavior of candidate Clinton. On the other hand, they might not.

So what should the director do to preserve his integrity, the integrity of his office and not to mistakenly influence the election? He took the only possible prudent course: announce the discovery of the previously unknown emails so that his office could not be accused of a cover-up; made clear that he could not know at this point whether the newly-discovered emails had any significance for the reputation of Hillary Clinton; and caution no such significance should be assumed.

But candidate Clinton, whose non-public unpleasant and vengeful personality has been revealed in many publications, and who has studiously avoided any frank discussion of her use on a private server of government-related matters, when threatened with an unexpected “October surprise,” not from Republicans but from her own party's government employee, has gone on a rampage, followed by the usual “See-no-evil” partisans.

She has effectively notified Director Comey – whose resignation would in any case be expected on a change of administration – that he is gone, a soon-to-be cooked goose.

James Comey never wanted to have to drink from this cup. History – and politics – are cruel.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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