Dislike Comey, Despise Trump

Forgive me if I don’t rise in applause simply because Comey’s revelations are agitating Trump.

Comments: 288

  1. Neither am I, Mr. Blow, in a rush to side with ex-F.B.I. Director James Comey in his cockfight with Donald Trump, each armed with spurs and sharpened beaks aimed at the eyes of the other.

    The plain-sight disaster that we see in the president's tiger-cage match with the F.B.I. and the Justice Department must give the enemies of democracy around the world a blueprint for present and future generations who may, one day, wish to throw off the yoke of state-sponsored suppression, surreptitious or straightforward. "Look," they'll crow, "America tried it and it didn't work."

    Mr. Comey, like previous directors, could have made his professional conclusions (as opposed to his personal ones) behind closed doors. His animus towards Hillary Clinton was obvious from the start. And the dime he dropped on the Madame Secretary 10 days out was a Rubicon he should never have crossed.

    Here's a baseball metaphor: James Comey had to have known that with Trump trailing in the game in the ninth inning, he'd need a last-ditch rally to tie or win the game. James Comey balked in the winning run and ruined our country in the process. Small matter, though, as he's counting out his money and making the rounds, pious Boy Scout in appearance, hand raised high, back ramrod straight.

    And I think President Barack Obama was being polite when he told the Director that he didn't blame him for the election result. It's very difficult for me to be as generous and charitable about James Comey, nation-wrecker.

  2. Perfectly said, as always, Sox!

  3. Too bad that someone who is so right about the Sox could be so wrong about who is causing the decline of the American experiment in democracy.

  4. Comey's actions wrt the Clinton's flawed e-mail mess did not change the general election results.
    The electoral "college" did.

  5. On point with observations as to probable motivations for each villain in this saga of America’s Woes. Great read. Keep up the good work.

  6. Had Comey given into Trump and backed off the investigation into Flynn, Trump would not have fired Comey and the sequence of events leading to the appointment of Mueller as special prosecutor would not have occurred. We still don't know how it will end, but without the firing of Comey, it is possible that no serious investigation into this mess would have occurred.

  7. what? And we can bomb Syria if Assad uses chemicals, but mass starvation, murder, death of 500,000 by bullets etc are no big deal. And we only take 11K Syrian refugees into the US because we care? I don't care if Comey sells zero books. We were investigating Trump before he fired Comey. Not just for obstruction of justice. His lawyer wears a plaid jacket. His whores are complaining. He didn't pay tax. His hair is glue. Crimes against humanity.

  8. "Without the firing of Comey, it is possible that no serious investigation into this mess would have occurred." I agree completely, but doesn't that statement acknowledge that Comey is not so principled as he believes?

  9. No need to applaud Mr. Comey, like him, enjoy his book, or respect his judgment. There is only one important question at this point: "Do you believe Comey is telling the truth regarding his interactions with Trump?"

    I do.

  10. The truth doesn't matter and facts don't matter when it comes to politics. You and I are first and foremost emotional decision-makers. We only use "truth" or facts when convenient. The election had nothing to do with information, truth, or facts. Everyone knew exactly who Trump was/is and they voted for him anyway out of tribalism, fear, cynicism, or whatever. If the Democrats hope to re-take the helm then they better start worrying less about facts and more about emotional persuasion because that's what works.

  11. "Do you believe Comey is telling the truth regarding his interactions with Trump?" Who knows? I am still upset that Comey caused the downfall of Hillary Clinton and did a disservice to this great country. He is neither a sinner nor a saint. A Fox News commentator ( Liz Peek) said this: " Far from being the last honorable man standing, as he surely pretends to be, former FBI Director James Comey has shown his true colors by writing a book that does not serve the best interests of the country or his colleagues.". I agree with her totally even though I am not a fan of Fox news.

  12. Ditto.

  13. History won't be kind to either Trump or Comey. Americans deserved to know that both candidates were under investigation and the reasons why they were being investigated so that we could make an informed decision while deciding who we were going to vote for. The failure to do so has led us to our present situation and was a dereliction of duty by Comey and politicians who stood by and let it happen while saying nothing.

    We can't change the past. Comey can try to explain his side all he wants but nothing he has to say can or will change the current situation. What's done is done.

    What we need to focus on going forward is how we can ensure this never happens again. Hopefully once Trump leaves office, Congress will put country first and pass meaningful legislation that will stop someone who is being investigated for collusion with a foreign power to become president of the United States. Time will tell but historically Congress does eventually do the right thing once the dust settles down.

  14. The last time congress did the right thing was when?

  15. You lost me at, "historically Congress does eventually do the right thing once the dust settles down."

    Often it doesn't settle for decades, other times, not at all. The harm done in the interim cannot be undone.

  16. Mitch McConnell - I hope he has a day of reckoning. He should have stepped forward with President Obama to tell the nation of Russia's attack on our election but he refused, preferring his power to the integrity of America.

  17. Agree with you on this one, though it's 20/20 hindsight. At the time, it was Comey trying to be politically correct in trying not to appear biased against Trump who would have raged against the machine and used it against Hillary & Comey in any case. It was a no-win situation for Comey, but honesty and transparency would have been the best policy even if the result would have been the same. Trump is media savvy enough (apparently his only area of competence) to have worked either scenario to his advantage.

  18. It might have been a no-win politically for Comey but procedurally he had an absolute out: he could have followed Justice Department procedure and kept his mouth shut about the Clinton investigation, as he did about the Trump investigation. Trying to forecast and avoid political heat is a losing game for the head of the FBI and Comey would have done better not to try playing it.

  19. Comey is the exemplar of the law of unintended consequences and, especially, of Moral Vanity. Too little, too late. History will be harsh.
    I'm already there.

  20. Agree. Comey’s impact on the election to help elect Trump is a wonderful example of “moral vanity,” hubris run amuck.

  21. There’s lots of blame to go around.
    1. Russia
    2. Comey
    3. NYT
    4. Bernie Sanders / Jill Stein
    I think it’s time we all do a collective 4th 12 Step inventory and see what OUR part was/is.

  22. So, are we to give Comey a pass for protecting the FBI bad boys in a pro-Trump posse in an act that compromised the integrity of our electoral process? Because the electorate would've swung in Trump's favor if the Weiner emails, however irrelevant to HRC, had been vetted? Not Comey's fault that 30 yrs of GOP smears against HRC made a bankrupt, sleazy, ignorant, absurdly corrupt Putin puppet, barely literate, indecent and grotesque human appear a better choice to a group of voters with similar traits?

  23. Historians will attempt to ascertain which factors had the greatest impact on the election. Comey's actions will be judged harshly, too. It will be a futile attempt to assign blame since all the factors worked together. But, we cannot forget that Trump was put in office by the Electoral College, not by the votes of the majority of Americans, and in the end this peculiarity of our system is responsible.

  24. You should mention Comey’s remarks about Obama and Lynch. He makes her look like Inspector Clouseau and him look clueless. ‘You have such integrity, you brought down the republic, bro. Give me a hug’

  25. "There were many factors that played into the 2016 election result."
    You omitted perhaps the biggest reason of all - the candidate herself was deeply flawed. It is doubtful that Comey swung the election, but for the sake of argument, if he did so, it was only because the remained conflicted voters had to choose between what they viewed as the lesser of two evils. Either way, Americans were not given a candidate with real character.

  26. Yes, Clinton was deeply flawed, and -to me - the emails that made everything worse were the ones revealing the DNC and Clinton campaign people's machinations against Bernie Sanders' candidacy.

  27. The way Clinton was "deeply flawed" was by the incessant repetition of that very phrase by most of the mainstream news media. It originated with Republican assaults on her character and behaviors that were not deep flaws, but were magnified by interminably repeated repetition (if you think that's repetitive, try the accusations against Clinton).

  28. To say that Clinton lost to Trump because SHE was a flawed candidate is to suggest that she wasn't disgusting enough for the voters.

  29. I'm with you Charles, in terms of your feelings for both men.

    Of course, the question of degree is always paramount--and you nicely define the distinction.

    There's another distinction I make that maybe will resonate with some. While I dislike Comey and think him a bit of a grandstander--a bit priggish, too, I admit--I have no doubt that he is essentially honest.

    But the president? If I had to choose true or false for whatever pops out of his too often open month, I'd choose false every time (statistics would likely give me a 85% or 90% "correct" ratio).

    I will watch the interview, not because I expect to learn anything I don't already know but because I want to be knowledgeable when Trump blasts his way into tomorrow as he undoubtedly will.

    I think it's fair to say that these two men are likely the only ones unpopular with 100% of the population.

    But of course, "unpopular" covers a multitude of sins. As you say, it's a very long way from "dislike" to "despise."

  30. In response to another column, I pointed out that while I have issues with Comey, between Comey and Trump, there is only one who I believe is (1) Sane, and (2) honest. I don't think I have to spell it out more than that.

  31. Why limit yourself to Americans? Most of the WORLD despises Trump but cares little about Comey.

  32. While this is all true, the offenses are orders of magnitude different in evil intent, effect, and result. But then, I guess I have to give it to Charles here--so are "dislike" and "despise."

  33. I agree with you, but wonder if this book - which I hope will be a best seller - isn't prompted by the pricklings of conscience, as Comey ponders what he may have done to his country.
    While I'm not a fan of Comey, some of his observations of Trump are telling and may stick in the public imagination, like the one where he likens the current president to a mob boss demanding loyalty from all around him.
    The book - a form of penance - will also make him some money. O.K. if it helps to get the truth out.

  34. Exactly.

  35. I'll go with paraphrasing Shakespeare: "a plague on both their houses." Mr. Comey's decision was based on his vanity and self-righteousness: he knew that if Hillary won, he'd be reviled by the Republicans if he failed to disclose the renewed investigation. He also knew that the New York FBI office was probably leaking information to the Trump campaign through Rudy Giuliani. So, to protect his own reputation, he decided to ignore the policies regarding publicly discussing investigations of politicians just before an election - but only for Hillary Clinton's situation.

    An author once said "Reputation is what other people think about you - integrity is what you know about yourself." I expect Mr. Comey knows that he has no integrity.

    As to Donald Trump, his reputation as a liar and a con artist is well established, as anyone who paid tuition to Trump University can verify.

  36. You contradict yourself by commenting on what you believe Comey knows about himself. You are stating what YOU believe about Comey.

    Besides which, I very much disagree with you.

  37. John, I question that Shakespeare would find Comey's weaknesses in the same league as Trump's. You sir are not paraphrasing but misappropriating.

  38. So it's quite possible that the man Trump detests is the man who got him elected. The irony is exquisite.

  39. Trump detests SO MANY people that this one irony is hardly worth noting.

    How about Sessions? Trump detests Sessions, who certainly did NOT help get him elected.

  40. Exactly!

  41. Avatar: Make no mistake - the Electoral College got Trump elected!

  42. Charles, you mentioned voter suppression as.one of the factors which affected the 2016 election. You left out manipulation of voting machines.

    A right-wing rolling coup has been taking place since the passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2002, a truly Orwellian name. Through carrot and stick most of the country had electronic voting machines by November of that year.

    Mark Crispin Miller: Can U.S. Elections Really Be Stolen? Yes. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NxXKr2hKCz0

    "Election theft in the U.S. today involves an enormous one/two punch. Step one, and this uis permissible to talk about, involves shrinking the pool of eligible voters. The second step, the crucial step in a way, the very precise step, the one we're not allowed to talk about is computerized election fraud. So once you have limited the pool of eligible voters then you are able through computerized voting machines to fiddle with the numbers. The system is computerized and privatized. Private companies tell us what the vote is. And we have no way to check it, we have no way to tell if it's honest, that's the real danger here."

    The political landscape would be vastly different at the state and national level if we had honest elections. Exit polls indicate that Trump did not win the Electoral College.

    Theodore de Macedo Soares: 2016 Presidential Election https://tinyurl.com/lcdltjc

    Jonathan Simon: Donald Trump Warned of a 'Rigged' Election, Was He Right?https://tinyurl.com/yb86pcpg


  43. Thank you again RLS. You are a national resource. Paper ballots!

  44. Mark Crispin Miller on reforming the election system:

    “There are some very realistic and feasible solutions to this horrific problem, solutions that other countries have used. We need hand-counted paper ballots, ballots counted out in the open. We need to get rid of computerized voting. We need to get rid of the private interests involved in the system. We need people to be registered automatically on their birthdays. And we need to make Election Day a national holiday. These are certain basic reforms that are possible, that we can do, and that will actually return this country to its people.”

    Mark Crispin Miller: Can U.S. Elections Really Be Stolen? Yes. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NxXKr2hKCz0

  45. To RLS ~ I appreciate your continued comments on the vulnerability of computer voting. I believe you and count me in the camp that doesn't believe djt just happened to win MI, WI and PA, that gave him the EC by a mere 77,000+ votes. As John Lewis stated after the election our current president is illegitimate.

  46. Even James Comey’s defense of his announcement concerning the reopening of the Clinton email investigation is inadequate. His letter was intentionally worded in such a way as to cast maximal doubt onto Clinton just before the election. Yet no University of Chicago trained lawyer of his deep experience would have drafted that letter without the intent to harm Clinton. Any second-year lawyer would have learned to draft a better letter within their first year of legal practice at a firm. Moreover, Comey very well knew that the additional email could all be reviewed by FBI agents well in advance of the election, and could have been done without any public announcement.

  47. Comey should stop "defending" himself; he needs no defense. He didn't do anything wrong. The people who have done wrong are the Trump & Co syndicate and the Clinton Machine.

  48. If Comey felt compelled to take over the disposition of the Hillary Clinton matter, knowing that any statement would be seen in a political light, he had the duty to reveal the Trump probe. Since he didn’t, the rest of his story is pretty much immaterial. I see no reason to read his book.

  49. I'm pretty sure there is no reason to read his book. The NYT has summarized it quite enough for me and I have other books I want to buy and read.

  50. His excuse was absurd, to the effect that the Clinton investigation was "public," whereas the investigation into "a very few" Americans who might have conspired with Russia (!) was "private," therefore it was ok for him to blab about Weiner's computer 11 days before the election but talking about Russia would have compromised Trump

    At least that's how I heard it. It doesn't make sense.

    Fact: we have actual laws against what Comey did. He was wrong and we're all paying for it.

  51. Actually, I just ordered the book, hoping that if it’s a success (in sales, anyway), that Trump will just be lying again when he tweets that the book is a “failure”. I got it from Amazon, which I usually do not, because just as in this column, I prefer to support even the flawed Bezos empire against Trump’s inane tweets.

  52. If this were any other disagreement between a cop and the civilian authority to which he is subordinate, it wouldn’t merit a single column by anyone other than a local-paper pundit. The way this is being exploited, the sense of propriety and wounded pride of a cop who imposed his OWN bad judgment in a way that materially interfered with a presidential election – far more than any Russian interference – is being interpreted as legitimate when it conflicted with the opposed judgment of his boss, the president of the United States, who fired him, probably for his insistent and demonstrably excessive sense of propriety.

    Trump shouldn’t have had to fire Comey: OBAMA should have fired Comey for his execrably-timed announcements of un-ripe investigations that dreadfully damaged Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy.

    I’ve known a lot of cops in my life, and I have immense respect for those I’ve known; and I expect their views to be VERY stern on issues of propriety. However, I don’t want their views to govern how we live our lives, because we would destroy any practical exercise of individual liberty: THAT’S why we subordinate them to civilian authorities, to avoid fascism.

    Comey demonstrated repeatedly that he put his own rigid sense of propriety above that of his superiors, he was fired for it and he’s trying to re-build a life that vindicates that sense of insistent propriety and the actions he took that got him fired. And he-said/he-said attacks on Trump don’t alter that reality.

  53. The difference is that the civilian authority is corrupt and fired the cop to protect that corruption after asking that cop to turn a blind eye to it. That's why he was fired (as Trump himself admitted to Lester Hold), not because of any excessive sense of propriety. The principle of police subordination to civilian authority isn't designed to protect that.

    Your argument that Obama should've fired Comey for the Clinton revelation is disingenuous. Had he done so, you would've been one of the first to cry "Politics!" just as you would've done had Obama revealed that Trump was being investigated.

    As to he-said, she-said, there is no context between Comey and a Trump who has been shown to be a serial liar.

  54. James Comey is an honest man.

    Trump is a liar.

    That's the reality.

  55. Isn't the truth here that Comey would have never been fired by trump had he pledged loyalty regardless of his own personal sense of propriety. We including Comey are not serfs to trumps monarchy.

  56. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees both Trump and Comey as self-serving pompous jerks, the former more than the latter, but the former not excusing the latter.

    And if we want to help Syrians, let's welcome more of them as war refugees, and get off our high horse about embedded terrorists. Better an outstretched hand than an outstretched bomb.

  57. I like Comey. I don't see reasons I need to dislike him.

    To me, Hillary should bear her own responsibility for her loss.

    She should have worked harder by visiting those states that mattered. She didn't.

    She should have followed the governmental email rules. She didn't. Thus, she was being investigated and gave Republicans an opening to assault her.

    With all her edge as a front runner---gaining more media coverage, easy draw for campaign donation, she couldn't have won against Sanders easily.

    With her profile as Secretary of State, ex-Senator, ex-First Lady, she couldn't have won easily against Trump whose dirty laundry in his checked past could have failed any presidential candidate.

    So for her to blame Comey, it has always been too convenient an excuse for me.

    I learned one thing--people in power who have grown to become entitled always blame others for their own mistakes.

  58. She's always blamed some "other." She even blamed the women (although we've been taught that she is the ONLY woman qualified and the great spokeswoman for all women) for what Bill was doing. Her history of avoiding personal accountability is consistent. And now it's Comey, it's Bernie; it's everybody but her because she was entitled and it was her turn and she was the only woman qualified. Other qualified women should object to that! She silenced Elizabeth Warren and then co-opted her; she co-opted Bernie Sanders, the very man she now blames for her loss (and Comey). She never criticised Bill for his tarmac/airplane visit to Lynch for a little chat. I am disgusted that Trump is the President, but that doesn't make me regret that Hillary is not. We need to do much, much better than corporate shills and self-enriching oligarchs - and most certainly better than con-men racketeers! There are many hard and bad lessons in this whole sorry era and one of them is that we must be much better, smarter, less easily conned, voters!

  59. I strongly agree with May MacGregor.
    I disagree with Mr. Blow.
    In spite of Comey's mistakes, for Mr. Blow
    to mention him in the same sentence with
    "President" Trump is inappropriate.

    Trump has brought nothing but shame to the
    office of the Presidency.

  60. I agree with @May here, as well. I supported Hillary, but understood that there were problems. One Hillary supporter called me a sexist for bringing up those problems. But I supported Hillary in 2008, and caucused for her. How am I a sexist?

    The reality is statistical. Nate Cohn was projecting roughly a 90% probability of a Clinton win, of which I was somewhat cautious. But a week or two before the election, he announces that, oh, BTW, there are 29 million votes that the analysis didn't include. These are the non-voters in the 2012 election.

    So what to do? Simply assume that the voting distribution for *these* voters is the *same* as for the voting population. Thus, assume that, if they were to come out, then they wouldn't change the 90% projection for Hillary, in the Bayesian projection.

    But if these non-voters *didn't* vote for Obama, an exceedingly charismatic guy, they weren't going to vote Democrat in 2016. Bannon, OTOH, knew that, if he could pull 5 million or so of them, he might be able to swing the election. Enter Cambridge Analytica... and Fox News.

    Then there is the Comey testimony, that only highlighted the suspicions of anti-Hillary people; as @May points out, Hillary brought a lot of this onto herself.

    The real question to answer is, how did the G.O.P. nominate the worst possible candidate out of 17 primary challengers? The G.O.P. is broken. Until it gets fixed, we'll be suffering through more of this.

  61. Comey's crushing announcement of what appeared to be new evidence against Hillary wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been looking in the mirror and thinking only about himself and his reputation for (fantasy) fairness. Not for actual fairness, which would have involved sharing the information that both candidates were being investigated or keeping quiet about both. He has not been able to come to terms with the deadly result of his decision. He may be the boy scout to Trump's Don Corleone but they both have in common that the image in the mirror holds a power of enchantment over them that life in the world of consequences can never match. Each in his way is a world-destroyer and a blamer of others while the man in the mirror can only be perfect.

  62. Freyda, a beautifully written comment!

  63. Well, what with the United States being "the indispensable nation" (Madeleine Albright), and not a few of the citizens of this nation thinking so highly of themselves ("American Exceptionalism", "USA! USA!"), perhaps some exceptional souls will rise to the occasion and become POTUS and FBI Director.

  64. In a way, the premise that both Comey and Trump are flawed is akin to the premise that both Clinton and Trump were flawed. Let there be no doubt that Mrs. Clinton's errors were not in the same galaxy as Trump's.
    We have an opportunity to hear out an account of how Trump abused power. Let's not allow a wrong analogy again let Trump look more acceptable than he is (which is, not at all).

  65. Hillary was no mother Theresa, but pretty close. As close as you can get in politics.

  66. The word out of the Republican camp is that establishment Republicans, if such a thing still exists, are afraid of Trump because his base loves him. They were afraid of Trump when he ran his ignorant, rant and hate filled campaign for president, fearful that he would mock or demean them personally. Remember the days when 46 ranking Republicans said, prior to the election 'never Trump!', understanding the danger of unleashing a reckless loose cannon on the nation.

    Where are the unified Republican voices now crying out for the removal of the Pontificating Putz, a gangster wannabe, serial adulterer and multiple bankrupt and incompetent.

    How many of us would have believed two years ago that we would have a 'president' who is trash talking via Twitter every day. Unlike James Comey, I am far more than 'mildly nauseous' that Comey’s interference in the election just 11 days prior to the election of president let the steam and momentum out of Hillary Clinton's campaign, almost certainly costing her the election.

  67. "Republicans, if such a thing still exists, are afraid of Trump because his base loves him."......And what does it say about the intellect and moral character of those who support Trump? To me that is the most discouraging part of this whole sordid episode - that democracy is doomed to failure because the general public on which it depends is so collectively uniformed and dumb.

  68. And, I would add, so easily influenced.

  69. Where are the Republicans? Counting their haul from the tax bill — their core value.

  70. I would venture a guess that Comey generally sees few gray areas, in the pursuit of wrongdoers, and is used to judging who counts as a wrong doer.

    His "transparent " public announcement about the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's email arrangements in July 2016 was, I think, far more damaging than the bombshell in October heralding the investigation of the Weiner computer emails. All that people who were undecided or opposed to Hillary heard Comey say back then was that she violated laws but wasn't prosecuted -and we hear it thrown at her over and over. His insinuating phrase that there was "evidence of potential violations" implied guilt. Given that no charges were brought, publicly chastising the woman who was a candidate for President publicly was arrogant, and issued as a critical time.
    I think Comey WAS genuinely troubled by his dilemma in October, but he seems to miss that he should have misgivings about what amounted to a public attack on HRC at the beginning of the race.

    Yet he is not in anyway comparable to Trump. Imagine the absurdity of examining a single Trump episode to plumb his ethical consistency. Hah.

    Comey is flawed but has served honorably in his positions; he genuinely regards fraud and misuse of position as reprehensible. Contrast this to Trump, who uses his position to demand applause and reap personal gain, while intentionally encouraging hate to exploit divisions in the body politic, no matter what the cost to the country.

  71. Did Comey make a mistake with Hillary? Sure. But that doesn't come close to the way in which Trump has sullied the Presidency and our nation.

    Comey, clearly a principled man with a body of work that can't be derided, made a judgement call that he might prefer to retract at this point. Trump has no body of work, other than that of an unprincipled real estate sleaze. There is absolutely no comparison.

  72. True; there's no comparison between the two men. But Mr. Blow's point is that we have Trump in large part BECAUSE of Comey's poor judgment or his unwarranted interference in an election. Trump is the albatross hanging from Comey's neck.

  73. If you believe the Clinton revelation so close to the election was a mistake, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

  74. A "principled man" who made a "judgement call?" You must be kidding.

    His "judgment" was to break all rules and procedure and do something entirely UNprincipled because he egotistically conflated his personal self-interest and the interests of his agency with the national interest.

    If that were "principled," Trump would be Gandhi.

  75. The timing of Comey's book stinks just as badly as that of his selective pre-election revelations. I predicted in another post that spilling his guts would be a gift to trump. Sure enough, not only the trump propaganda machine but the Republican Party itself have mounted a full-blooded campaign to smear him.

    Frankly, I don't care one way or another about Comey's reputation, but the trump and company are hard to beat when it comes to the black arts of misinformation and disinformation. Comey set himself up as a convenient target, but their real objective is to manipulate the public, Goebbels style.

  76. In my opinion, all of the "he said/she said" books written by politicians only enrich the writer and enrage a portion of the general public.

    Who was the first president to cash in on his presidency?

    As I recall, it was Clinton, but I could be wrong. Definitely no one before Regan,


  77. Comey was always going to be in a no-win situation, regardless of who won. It is wrong to equate the Clinton investigation with the long-running Manafort/Trump investigation. They're not equivalent.

    The email scandal should have been put to bed before Secretary Clinton left State. It wasn't. It was allowed to fester and grow past the Democratic primary, when it could have long ended.

    Candidate Clinton never addressed the issues raised by all of the leaked emails - not only Podesta's. She should have. Much of the material that was leaking on almost a daily basis spoke directly to campaign issues people cared about. She should have defended herself on the issues, vigorously, rather than say nothing.

    She knew she'd run for president in 2016. Why even run her own email server for State Department business?

    Comey did his job. In many ways, he and many former prosecutors and sitting judges continue to do a job this nation needs pushing back on Trump's false narratives and attempts at hiding the truth.

    The 2016 election should have been Hillary's landslide. With all due respect, Comey's impact does not account for the difference between landslide and defeat.

    We need to focus -both- on the things Trump is doing while we aren't looking AND on new information on Trump's corruption.



  78. A 3 million vote superior tally might have been a landslide victory.

  79. Rebecca,

    The US has an electoral college voting system in place, and not a popular vote system. Continuing to conflate the overall number of votes, rather than sufficient votes in each state, is akin to following the rules for playing poker and claiming a win at a game of chess.

  80. I think that Clinton did a poor job defending herself. That has always been her weak spot. She forgets that she's vulnerable because she's Bill's wife, what she did for him when he was in office, and the fact that his reputation is associated with her. It may not be fair but that's how it works.

    What we need to remember is that Clinton was seen as the inevitable candidate and president after Obama. That led to overconfidence on her part. She ran a less vigorous campaign because she and her staff assumed that Trump couldn't get the votes. How wrong they were and we're paying for it now.

  81. Put the blame squarely where it belongs. Clinton Kaine ran an painfully awful campaign. From the summer before the election it was almost exclusively dependent on tearing down Trump (as if he needed any help) rather than discussing what they would do for our country. She is nearly as much to blame for the election of Trump as the citizens that voted for him.

  82. What is true is that the media only covered Clinton when she was criticizing Trump. When she talked about policy the cameras were shut off. Policy does not gin up ratings, you see. And there are a long list of factors including millions of Russian bots aimed at getting people to despise Hillary Clinton (how did that work, you think?) and some forty million eligible voters who decided to stay home that contributed to the travesty we now have as national government.

  83. She did not run an awful campaign. And 4 million more Americans voted for her than trump. Nice of you to ignore Comey, voter suppression, the Electoral College, Sanders, and Stein. Your misogyny is showing or is it just plain old envy and bias against a candidate that Pres. Obama said was the best equipped person to be president of the United States he had ever known? And that candidate happened to be a woman.

  84. No, a political lifetime of being demonized, misogyny, Sanders/Stein, Russian interference, Comey's 11th hour email bombshell that was a nothingburger yet no disclosure that the F.B.I. had opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election, and yet Clinton still garners 2.9 million more votes. Your argument is hollow.

  85. As if you've never made mistakes. I believe that Comey did everything he did with as much integrity as most humans, especially those with power, can muster. Like he himself said, that thought that he influenced the election is nauseous to him, so he wasn't thinking about that, and whether you disagree with him or not, I think that's all you can expect from most humans and it's better than him overthinking it.

    In terms of the past, we have to live the world we're presented with. There's no changing it. The current and future choices are all we have.

  86. In 2004 Mr. Comey rushed to the bedside of the Attorney General Ashcroft to make sure he wasn't persuaded to sign approval of an illegal public surveillance program. For that he should be forgiven for mishandling Mrs. Clinton's email revelation. His handling of her email situation did not swing the election imo. There were other stronger factors to blame for the tragedy of a Trump presidency.

  87. It would be a courtesy to all to stop referring to Comey's last dance with the emails as "before the election". It was, it really was, during the election process. At least in Texas early voting was going on during these announcements. I suspect that this state and others have not, do not, and will not allow voters to change votes after they are cast. For some strange and unknown reason his dance is somehow seen in DC and in much of the media as some how not during the actual election. It was during the Presidential election!

  88. James Comey won’t get any money from me. From the excerpts published before the book’s release, it appears that he has nothing new to add to what we already know about Trump. More importantly, I suspect that Robert Mueller, whose position in the investigation is most significant, already knows whatever Comey has to say. I doubt very much that the book will change anyone’s mind about Trump. Those who already think he is unfit for office need no further confirmation beyond what Trump has already given; those who still support Trump will continue to do so and regard the book as fabrication and self-serving. And if the publicity over the charges and responses by Comey and Trump mask the current actions of the administration, it may actually harm more than benefit the American people.

  89. The point you left out is that those who still support Trump are WRONG and are morally unfit to ever vote again.

  90. And unlike you, even though there may be "nothing new to add" in his book, I bought the book as the only way to vote FOR Mr. Comey because I think he is a fine public servant and a decent man who is being maligned from all corrupt comers and why? I suspect it's because corrupt con-artists cannot bear to see and hear a man with moral integrity speak the truth about them. I consider the purchase of his book a vote for him even though there is no way the Clinton Machine will ever allow him to run for any office and the Trump Crazy Cotton Candy Machine will keep spinning out lies ad nauseum. I wish I could buy a lot of his books just to say thanks to a pretty darn fine American.

  91. " neither of whom I hold in high esteem"
    Neither of whom has strong character either. I cannot believe that a former FBI director would be calling the sitting president of this great country" a serial liar" who treats women like "meat" etc. Comey even said that Trump reminded him of "Gambino mob boss". What more can you say? Are we living in a banana republic? If a previous FBI director is making those comments about the current president of this country, how do you expect any world leader to take our president seriously and give him any respect he deserves?. This is disgusting. It is ironic that without this man Comey, Trump would not have become president of this country. This country is not going to forgive Comey for his 'service" (sin).

  92. Mr. Comey seems like someone who is on this Earth to speak the truth. He does that, and we would all be better off if more people did.

    Blaming him is childish. He did his best with an awful situation. He did not break the rules by making an Easter egg hunt out of his government emails, and he did not cast a vote for Donald Trump or force anyone to do so. It is as simple as that.

  93. The things he said about HRC’s conduct was just as bad! Shame on him!

  94. Newsflash: very few rational people outside the United States ever had any respect for DJT before the election and nothing has changed. What has changed is the world's opinion of the U.S presidency and the United States itself: contrary to DJT's ramblings, it is he, himself, that has made both a farce and a joke in the eyes of the world. Not many of us are laughing, though. We're horrified at the dysfunction and the abrogation of U.S. leadership in the world. I think it may be hard to impress upon Americans how much damage your global reputation has suffered because of DJT's presidency.

  95. My bottom line is that same as Blow's; I don't really like Comey but I too despise Trump.

    Blow, of course, is wrong to claim he hasn't picked sides. He HAS, exactly the same as I have.

    I'm angry enough and honest enough to want to see Comey inflict as much damage on Trump as is humanly possible given the circumstances.

    Calling Trump a liar isn't even worth the effort. Trump clearly IS a serial liar, no ifs ands or buts about it. Comey is an imperfect human, as we all are. But calling him a serial liar is equally pointless because he definitely IS NOT!

    This looming battle is very unequal and very pointless because most of the Trump loyalists will love Trump to the death and nothing less than a lot of direct and intense pain inflicted directly on those loyalists will change their minds. Trump will do that for us and Comey cannot and will not.

    Anybody with a shred of honesty has already choosen Comey in all this and Trump cannot change those minds either.

    Who is even left? This is looking like it will be WW I trench warfare carried out in the mainstream press and the social media. The former are among the honest and the social media have now been deeply discredited.

    Prepare to be very bored.

  96. There's a huge difference between disliking and despising, Mr. Blow. (I've disliked Hillary but voted for her anyway). In any case, Mr. Comey did, in fact, make some awfully bad decisions during the run-up to the election but he's never been known to be an outright liar. The Donald, on the other hand, lies as he breathes. In a contest of he said/he said, is there any question as to whose version of the truth most of us are likely to accept?

  97. Assad is a monster, and many more civilians in Syria have died from barrel bombs that chemical weapons attacks.
    However, those facts have nothing to do with Trump's sudden decision to bomb Assad's forces. The President now "cares" about Syrian atrocities because his approval ratings are poor, and advisors have reminded him that bombing campaigns where Americans do not die raise any president's approval rating. Even his.

    I agree with you, Charles, that Comey forfeited the right to be called a hero since his dark innuendos about Clinton emails 11 days before the election. And for the first time in my life I agree with Chris Christie, in that such a calculation is out of line for a public servant.

    Unfortunately, we are still stuck with a monster in the White House. We rein him in by defeating his Republican Congressional enablers in November, almost all of whom have either kept their mouths shut or given Trump the Sieg Heil for 15 months.

    After the Democrats take control of Congress next year- or at least the House- we will find out what they are made of. There are still a bunch of them who support pipelines, Wall Street, Lockheed, and the other dark forces that have wormed their way into our government.

    Yeah, they are better than Republican Congressmen. Let's avoid the bait and switch to a more subtle form of corporate plutocracy, and take our country back for the people- and the future of life on earth.

  98. Comey did not forfeit anything. He has the right to speak up and to defend himself.

  99. Beautifully said, Mike. Thank you.

  100. The reasonable fear is that when Democrats take the House (and maybe the Senate, too) we WILL "find out what they are made of" and we won't like it. Little they have done provide the least confidence. But they are all we have, so ok...IF the elections aren't tampered with again.

  101. Comey made a point that really stuck with me in that he argues that the American people must render the final verdict on Trump. As much as we want Trump to be removed from office yesterday, the impeachment process nor the 25th Amendment cannot match the wrath of the people at the voting booths to not only deliver the verdict to Trump but also show a thorough rejection of Trumpism.

  102. His ratings are rising - and that's even before he bombed somewhere.
    He will have 43% approval by next week I guarantee it.
    So please stop deluding yourself that America is a 'great country'.
    It's a racist, bigoted, religious, violent, nauseating country led by an odious fascist who has the support of nearly half of it's people even now - and the whole world can see right through the sham.

  103. Assuming that an election is not affected by Russian efforts or those of any other entity that would deprive Americans of a free and honest election.

  104. Ironically, although Mr. Comey himself seems to be a and honorable person, the agency he headed had as its first director a man who was surely one of the most morally unfit persons ever to work in government.

  105. The country has made much progress since then, and as a result so have many of its institutions, including the FBI. While none of our institutions are perfect, we need them to strive to be, and they need our support to get closer.

  106. J. Edgar Hoover has been dead for decades.

  107. Yes, Comey made serious mistakes during the 2016 election campaigns, but I find his explanation acceptable. Nate Silver's conjecture, "If Comey's decision . . . influenced by his interpretation of the polls" is not likely to be accurate: no, the polls and the media coverage, and the unlikelihood of a lowlife like Trump becoming president were all in the background, not a conscious and unseemly "interpretation". Comey did facilitate Trump's election, and that will always stand against him, but like so many of us he never realized that Trump could actually become president. (I don't say Trump won the election because all we really know is that he won the vote count for the electoral college; I don't trust the count without paper ballots.) Comey wanted the election to be legitimate and felt he had a duty to that legitimacy. He was wrong, but he is still a truth teller, unlike Trump.

    It is not a matter of who you like, but who you believe.

  108. If you don't trust the election process in 2016 for Trump....then why was it legal or OK for Obama? Why aren't Obama's wins dismissed as "probably fake"? I mean, if the voting process is THAT distorted and dishonest -- if hackers can so easily flip voting machines -- then why is ANY election in the last 18 years respected?

  109. Are you saying Comey was truthful about HRC’s reckless conduct? I am sorry I voted for her now.

  110. Should read: "It is not a matter of WHOM you like, but WHOM you believe."

  111. I agree Donald Trump is not a man that deserves respect. While it might be true that the current president does not deserve respect, the office of the presidency does. Comey is not going to be considered a man of character or integrity after releasing this book. After reading all those vulgar, disgusting comments about the sitting president of this country who is going to respect Mr.Comey? Why this hurry in releasing his book?Mr. Comey could have waited in releasing this book until Trump is out of office.

  112. The office of the presidency and the person who holds the position in the office are two separate entities. Denigrating the individual in office, does not denigrate the office. However, the individual in office can denigrate the office, as we are witnessing.

  113. You are conflating the 'office of the president' with the person who sits in that position. Trump has violated nearly all identifiable norms of the presidency and thus has not earned the respect that the official role should be given.

  114. There's no such thing as an "office of the presidency" that's separable from the people who occupy it. The office is a platonic abstraction. The reality is a succession of presidents, none of whom is ever really up to a job that brings with it far more responsibility and far more power than any single human being should be allowed to have. I welcome Trump's awfulness, since it may eventually lead Americans to reconsider the terms of this elective monarchy that absorbs so much of their attention. But Americans hostile to Trump should also bear in mind the fact that much of what they despise about him consists of matters of style rather than content. The style is, less us say, less than top-drawer. But the content is really not very different from the content of every administration at least since FDR: undeclared wars, arbitrary exertions of authority at home and abroad, stealthy enlargement of presidential powers, bypassing of congress, etc. Mr. Trump removes the mask of dignity from the reliably ugly face of power, and we should be grateful for the revelation.

  115. I just watched the interview on TV, which was about 50% commercials. Comey had many opportunities to stand up to Trump before and after he was sworn in. He did not. Each time he wimped out. As the head of the FBI, you would think he could have looked Trump in the eye and flat out told him, "Sir, this is wrong. We can't have this conversation." And then terminated the encounter. I would in a heartbeat. No job is worth passively participating in illegal procedures, especially if you are the nation's top cop. He could easily get a great job somewhere else.

    Comey keeps talking about integrity and honor and all that good stuff, but none of that mattered when the battle was joined. Instead, he backed down and tried to dance around Trump.

    In this sense, Comey made Trump. Comey gave Trump the power to manipulate him.

    That is exactly how bullies operate and Trump is a master at bullying. Comey's passivity makes him complicit in Trump's abuses.

    Comey is essentially a career political game player. He knows how to survive in big bureaucracies. That was his failing. He tried to play the game instead of standup for the law he claims to love.

    Trump, on the other hand, only cares about himself. Trump has no allegiance to any code of values except winning. Trump is truly morally bankrupt. He will do anything he wants if he thinks he can get away with it. Comey let him get away with it. So yes, dislike Comey, despise Trump.

  116. Bruce, I usually agree with you but here I don't. I see nothing wrong with Comey's behaviour. He was interacting with a newly elected President. Anyone would try to give him the benefit of the doubt and probably wouldn't challenge him to his face then and there but watch and see how things develop. He was being understandably circumspect. Comey was also aware of J. Edgar Hoover's legacy and that too may have enhanced his inclination towards cautiousness. I think Comey explained himself and it was perfectly reasonable. Why are people even wasting time criticising him. Who cares? He's clearly honest. Hillary really should've been so far ahead in the race that she could've weathered any storm created by Comey's announcement. The sad fact is, she wasn't. The problem is even entering into a comparison debate between the characters of Comey and Trump. It always ends up legitimising Trump in some twisted way. These two men are as different as chalk and cheese and really shouldn't be compared.

  117. I agree with you Bruce. The courageous Mr. Comey, in this critical situation, demonstrated a definite lack of moral courage when he failed to immediately tell the President the conversation as well as the one on one meeting itself, was inappropriate, simply wrong and ended the impromptu meeting forthwith. Not doing so is a contradiction to the 'right is right' and 'wrong is wrong' image he is trying to project. Instead he seems to have either been flummoxed by the encounter as he implies, or he finessed a deliberately equivocal response to preserve future options. I disagree with you regarding Trump on one critical point: there is no limiting 'if' in his calculations -- he thinks he actually can get away with 'anything' and so far, he's right.

  118. Some criticism of the Attorney General and the Vice President should not be forgotten they saluted and left the room. I suppose Comey’s curiosity got the best of him.

  119. Comey's statement that his judgement on announcements related to the Clinton investigation included consideration of their impact on her anticipate presidency astonished me. That wasn't his job. I sincerely wish he had accepted that.

  120. He was in one of those situations where he was doomed to being a scapegoat no matter how he decided. Why not blame Wiener? He had more to do with the reopening of the email case than anyone. Blame Huma for her bad judgement in staying with her goat of a husband. Blame the voters for being so shallow and lazy in exercising their sacred duty to get the best and support them instead of picking them apart out of habit.

  121. Why doesn't anyone ever actually listen. His concern was the legitmacy (perceived or real) of the Presidency and the Bureau.

    He did not, and said as much, even consider the effect on her election only on her actual PResidency!

    Geesh,,pay attention people> ANd MAybe that IS th ISSUE he should have!

  122. Nate Silver seems out of his element commenting on this and similar issues, so I am not sure why he is quoted here. This has nothing to do with data analysis, and it is too easy to fall into the trap of inserting political bias into one's analysis when there is no data to lean on and your calling card is relying on data. No shame in that, but he is not speaking from any authority on this topic.

    Who is to blame for Comey's actions? Clearly the Clintons top the list. I do not think Comey had much choice but to do almost exactly what he did. Since he sent a second letter clearing Clinton, it seems far-fetched to conclude that the first letter had a huge impact, but the one closer to the election did not. People looking for an excuse to vote for Trump or to explain their vote would always have found something to latch on to, and perhaps many latched on to this.

    Chemical weapons are uniquely bad in some respects - people hiding and children are especially vulnerable to them unlike conventional explosives. If the Western powers do not intervene, this sends a terrible signal.
    We love to blame Republicans for indulging conspiracy theories, but to suggest the British and French launch missiles for Trump's political benefit is a step away from Pizza Gate. I may dislike Donald Trump more than most readers here, but seeing every thing he does as calculating evil only diminishes one's own credibility when there is actual evil to call out, and sadly, there seems to be plenty of that.

  123. Great comment.

  124. Yeah, polling and data analysis have absolutely nothing in common.


  125. The second letter had little impact.

    It is much easier to smear someone than to clear them. The stain remains.

  126. Can Nate Silver or anyone report polling showing Comey cost HRC more votes in the 3 critical states, in particular, and the national vote, as a whole, than Stein and Sanders did?
    Where can we see any evidence that Comey cost HRC more than the Russky web gaming did? I ask because while everyone knows Comey erred terribly, no one has hazarded how to measure the effects of his action, awful as it was, and way too many believe they know that, a priori, he must have cost HRC the election. I suspect he may have, but where is the evidence? Start by looking at the Stein and Sanders anti-HRC votes in the 3 pivotal states. Meanwhile, let's ponder Charles' superb column, a delight even without the analysis I need to be certain of his conclusion about lost voters.

  127. I throw a book and a shoe into an overladen life boat.

    It sinks.

    Which item was responsible

  128. It's impossible to know how many votes each factor cost.

    But any one of them may have been enough to influence the tiny margin against Clinton in the key states, including Comey's announcement.

  129. What kind of polling could reasonably reveal this?
    Writing the script would be an epic challenge.

    Hello Sir, did you vote for Donald Trump?
    OK, please choose the main reason(s) for your vote:
    -party loyalty?
    -a reopened then closed investigation about email?
    -you find his bigotry appealing?
    -you share his hatred for the rule of law?
    -you are a Russian operative?
    -you own a coal facility?
    -you were just curious what would happen if he won?
    -some other reason?

    If I recall correctly, after the first Comey announcement, the polls shifted towards Trump, and they did not shift back after the second announcement. What that says is unclear, other than one has to question whether the content of the announcements really mattered to anyone.

  130. Charles, I agree with your statement that Comey "is a complicated character, a man of honorable service and flashes of horrendous judgment." But I am still not convinced he cost Clinton the election. Do you know anyone who decided not to vote for Clinton because of the email charges? Do you know anyone who even understands the email charges? No, people who voted against Clinton already hated her for other reasons: staying with Bill or being a woman or for the decades of abuse and attacks from the right wing. Comey's announcement, whatever its motives, did not cost Clinton the election. It was the kind of mistake many of us could have made, and that journalists make all the time.

  131. I keep thinking that, if HC had won the election--as she should have--we would have spent another 4 or 8 years watching her be crucified by the Right, and Congress in continued total gridlock. Perhaps this horror of a president WILL lead to a draining of the swamp...starting with himself, Ryan and McConnell.

  132. Yes, I know several ppl who did NOT vote for HRC precisely because of the email issue. Some refrained from voting for the President at all while others selected a 3rd party candidate.

  133. Changes in the polls show that Comey had a big effect.

  134. "While we may never be able to weigh the factors that contributed to Clinton’s defeat and Trump’s victory, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Comey’s actions were part of them."

    I agree. Since it was so close, if *any* of several factors were eliminated, Clinton probably would have won:

    The anti-woman vote.
    Lack of campaigning in critical areas.
    Comey's announcement.
    The Clintons accepting millions in speaker's fees, much of it questionable.
    The fact of the illegal* email server (*illegal in the opinion of a strongly-Democratic, Harvard-trained, lawyer friend).
    Association with Bill Clinton.

    To borrow a metaphor, many elections are a game of inches. Comey's inch may have made the difference, as did the other factors, above.

  135. You also seem to leave out the Russian disinformation campaign and the inability of Facebook to deal with outrageously false postings and concomitant distribution through social networks.

  136. Sanders did not "promise free stuff for everyone."

    He ran on a New Deal platform, which proposed public financing of health and education through taxation.

    And for the actual election, he exhorted his supporters to vote for Clinton, at least 90% of whom did so.

    If Clinton had run on Sanders' policies she would have won handily.

  137. Sharon5101 and DSmith, You're both right. I did forget Sanders non-voters, and Russian interference, and also Stein voters, as factors. Thanks.

  138. We have good reasons to question - be skeptical of - the genuine motives of both men. Comey did not need to protect or assist Hillary with her presidency by revealing / acknowledging a continuing email investigation. We know Republicans had a laundry list of items they intended to hold investigations on that would disrupt her presidency. Surely someone in Comey’s position knew how Republicans planned to treat Hillary. After missing or ignoring numerous toxic attacks on SyrIans and announcing his desire to pull troops out of Syria, Trump’s sudden interest in a recent attack raises legitimate questions about his sincerity versus desire to distract us. The motives of both men point to their own need to protect themselves rather than any sincere desire to protect Hillary or Syrians. Comey’s motives appear to be shameful. Trump’s motives appear to be abusive of a people tortured and killed by their dictator.

  139. Everyone really needs to start reading about the FBI. Comey's actions were 100% in keeping with FBI behaviour. HE was not worried, nor cared about (to this day) who won the election. ONLY that it did no appear that the FBI was covering.

    IT's simple:

    THe Bureau MUST be protected at all costs!

    This is SOP for every FBI agent I've ever met in my years in gov't.

  140. Kindly provide some support for your assertion that "Comey's motives appear to be shameful." I disagree completely. I think Comey and Bernie Sanders are being scapegoated for the Clintons' inablility to beat this pretender to the throne out of our lives when it should have been the easiest win in Presidential election history. Does no one remember that both candidates were equally disliked by polled Americans? For any legitimate candidate to be as disliked as Trump says a lot about that candidate, and says nothing at all about James Comey. I retain my respect for the FBI and hope they are not destroyed, like Trump and his corrupt minions are destroying the EPA and the environment and Interior, etc. etc.

  141. I agree, plus too little is made of Trumps early announcement he was going to destroy HRC

  142. Comey has transparently acknowledged conflicted thinking and feelings about his duty to disclose the FBI investigation into Clinton's emails. His life record proves he's a deeply reflective man of superlative integrity. I believe in his good intentions and forgive his error in judgment. I don't forgive those who knowingly voted for Trump - that's an unforced error in judgment of monumental proportions.

  143. Superlative integrity? What proves that?

  144. There was no continuing investigation of Clinton's emails. Comey opened up the "possibility," which was entirely inappropriate.

  145. And I find it imaginable that any right thinking person could vote for a corrupt, lying grifter and enabler of a sexual predator like Hillary. I was never pro-Trump but decidedly Never Hillary. While Trump's conduct has been disappointing, I do not regret voting against Hillary.

  146. I remember things a bit differently. Trump and Fox News had already brainwashed about 40% of voters that the election was rigged so Clinton would win, even warning his supporters they might need their guns to get a fair result.

    Both Obama and Comey were somewhat cornered by Trump's rhetoric, his supporters gullibility and the GOP's refusal to inform the public that Russia had launched a very effective disinformation campaign to influence the election outcomes.

    What in the world could either have said or done so that the Republican propaganda machine would not
    have been able to convince many Americans that the fix was in for Clinton? Not much.

    After months of the MSM repeating 24/7 every word Trump said about fake news, a DC swamp filled with only Clinton supporters and a rigged vote count apparatus already in place, both Obama and Comey erred in a way that favored Trump, believing Clinton would win anyway and that sanity would prevail, in the end. It didn't happen.

    The outcome was disastrous but that was not the intent of President Obama or Director Comey. Their intention was to guard the nation against the capture of our country by a compulsive lying, raving lunatic con artist bent on destroying our democratic values, norms and institutions.

    I detest, deplore and despise Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Focus on them and vote them out of office in 2018 & 2020.

  147. There was no valid reason for Comey to falsely imply that the investigation into Clinton's emails might be re-opened, especially at that crucial time.

  148. I agree with Mary Scott. Have we so soon forgotten the foam coming out of the mouths of the likes of Trey Gowdy, Jim Jordan, and other Republicans about the Hillary emails and Benghazi? If Trump had lost the election, we would be mired in endless Republican-led investigations into our newly elected President. The clamor coming from the right would be unbearable. Add to that the implication that the FBI found new emails on Houma Abedin's computer (accessible to Anthony Weiner) less than 2 weeks before the election and did not disclose this to the American public, and the outrage on the right would have rendered a Clinton Presidency impotent. Comey had no good choices, but because he thought Clinton would win the election, he chose what I think he believed was the best course of action going into 2017 with President Clinton in office. In hindsight, perhaps this was not the best choice. But it is unclear to me now, as I am sure it was to Comey then, what better choice presented itself at that time.

    It is plain to me that Comey's and Trump's actions are nowhere near equivalent.

  149. I agree that the Republican propaganda machine made it difficult to convince many Americans that the election was already "rigged" in favor of Trump. You have to give them credit for the effectiveness of their message. The Democrats have to come up with their own effective message. I have one: "Where are the tax returns?" Dems should say it every day, all day long until November 2018 and 2020.

  150. Mr. Blow: Thanks for accurately summing up the Comey-Trump situation.

  151. Thank you, Mr. Blow. I agree that you have accurately summed up the Comey-Trump situation. What I may never understand is why it is not possible to hold Comey responsible for his actions.

    Nevertheless, we must get rid of or change the Electoral College so that the popular vote winner in a presidential election is legally the President. Never again can it be acceptable for the popular vote loser to be named President.

  152. James Comey made mistakes. Even at the time, we can see why he made those mistakes. No point in having him be held responsible for what are clearly mistakes.

  153. The crux is in your second paragraph. Never again win popular vote, and lose election because of archaic, racist holdover Electoral College, which failed this latest time to prevent one of the good things it was designed for--prevent an unfit candidate from occupying the office of President.

  154. Comey has made many mistakes as Charles Blow discusses but he is not a savvy political person and operated out of conclusions that he thought made sense at the time even though their fallacy is easy to see now. There is no comparison with the president and his unforgivable behavior for months and months and undermining of the rule of law in this country.

    Comey has spent his whole life dedicated to upholding the law in this country and clearly cares about what is happening now and is speaking up. The president seems to have obstructed justice when he fired Comey.

  155. The FBI has never been about "upholding the law," but about protecting the interests of the ruling class.

    Their biggest target has been left-wing dissenters.

  156. You do not get to become the Director of the FBI if you are not politically savvy. You don't record your meetings, word for word and gesture by gesture, with someone you distrust, if you are unaware of how every interaction will be dissected. His description of his first meeting with Trump - when he wanted to avoid the Tump embrace - show how attuned he was to every nuance.

    And essentially <@ Jerry Engelback is right about the history: the FBI has been a tool usually used to preserve the status quo, with members and leaders highly suspicious of social change, and because of that too often preferring "law and order" and respect for authority over justice. . . . But is Trump so corrupt that he broke the mold?

  157. We should take heart that our country will emerge stronger because the 2016 presidential election and the Trump presidency have severely challenged our institutions -- the same ones that die elsewhere because folks there have long forgotten why these institutions are there in the first place.
    As John Stuart Mill explains, this is the hidden benefit of lively debate -- correct or incorrect:
    “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

  158. I am a democrat and by no means a Trump supporter or Comey apologist. However, let's not forget that the key players of Clinton campaign — Podesta, Clinton, Abedin — all had major lapses in judgement, even if brief. That is the root cause of the electoral map. They, like many reasonable Americans and pundits, had no idea that the other side could capitalize. But that doesn't temper their mistakes.

  159. Clearly Trump has never had a major lapse, right?

  160. The root cause of the electoral map is the Electoral College.

  161. I dont think Mr Blow is being fair to Comey. I think Comey has a valid point about the risks of not disclosing the Clinton email enquiry, What if Clinton won and we found out that the emails DID disclose some crime? It would have been horrendous. And what if Comey disclosed the Trump-Russian investigation before it was completed? Evidence would have been destroyed. Dont forget, the Trump-Russia investigation is no simple thing, it is STILL underway!

  162. You miss the point.

    There was no valid reason for Comey to make public an FBI internal discussion about re-examining the email issue.

    Especially as it led to nothing and did not result in re-opening the investigation.

    It was a false flag that deliberately targetted Clinton's campaign.

  163. In the United States, officials running various agencies under our department of justice must remain impartial and not take into account the political consequences of any action. This is probably Comey's greatest sin, that he felt it was his responsibility to consider the political ramifications, instead of simply sticking to the truth.

    This has been the principal difference between democracy in the United States and third world dictatorships, for the past 200 years. I hope that we can resume these practices when we elect a competent president in 2020.

  164. "It would have been horrendous." As opposed to ....... what's going on now? And "What if" the emails did not disclose any wrongdoing? That would have been ... not horrendous.

  165. Charles, I wholeheartedly share your assessment of Comey. As for the content of his upcoming book, Saturday Night Live indicated that it was coauthored by Captain Obvious! That’s certainly true for all rational people who have been paying attention and are deeply concerned that the limits of our constitutional democracy are being tested as never before.

  166. Thanks again, Charles, for another humorous, uplifting essay. What a way to start the week!

  167. Humorous? I hope that was a joke.

  168. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, especially in desperate times.

    What Comey did to Hillary is past and the Clinton era in the Democratic party is over, now the focus has to be on dismantling Trump and the GOP stranglehold on political power throughout the U.S.

    Comey may not be much help, at this point, but as long as he is battering Trump he is helping to save this country at this point.

  169. I disagree partly with your comment about the Clintons. I think they are very much still in the mix, behind the scenes, working toward party victories in 2018 and 2020 as well as trying to improve their legacy. When you see the name Wasserman-Schultz and Clinton in the upcoming bids for democratic campaigns you will find damage to democratic tickets closely following.

  170. I am looking at the usual litany of reasons Clinton lost to Trump, but Mr. Blow doesn't mention two pretty important ones: trade and lack of likeability. The stands on trade taken by Trump, love him or hate him, during the presidential campaign spoke to the Rust Belt loud and clear. On the lack of likeability -- and I mean Hillary's -- that's real. People overall in this country don't like her very much. The polls during the primary and the general election showed this. Between two disliked candidates, was it Comey or trade? I'll go with trade. People out of work did't care about Comey's letter. They wanted jobs.

  171. The rust belt? Does that include Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, bankers, traders, mine owners, Exxon employees, Vatican loyalists, Evangelical sectarians? No! the "rust-belt" is just another myth.

  172. I wonder how her "lack of likability" would have impacted the election if she were a man?

  173. OK. Jobs, which you equivocate with trade. There are jobs, however, the jobs ain't gonna be in coal or steel or oil or at Carrier. Ya know where the jobs are gonna be? In cleaning up the environment.
    And, if nothing else, Comey's letter reinforced the 'lack of likability.'

  174. I'd say "Racism, xenophobia, misogyny and ethno- and religious hostility *magnified by* economic anxiety." rather than "disguised as" but otherwise fully agree with this column.

  175. If children are taught from the beginning, what they already know in their hearts, that each individual is a PERSON, a human then they will remember not to judge people by race color tribe gender religion. Children only mimic their adults who themselves were conditioned into thinking they are separate from others because of skin color or whatever identity they created for themselves or their societies.

  176. The old saw "my country, right or wrong" does not and never has included the POTUS. When the country has a POTUS whose moral gravitas and integrity are questioned by people who have access to upper echelons of power, attention must be paid.
    Comey may not be a lot of people's cup of tea right now, but there is no way that Trump's cup of tea will not poison us if we drink of it.

  177. We can question the judgement of Comey and condemn Trump for taking the low road and questionable tactics to the highest office in the land, but the fact remains that Mrs. Clinton has displayed staggering lack of judgement at various critical times, be it her support for the Iraq War, the Libyan fiasco, the email server issue and so on.

    As all government employees are required to do, had she used the government provided email services to conduct government business, odds are that we wouldn't be dealing with the chaos that Trump revels in each and every day.

  178. The email issue had blown over when Comey revived it.

    There can be no doubt that his announcement influenced votes.

  179. Yet we hear nothing about the same Secretaries of State who have in fact not been brought before public opinion for doing the very same thing that Clinton did. I am no fan of Clinton and I believed her campaign was soiled to the point of putting the Democratic party in the same pig pen she was in during the campaign. But email servers is hardly the issue today. If we want to discuss the security of our nation and the lack thereof we can see the real problem at present sitting in the Oval Office.

  180. It has been revealed that 45's staff are misusing emails at this very time and the R's who cared so much about Hilary's don't say a word. The hypocrisy is beyond belief!

  181. Hillary lost the election by herself. She was incredibly unpopular, did not represent change, and was upheld by the party elite who could not read the tea leaves. And that is where the blame solely belongs.
    She only got as many votes as she did because she was running against someone who never should have become president. He was the easiest presidential nomination to beat and she even said as much herself.

  182. Ever hear of the Electoral College? Hillary WON the popular vote: her being "incredibly unpopular" is part of the koolaid myth widely dispensed and swallowed. She lost the EC, a slave-state creature designed to protect slave owners.

  183. I voted for HRC specifically because she did not represent change. Rather, she represented a continuation of Barack Obama's successful economic policies that saved us from the collapse of the Bush 2 economy. Once in office, Trump coasted on Obama's restoration of a healthy and booming economy while childishly demonizing Obama. And now Trump is taking steps to cripple anything with Obama's name on it, simply because Obama was ten times the president (and ten times the man) than Trump will ever be.

    As I believe we'll soon see confirmed by the Mueller investigation, Trump won the presidency with plenty of illegal help from well-organized Russian operatives, as well as a feckless Electoral College. After all, if you were Vladimir Putin, who would you rather see in the White House; a highly skilled, seasoned and knowledgeable adversary, or a greedy, amoral incompetent willing to kowtow to anyone who pretends to show him respect?

  184. Interesting point that Hillary is solely to blame. Certainly, "mistakes were made" in the totality of the Democratic campaign. However, the electorate's perception of Hillary and its perception of the pres. (both which I believe was misjudged, and largely by one side) is what decided the election and not the candidates (each of which only has one vote) themselves. And then there is the sexism factor, which is hardly spoken about.

  185. The exposure of Trump's past, allows the public to litigate this President. Someone, like Comey, on the Republican side, with power, and experience in other Presidencies, provides perspective. Trump's power is real, hence the silence of any Republican in Congress to support the former FBI Director's opinions. Which wealthy donor keeps silencing the majority Congress - Mercer-Koch? Trump's "40%" is not enough for this kind of quiet, and dismissal of the "60%." Amazingly, Comey cannot be bought, and that's enough for me. Keep writing and talking, Mr. Comey. No other Republican has the courage. Where is Tillerson's Book? Where is McMaster's Book? Where is Spicer's Book? There is an entire team of experienced Trump individuals who are free to speak truth to power as well. Comey stands alone now, reminding us what government justice must look like in this nation, but not for long. More of Trump's former employees, will start talking. It's time.

  186. Perhaps you should give Tillerson and McMaster a little more time.

  187. Trump is everything we should teach our children not to be. Comey is for all intent a respectable person who made mistakes. No comparison between the two.

  188. Comey is like many whom I have met at the top of government service: essentially civil servants with an utterly tin-ear for politics. This is unfortunate, as they either hold their jobs at the pleasure of, or are required to interact on a policy level with, elected politicians. And we all suffer the unfortunate results.

  189. You seem to believe that the Director the investigative branch of the Justice Department, which, by its very name and nature, should be non-partisan and apolitical, should get involved in politics. Comey should have played footsie with trump? Comey said last night and has said repeatedly, that part of the problem with trump was trump trying to drag him into politics, trump acting inappropriately by speaking with him alone, trump trying to buy both his silence and his soul. Asking him to commit a political sin (and as we know now, a crime) by dismissing the investigation into Flynn.

    Please keep in mind that each and every person in our government IS a civil servant, including the president. They are only there because our Constitution gives us, and only us, the right and benefit to hire them, and they serve at OUR discretion. Comey, who backed away from both parties and is a registered Indy, is correct not to let trump influence justice, because that isn’t trump’s job.

  190. Comey is not a career civil servant. He used his government connections to make MILLIONS at Lockheed Martin and Bridgewater Capital between 2005 and 2013. Now he will make millions off his book, too.

  191. OK. Whatever.
    US economy is humming along (finally)
    Trump’s approval ratings are better than on Election Day.

  192. Tuco of Surfside:
    Opened my 401 quarterly report: down 15K on just one portfolio...5 mo. to a planned retirement. The anxiety level in this country is sky high. Some of us care about more than money, and have a very low opinion of those who care ONLY about money. Some of us in blue states pay taxes which flow to red states only to be labeled as "elites", looked down upon for caring about our country. 45 is your man, I hope you reach your just rewards.

  193. Morally unfit?
    Like Bill C.

  194. So you credit Mr Trump for the economy "humming along" and that makes him alright? Where have you been for the last now 9 years, since 2018? With Trump in charge, where do you expect to be 3 years from now? Can you think beyond the Dow Jones (which may not carry its Obama momentum much further...)?

  195. The hand Russia played in baiting the media and the FBI with the email issue during the campaign may be deeper and more damaging than we may ever know. For much of the campaign, emails became the "breaking news" on television news. Various interviews by network celebrities with Hillary Clinton strangely kept the emails in the forefront. The news professionals at some point learned of the Russian activity and in retrospect, let Trump off the hook. Is it possible that the Russians were clever enough to play the FBI, Comey and TV news like a fiddle? We are nowhere near knowing what damage was done to America. It felt like an attack with unimaginable consequences. If Comey can make amends for his mistakes during the election by helping rid this country of the tyrant in the Oval Office, then full speed ahead.

  196. Jane Mayer's recent long piece about Steele and the dossier exposes gross blindness at the FBI and highest levels of government, not to mention the DNC. What terrible judgements, and now we have Trump. May our democracy survive him, and all who enable him. May true patriots arise to hold him accountable. High crimes and misdemeanors .....

  197. Whatever, the fact is that Comey was a highly respected Director of the FBI. He was fired because he refused to pledge loyalty to anything but the truth. There is no way to compare him in any way whatsoever to Trump, the lowest of the low.

    Comey made a terrible mistake but we may never really know what drove that particular act. And, I recall that the media and polls had Clinton winning by something like 85%, a slam dunk as it were.

    So, we must absorb and confront what we have in front of us now. Will Comey's book help? I think so.

  198. An 85% chance of a Hilary victory should not have been so comforting. A 15% chance of nuclear war (or a Trump presidency)bdoes not represent odds we want to accept. Perhaps Mr. Comey just needed a course in statistics.

  199. You recall wrong re polls. Most showed a relatively slim victory for Clinton.

  200. I know that we may never overcome the damage the Trump family has inflicted, but these days I wonder if this presidency is a lesson that we needed to learn. Trump was a long time coming and I believe inevitable, a slow moving train we saw in the distance while our pick-up truck stalled on the tracks. I also wonder if a Clinton presidency might have just put the inevitable off for another four or eight years of obfuscation, obstruction, and self-serving interpretations of our Constitution. A Clinton presidency would surely have been subjected to endless investigation and years of destructive misogynistic propaganda. I truly hope that if the Democracy can survive the Trump presidency, it will have served a more important purpose.

  201. "Trump was a long time coming and I believe inevitable, a slow moving train we saw in the distance while our pick-up truck stalled on the tracks. I also wonder if a Clinton presidency might have just put the inevitable off for another four or eight years of obfuscation, obstruction, and self-serving interpretations of our Constitution." I couldn't agree more. Comey described the Trump presidency as a forest fire. I hope that proves to be an apt metaphor and that our democracy rebounds with renewed vigor after he's gone. There are good signs even now--so many new people willing to run for office and concerted efforts to address sexual harassment and racism.

  202. Charles, the leaks from the NY FBI office intended to damage Hillary were likely coming whether Comey spoke out or not.

    The FBI, like most of America in 2016, was a house divided.

    It was the would-be leakers among the friends of Giuliani that helped put the Teflon Don in the Oval Office - and gave him the power to shame and humiliate men and women they previously worked with and respected.

    I trust that the Trump supporters within the bureau have been humbled by his treatment of it - and by the sheer awfulness of this presidency.

    The Trump crew will end up making the Nixon crew look like a naughty cub scout troop.

    As much as it pains me to say it, given the likelihood that those leaks were coming, I don't think Comey had much of a choice in the matter.

  203. A leak from the NY office would have had significantly less credibility than an official statement from the FBI Director.

  204. Perhaps he could have leveled the playing field by also revealing that 45's campaign was also under investigation for the more serious charge of foreign influence on a campaign. Clearly, his actions favored 45's election.

  205. He may have had no choice here, but the problem originated with his unprecedented attack on HRC when he suspended the investigation. It was not his place to scold her publicly for the whole email situation-- he thrust himself into the middle of the brouhaha instead of keeping a distance that would suggest objectivity. He, like Trump when he fired Comey, set the terms for his own troubles.

  206. I have no respect for this man, Comey. I am still angry with him.He wants to sell his book and I would not buy it. He elected this president, he swung the election in favor of Donald Trump. As Hillary Clinton said: "He forever changed history", that is absolutely true. James Comey said in his interview with ABC said that Mr. Trump would be held accountable for his lies, "but that impeachment would be a cop-out for a public that should also be held accountable for electing Mr. Trump in the first place". You cannot blame the public, Comey is the one who deliberately misled the public. He reopened the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server just days before the election – something Hillary Clinton believes significantly harmed her campaign, that is a fact. It stopped the momentum as Hillary Clinton said but unlike Comey she does not want to blame the voters .

  207. You can still blame the voters who didn't show up at the polls to vote. Americans dishonor their freedoms every time they choose not to vote.

  208. I agree that Comey's actions did effect the outcome of the election, unintentionally. I was truly upset with his actions and still mourn Hillary's loss, even though I know she won. But I believe James Comey and forgive James Comey. How would you like to be held responsible for creating this nightmare??? Especially if your intentions were to protect the nation.

  209. I agree with your assessment Padman and your sentiments. That this group of Republican men took Hilary down against the guidelines of the 60 day prohibition around elections is unforgivable. I hope enormous damage is done to the Republican Party because so much damage has been done everywhere else. The loss of the US as a leading democracy, temporarily one hopes, has been noticeable to all of us around the world.

  210. I agree with Charles Blow, Comey deserves our dislike. He should not have come forward on Oct 28 with his concerns about the emails found on Weiner's computer. I want to know more about the rogue FBI element in the NYC office, that appeared more loyal to Giuliani than the director, that were allegedly pressuring Comey to come forward or their would be leaks. This, to me, has not been properly explored, and may have much to do with Comey's decision eleven days before the 2016 election.

  211. I am concerned that by publishing the book at this time, Comey is giving the Right grounds for claiming that the FBI, Justice Dept., and Mueller are out to get Trump.

    Comey already influenced the 2016 election and I fear he is now affecting the political ramifications of the investigation. So even if/when crimes are discovered some may not believe the investigators. From a legal perspective he may not be doing any damage, but from a political perspective he could once again be influencing the outcome in ways he doesn't intend.

  212. agreed

  213. In general, the FBI has a political bent and has always had one, but generally has operated fairly. That bent has always been to favor Republicans. Even in this current uproar, the players are all Republicans. And in the Hillary case it is probable that Comey was influenced by his own beliefs as well as pressure from Republican congress as well as from Guliani's influence and the NY office.
    In the case of Comey's firing, he fell to the Trump idea of team play. which of course means he must be protected and honored.

  214. I agree with your statement that one of the reasons Comey felt he had to come out and discuss handling of Clinton's emails was he felt pressure from the Republican Congress and Guliani. I have always questioned why Trump had those Russians in the oval office the day after Comey was fired?

  215. I agree 100% with your "dislike, despise" comment. Mr. Comey's interview revealed nothing really new, for those who "despise" Mr. Trump. But, hopefully, for those who are on the fence about the president, maybe it will be a game changer, one way or the other.
    I believe that Mr. Comey served this Nation honorably and took his oath to preserve it against all enemies, foreign and domestic as a sacred trust. This, sadly, I cannot say of Mr. Trump.
    However, I do not agree with Mr. Comey's comments about Mr. Trump's hands and skin color/hair where he lowered himself to the level of the president and his childish tweets and statements. Hopefully, these are just made to enhance sales of his book and were made at the "suggestions" of his editor and publisher.

    In any event, Mr Comey embodies the fact that the thousands of career and dedicated civil servants serving this Nation will not, never, kneel before the ilk of Donald J. Trump and his minions to take this country on a path that leads to untold horror and evil that the world has not seen in over 70 years...

    It is in my hope that justice and truth will prevail and that we, the people of this United States, will once again, form a more perfect Union.

  216. Read Madeline Albright's new book ...FASCISM: A Warning

  217. Several opinion writers have made a good point. Part of what Comey was doing in his book was providing narrative details, to create a “you are there” feeling and identification.

    Those details were not gratuitous, but part of what good writers do — create a vivid portrait using concrete details.

    Don't fall for the false critique that he dabbling in salacious details just to sell books. He wouldn't need them to do that; in fact, even before those came out, the book was already a pre-order best seller!



    Unlike others, I never thought about the source of Trump's orange hue or knew that he had white circles around his eyes. Now, I know. His obsession with self, the likely tanning booths, all fit his Narcissistic personality.

  218. Hillary was not a strong candidate. She felt assured of the win and didn't campaign in some key rust belt states. Like many of us, I think she was blinded to the fact that she could lose. Comey didn't help matters but ultimately I don't think he was the main reason she didn't win.

  219. Russian collusion is the main reason she lost.

  220. Hillary was an excellent candidate- she had experience, wisdom, and moral fortitude. Trump and his Russian minions spread lies about her and the Clinton Foundation, none of which were true. Her biggest problem was that she had two X chromosomes.

  221. History will no doubt show that Trump's election was tainted in countless ways. On top of that, Hillary Clinton garnered several million more votes than Trump. Some great system we have going here.

  222. The system worked fine. The only "taint" to the election was that your candidate didn't win, so you're sulking.

  223. I never liked Comey. I am deeply skeptical of all people purporting to be "moral". What is "moral" to them is often attributed to the will of an imaginary deity, to place it above discussion or negotiation. I never claim to be "moral". I simply try to be ethical in my relationships and avoid doing to others what I find unjust when done to me.

    Comey directly meddled in the 2016 election himself. It was another compelling reason to hold a run-off election.

  224. When we have 2 less than good candidates, the results of that election will yield less than desired results. Mr Trump was elected as the lesser of 2 bad candidates. I, personally, didn't vote for either of the 2 major party candidates.

    Mr Comey has brought disgrace to his profession, FBI and DOJ. The public trust in institutions has been damaged by a higher loyalty, the almighty dollar. The damaging outcome is the collateral damage he has brought to the "other" 35,000 hard working people at the FBI.

  225. "Mr. Trump was elected as the lesser of 2 bad candidates."
    Please explain how how Trump was the lesser of the two?

  226. "I, personally, didn't vote for either of the 2 major party candidates."

    And it's your poor decision that helped the most unqualified candidate in history to win.

    I'm not a fan of Clinton, but the notion that she is even remotely on the same plane as Trump is absurd. She was vastly more qualified and should have been elected, given the choices we had.

    You also mismeasure the Comey situation; while there are things I wish he hadn't done, they do not rise to the level of damaging public trust. Better you should be concerned with the actual damage to our institutions by the current president, and the poor choices so many voters made.

  227. There are two James Comeys: the former FBI director who in his testimony appeared measured and completely credible, and the author on tour to promote his book. The latter delves into details that, while titillating, are beside the point. (Everyone knows about Trump's weird orange hue and the spooky half moons under his eyes.) Comey the witness tells a much more harrowing story. And he did it under oath.

    It isn't a question of liking the man or not. The issue is, do we believe him? I certainly do.

  228. What happens in a book is you get physical details that aren't necessary but set a mental picture. Comey writes well. Attorneys who are most effective usually do. It requires a mental discipline and an attention for detail and Comey shows he has an attention for detail. What one doesn't like about Comey is more useful when kept to sticking with the facts. This is not a report. It's a book and unfortunately it's not a book of fiction. I found the white pouches type detail amusing but the factual details terrifying. Those describe a fiend who has the most powerful position in the world, one which he is besmirching and reducing every minute he sits in the White House.

  229. Mr. Blow says "there were many factors that played into the 2016 election results". No doubt. But the most important and lethal factor was the Electoral College. When the winner by nearly 3 million votes becomes the loser, something is terribly unfair and wrong.

    More states must adopt the National Popular Interstate Compact that pledges the state Electoral Votes to the popular winner of all 50 states, avoiding a Constitutional
    Amendment. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have already adopted the NPIC, amounting to 165 Electoral Votes.

  230. This is well-meaning, but a disaster waiting to happen.

    First, it is purely partisan and obviously so.

    Second, it will make the areas that feel neglected - the ones irritated or desperate enough to vote for Trump - even more convinced that they are ignored and are not represented by the "Acela" executive branch.

    Third, the requirements of such a campaign would be physically exhausting for the candidates and prohibitively expensive, because you have to campaign everywhere with population density (and almost nowhere else). We would need much younger candidates to survive the process - perhaps literally.

  231. Both Clinton and Trump were terrible choices for the Presidency. Clinton however was the lesser of 2 evils!

    Except for Comey's big error in bad timing regarding Clinton, at least he's stepped up and said and shown what an evil and terrible president Trump is.

    The Trump saga is continuing, and hopefully, the results of Mueller's investigations will soon be out and passed on to the Congress and the Senate.

    Sadly, I fear that both of these 2 legislative bodies will do nothing about Trump, since they're both controlled by the Republicans!

  232. Comey is very well off and does not need any more money to live a cushy life in retirement. The American public does not need a book about working with Trump. Comey is just plain greedy- sort of like Trump. They have that one thing in common.

  233. This is the kind of thinking that made Donald Trump president. President Obama called Hillary the most qualified person in history to be president and he knew her I think a little better than major trout. Who may not be a Trump fan but still influenced by FOXNews with his ridiculous opinion of Hillary.

  234. I think Obama knew Hillary a little better than you majortrout. This is the kind of thinking that made Donald Trump president. President Obama called Hillary the most qualified person in history to be president and he knew her I think a little better than major trout. Who may not be a Trump fan but still influenced by FOXNews with his ridiculous opinion of Hillary. I think This is really a FOXNews opinion. But also the opinion of the ridiculous.

  235. I agree with much of Blow's comments, but I find it strange that he suggests the attack on Syria was pulled out of a hat just to distract us from the Comey and Cohen business. It was Assad who -- completely unexpectedly -- brutally killed dozens of people two weeks ago, prompting a just, appropriate and swiftly-planned retaliation by three major Western powers with the support of most of Europe.

  236. Assad = Putin.

  237. Similar chemical attacks have happened with no response from Trump

  238. I am sure that Assad deserved the attack but I am also sure that it was very much of diversion. Blow is completely right to say that Trump has no humanitarian concerned about the Syrian people. Just like the dreamers he will use them if he can use them for political advantage, but has no feelings towards anybody except himself.
    Although Comey is the cause of Trumps Presidentsy, I believe he’s truthful and Trump is a psychotic liar and degenerate.
    And as the saying goes, the truth shall make you free. And that will not serve Trump we’ll.

  239. Imagine if you are living as a civilian in the horror that is today's Syria and the only time anyone will come to your aid is when the American president is ticked off about his own scandals. Remember when the US used to come to people's aid because it was the right thing to do, not because the president needs to detract from his corruption?

  240. It was the French who initiated the recent raid on Syria. Trump may be up to his eyeballs with potential scandal but this strike is not one of them.

  241. It was 1962, as I recall.

  242. I couldn’t agree more with mr. Blow about the characterization of mr. Comey . I too feel uncomfortable about this individual whose mind appears to be boxed in , with no latitude whatsoever, with a coned down vision on life and events , with an icy and aloof personality.
    I am anyway at his side and agree with his detailed evaluation and conclusions of the unjustifiable and dangerous trumpian presidency .

  243. At the time, no one that I recall suggested that Comey’s words would prevent Hillary from being elected. To do it after Trump won is revisionism.
    Had Hillary not been such a bad candidate, this would not be an issue.

  244. Nonsense. The outcry was, to coin a phrase, fast and furious. Just look at the 7,629 comments on the New York Times article of October 28, 2016, announcing Comey's letter.

  245. This has been going on so long that I myself had forgotten what everyone seems to have forgotten.

    The basic blow to Clinton's campaign was not the FBI investigation of her email server and classified information. The basic blow was that she chose to use a personal server in her home and then carelessly, yes carelessly, sent and received classified information.

    I voted for Clinton, and have always basically liked her and felt aligned with her political inclinations, so I am absolutely distressed that Trump won. But still, if she had followed correct departmental practice she never would have been investigated and Comey would probably still be FBI director, and she would probably be president.

    Her loss is not Comey's fault, it's her own fault.

  246. Another reason was her “deplorables” remark. She should have been trying to win those people over, instead of hopelessly alienating them (and some of her own wavering supporters).

  247. Yes, she thought she could sneak through a hole in a brick wall and instead had a ton of bricks land on her head.

  248. In the 1960s, Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg identified six stages of moral development. Stages one (avoiding punishment) and two (What’s in it for me?), were most commonly displayed by children. In stages three and four, people try to conform to social norms and laws. Those that reach stages five and six, according to Kohlberg, move beyond a blind allegiance to laws, and seek instead to construct a morality based on universal principles, and to live by it.

    I’d put Trump at stage two and Comey at stage four. And while I agree with Comey’s rather obvious insight that Trump is morally unfit to lead, I would say the same about him. Like other stage fours, Comey is, I’m sure, a man of integrity, but he’s arrogant and lacks wisdom and perspective. I’m disappointed that such a man was ever appointed to such a high position.

  249. Comey's book is a desperate but noble attempt to warn voters that the emperor has no clothes and, in doing so, is a tragic hero.

    Surely Comey knew he'd again face personal attacks and risk his legacy, but, nonetheless, he chose to speak the truth and uphold his extreme integrity and love of country above all else.

    Loretta Lynch had placed Comey in an untenable position, something which is not discussed enough, and Comey assumed the challenge apolitically and honestly and we need more brave leaders to follow Comey's example.

  250. I can't believe these comments. It is indeed difficult to avoid hindsight but it is even more difficult to avoid anti hindsight. Put yourself in this position. You have a very active investigation of Clinton and there is almost enough evidence to consider charging, but only almost. When Clinton wins, you will almost certainly drop the charges and you will be forever accused of partisanship for helping her win. Every poll indicates Trump will lose. Reveal the investigation or hide it? if you think that's easy or even clear, however difficult, you're lying to yourself.

  251. Either reveal both or don't disclose both. Don't not do half sides.

  252. The investigation was closed when he made his comments in July (although it was reopened in October). First of all, he was absolutely wrong to characterized Hillary's actions with her private server beyond saying the FBI had closed the investigation without finding any criminal conduct. Period.

    Then he was wrong again to indicate they had reopened the investigation without knowing what was on Abedin's computer. THAT, to me, was an investigation of Abedin, not Hillary.

  253. I've never understood why Comey didn't report his findings to Sally Yates, when Loretta Lynch recused herself. Yates was next in line. Instead, Comey side-stepped the line of command. Why? No one has ever answered that to my satisfaction, beyond saying that it would look partisan. It still doesn't make sense.

  254. "There were many factors that played into the 2016 election result.
    "Russian interference. The work of Cambridge Analytica on behalf of the Trump campaign. The exploitation of social media...."

    You left out the biggest factor: the $2 billion in free advertising the mass media gave to trump's campaign, when they covered every event, every campaign stop, and every speech live ("Breaking News!"). Hillary and the Democratic Party policies couldn't break through the wall-to-wall coverage of trump except to respond to his personal attacks on her.

    All other factors pale in comparison to the non-stop media coverage of his campaign.

  255. A hundred years ago 250,000 Belgian refugees were housed in communities throughout England. Belgium had been run over by German troops in route for their planned invasion of France. England came to Belgium's defense and this describes merely one component of The Great War, later renamed WW I.
    The damage of war is deep and wide. It is important to remember the vast human cost of armed conflict.

  256. Not sure what the point is to this piece; it's all over the map, but in response to its apparent theme, we can't always choose our allies.

  257. By most all accounts, Comey was honorable and relatively untarnished until 2016. Then he let politics influence him with the Hillary thing (though the GOP would have come after him if he did not announce an investigation), and after the election there was nothing he could possibly do to save himself from a president who wanted him gone for not killing the investigation into himself and those around him.

    None of us would have politically survived what he went through. The irony is that Trump would have fired him for not investigating Hillary, and then fired him for mishandling the investigation he did do of Hillary.

    I take Comey over the pathologically lying Trump any day.

  258. Well-balanced perspective. There no clean hands in this fight.

    Sadly, while you and many of us dislike the former and despise the latter, there are many others who like the latter. Most of us don't need Comey to spell out the madness of President Trump. Trump does it very well himself - every tweet he makes. But those who can't see who Trump is, don't care who Trump is, or actually applaud who Trump is, Comey changes nothing. Trump's base is in as much blind denial and wishful delusion as he is. Comey's denunciations will do little to change that.

  259. Yes to Blow's points and to so much of what is being said here. But this question remains: what now?

  260. Here we go again with the "Comey lost the election" meme from the "Anybody but Clinton bears responsibility for the loss" crowd. I voted for Clinton, but offer a more reasoned perspective.

    Comey found himself between a rock and a hard place when Bill Clinton forced Loretta Lynch into a de facto recusal as a result of the infamous Meeting on the Tarmac. Comey's initial report covered the full scope of the investigation. He accurately reported that there was no prosecutable violation but that the conduct of official State Department business through a private, unapproved sever was unwise and not in keeping with the spirit of State Department regulations. Both aspects of the statement were necessary to clear Clinton of criminal liability while countering any accusations of a whitewash.

    The discovery of the Weiner emails placed Comey in a no win position. Because of the possible link to Clinton through Weiner's wife, they were germane to the original investigation. It must be noted that Comey did not call a press conference to announce this find, rather he sent a letter to congress. It was congress that went public. Imagine the stuff storm had he not notified congress and some smoking gun turned up. At that point he expedited the review and cleared Clinton before the election.

    But it continues to be Comey's fault, never "Basket of Deplorables" or a failure to pursue or connect with swing state voters. Scapegoating is such an easy release from responsibility.

  261. I think by focusing your anger on Comey, you're dismissing the role played by Loretta Lynch in this affair. She was clearly too close to the Clintons, and her actions, especially the meeting on the tarmac, put Comey (who worked for her) in an almost impossible position. Comey comes off as being about as politically neutral as one can be. I didn't like what he did, but I think I have a better understanding of the box he was in. He's an easy target for many. Where's the op-ed piece about Lynch's questionable behavior?

  262. I sincerely doubt that Mrs Clinton would have won the election in any event, even if the question of the e-mails had not come up in the week before the vote. The voters had made up their minds and almost nothing could have changed that.

    You may feel contempt for Mr Comey but it is misplaced. Real contempt is best reserved for Trump, who is an immoral, misogynistic, racist, as you have pointed out many times in the past.

  263. There are reasons why the FBI has time-honored protocols, for example not to beat up a person who isn't going to be indicted, and not to interfere in our elections.

    I hope future FBI directors honor those traditions, assuming the Republic survives.

  264. More people believe Comey than believe Trump, yet more people support Trump than when he was elected president. Trump is more popular than ever. This tells me the problem is not Trump. The problem is the face in the mirror and the self loathing America feels for selling its soul in 1980 a man and a party that told them they could take and take and take and never give back.
    Morning is over and America is no more.

  265. I think that Comey was a strong Trump supporter before Trump threw him under the bus. After all he put his thumb on the scale to help elect Trump and is a culturally conservative man who was so outraged by black people protesting police brutality that he went as far as to write a piece criticizing the victims while using the coded phrase of "all lives matter." That's almost the prototype of a Trump lover.

    I'm convinced that history will show that firing Comey was the biggest mistake Trump ever made because unlike Mueller, he would have ultimately given Trump a pass.

  266. I am just thrilled and proud of our president and the honorable way he is countering the allegations of Comey whether the allegations are true or not.
    Just kidding.
    The way Trump is countering those allegations, which I believe to be more truthful than what Trump or his comedian press secretary would have us believe is akin to the bank robber when caught running away from a bank with the dye pack contents on his body and clothing and claiming innocence.
    While both individuals may be self-serving at this point, I have more belief in Comey than the grifter from Queens, not due to this latest act, but, all of those bad acts that Trump has perpetrated over the years.
    Just because is President does not wash the stench of his bad acts from him.

  267. There doesn't seem to be retrospective reflection through this ensuing chaos about what Trump threatened if Clinton won, which essentially was some degree of blood in the streets... He really does seem to see the country as a watch to be dissembled. And certain similar whatif fears (how would global misogyny have played out with Madame Clinton) are perhaps never really acknowledged either... Could such strange stuff influence someone in Comey's spot "subconsciously," as well?

  268. Okay Charles, it's a free country. We can agree to despise Trump, with much to build our case and still disagree on Comey. You can dislike him, while I adore him, because like you he is courageous enough to confront what he sees as wrong and do something about it, and I'm finding that very refreshing in these times.

  269. I'm not so sure that our recent military action against Syria is designed to distract us from Comey. I think Trump saw the aftermath of the chemical attack on TV and reacted. Trump lives through his TV.

  270. Mr Blow's personal like or dislike of Mr Trump and/or Mr Comey is not the issue.

    The issue is, who will "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States".

    Mr Trump has no knowledge of the Constitution and has no regard for the Constitution or the "rule of law".

  271. You shouldn't pay lip service to the distraction when you recognize the narrative as a distraction. We can have a larger discussion about the complexities of Syria. Don't bother tying the conversation to Donald J. Trump though. He only retaliates in Syria when 1) politically convenient and 2) dead children start showing up in the news media. Otherwise, the issue is vacant from his mind. A mere distraction from something else on TV.

    If we're making a comparison to James Comey, we should focus on the Trump administration's media campaign against Comey and other law enforcement officials. That's where the real battle of personalities is being waged. Trump thinks like a media brand. Law enforcement is hurting his brand. He therefore needs to attack law enforcement. That's how simple his mind works. For that, I despise him too.

  272. I am in total agreement with your views on this matter. The clash of egos is not entertainment as much as potential for disaster for the rest of us. I would proffer that another factor in Comey's seamy behavior on the email matter may have to do with his very personal, but not unusual, abhorrence of the idea of a woman in the White House.

  273. I find it insane that people call Comey "fair" or "principled" or that he sees himself as having a "higher loyalty" he is and has ALWAYS been a self centered man interested only in his on self image. He is in many ways worse than trump, because at least trump admits that he does it for the adoration. Comey does the same thing but tells himself he does not. The ONLY reason to reveal that Hillary was under investigation (for which she was cleared) but not that the trump was under investigation (for which several people have already plead guilty), was his own self image. that is all he cared about. not the facts (he lied and said trump was NOT under investigation when he was), not the republic, not the reputation of the FBI. NONE OF THAT mattered to Comey, EXACTLY like trump the ONLY ONE Comey has ever cared about is himself.

  274. Mr Blow, everything you have written about Trump, at least since your "Are you kidding?" column right before the election has been devastatingly critical of him. And I agree with your assessment 100%. But why come down so hard on Comey for a catastrophically bad decision? In Comey it is the decision, not the man, that so offends. In Trump, it is the entire man in every detail, and we get new evidence of that daily. To me there is no equivalence. Comey's characterization of Trump is accurate and must be laid out. I appreciate his courage in doing that.

  275. "But why come down so hard on Comey for a catastrophically bad decision? In Comey it is the decision, not the man, that so offends."

    Comey is a man who made a reprehensible decision that brought on this arch-corrupt and venal presidency. Condemnation is too good for him.

  276. Sorry. It IS the man. Multiple horrendous decisions show he has lost his ethical footing. There was no reason to bring the Clinton email thing up 11 days before the election. In fact, there was precedent which specifically advised against making such disclosures prior to an election. His hands were tied by McConnell (not Obama) regarding the investigation into Trump.

    Just because Comey is right about Trump doesn't mean he deserves to be forgiven for helping to give us Trump in a very self-serving way. Most of what formed his current opinion and any obstruction on justice happened after Trump was elected. Nope plenty of room and reason to hold both in contempt.

  277. Comey’s calling out Clinton, and not Trump, during the election was a good-old-boy move and preserved the male presidency. (Btw, I voted for Bernie in the primaries and Clinton in the election.) And, while the FBI is not the Hoover FBI of yore, African Americans lives are always at stake in a war-like environment prosecuted by the police. The FBI could have set the example and help to retrain police for sane policing — I wish Comey had stood up for this when he was head of the FBI. I am very glad that Comey is, at least, speaking out against Trump; the disgust that he feels at having contributed to Trump’s election is probably the impetus for the book and his interview. Trump’s presidency may, in the end, show us how deeply we believe in democracy.

  278. Mr. Blow’s Op-Ed hits a lot of truths. While I’m well past the “why” Hillary lost hypotheses, Mr. Comey’s ill-timed announcements regarding Hillary’s emails were in fact a major final straw for many independent voters to swing their vote to Trump or one of the two independent candidates. But all of that nonsense is in the rear-view mirror.

    More important, is the historical spectacle that is unfolding with our current sitting President. It is becoming more apparent each day of Trump’s presidency that he is simply unfit as our President. And he is unfit on so many levels, many of which Mr. Comey accurately chronicles in his new book and in his interview.

    A close inspection of timelines related to Trump’s actions, announcements and rants match up to important national events and disclosures of his misdeeds or those of his appointees. Trump is not governing, rather is is simply making it up to as he goes along to hopefully take away the attention of the voters and the press from exposing his misdeeds and his failed leadership.

    Trump is ruining our nation, destabilizing our democracy, underpinning our institutions and most importantly he is lying to the voters, again and again. Trump is all about Trump and no one else.

    Trump must resign.

  279. Should Comey have been fired? Maybe, maybe not. But his actions before and subsequent to the 2016 elections were decidedly not benign and he should not be given a hero's welcome now that he is woke.

  280. I think we should more than dislike Comey. We should hold him in contempt. Nowhere does it seem to be mentioned that for years he at least tolerated and probably- given his July 2016 statements-- aided and abetted an incessant and biased obsession within the ranks of the FBI against Hillary Clinton, particularly within the FBI's New York office. Under Comey's tenure the FBI abandoned the traditional role of police in a Democracy, that is, of investigating crimes and not people. Instead they hunted Clinton with the objective of finding something, anything, to "get her". That is the context of Comey's actions. Like Trump, he, too, damaged our democratic traditions by not bringing all that up short. He participated in the politicizing of policing, a legacy that will be hard to undo. And in so doing he gave us Trump.

    Dishonorable mention here also goes to President Obama, who out of fecklessness, cowardice or timidity first failed to fire Comey, in July, and then in October, for violating the Hatch Act, and then failed to ring the alarm bell to a threatened nation.

  281. I don't think we need to despise anybody. After all this is a Democracy last time I checked. Both these guys are Republicans. We can just shuck them off at the next election--provided elections going forward have their votes counted in this country instead of in Trump's Moscow.
    Trump is President, but he can do little harm there, he's surrounded by non-criminals, mostly military men of distinction, so his harm will be minimal. Comey is already a civilian, and more of a distraction than of a threat.
    Since the "Republican Majority" is a Russian myth, why doesn't the Democratic contingent take honest control of the Congress? Long have Republicans maintained that Democrats, the more tolerant party, are somehow enemies of the state, when the fact is that Democrats are the defenders of the state and the Republicans, with their ill-gotten drug-robbing of honest citizens, have set themselves up as a cast over us all. That's really pretty unforgivable, so I doubt that any Republicans will be left in office come the next election.
    And don't expect that Democrats are going to impeach Trump without enough cause to convince 90% of Republicans, either. That's preposterous. Trump can be contained effectively enough.

  282. I think that Comey v. Trump is a critically misleading frame. Yes, Comey mishandled Hillary Clinton’s email investigation very badly. But from where does the notion come that the key source of his errors was egoism or other character flaws? Comey has said he was concerned that the remotest appearance of favor towards Clinton would excuse endless and destructive investigations of a President Clinton by the Republican congress, and lead that congress similarly to attack the FBI. Who can doubt at this point that his analysis was spot on? His failure in this context is a symptom of a larger national disease: the moral and political collapse of the Republican party, evidence for which has been filling the daily papers for months now.

    The point isn’t that Comey is a hero. That’s another version of the false frame. The point is simply that he’s right about Trump, and his judgment has a deep basis in facts and experience. Trump is trying to destroy the constitutional order, and Comey is opposing him. To say “Trump is worse than Comey” is a non sequitur. That even the admirable Mr. Blow is taking time out at this moment to comment on the superiority of his character to Mr. Comey’s, as so many other pundits are doing at this moment, is, I think, yet another symptom of that larger and apparently as yet not fully diagnosed national disease.

  283. Thanks for articulating how I feel.

  284. Comey - not inadvertently - set a new trajectory to some very dark places for this republic. It was pretty deliberate to say 'we are investigating Hillary' and then lightly whisper, 'but we are finding nothing,' and not mention that Trump is being investigated in the same way as are organized crime bosses.

    His was a very deliberate sabotage of the democratic process, carefully timed, and powerfully dealt.

    When the American air is black with soot and glistens with mercury droplets, all water the color of brown soup, when people stop going to school and shun college, when the American religious police runs the show, and we become a republic inspired by Cuba's Batista - run by bosses - Comey will have served as a cause, not a catalyst.

    Sorry Mr. Blow, Comey is every bit as bad as Trump, if not much worse. For Trump, this was an open money grab, he pretty much said so. He knew that he could ride the wave of white christian supremacy to Fort Knox and plunder it, and he said so. And Americans knowingly voted for someone who would so do. They did not have keys to the Fort anyway, his supporters were content with the promise of having pre-civil war days restored to them. They still think this will happen, and will vote for him again.

    Comey on the other hand, swore an oath to public service. He was derelict, and precipitated an irreversible dystopia.


  285. I believe him more than Trump. But I agree with Charles Blow, Comey is an honorable man who has made some terrible decisions. Straying from FBI policy because he thought Hilary Clinton was going to win and the timing of his book are just two.

  286. Comey made an indefensible mistake and no book or interview will ever change the fallout of that mistake or salvage his reputation. Saying that we should respect Donald Trump because he's president of the United States is tantamount to saying we should have respect for Bashar al-Assad because he's president of Syria. They are made of the same cloth.

  287. The announcement by Comey at the 11th hour reopening the Hillary Clinton email investigation might have been appropriate if the emails had been examined and been found to be problematic. The fact that Comey had no idea what the emails consisted of made his decision reckless and irresponsible especially given the timing. Questions about the motivation behind the recent attack on Assad's chemical weapons facilities highlight the extreme risk of having an unstable pathological liar as president. This president has already shown a willingness to undermine our most important and revered government institutions to discredit an investigation that is critical to our nations security. It's not too great a leap to think that he would order a military action as a diversion from an investigation that is likely to implicate him in criminal activity. Would he risk war to the same end? I would not rule it out.

  288. I'm glad to weigh what appears to be a dreadful mistake with Ms. Clinton's emails against lifetime of distinguished homer able service by Mr. Comey.
    You get to blame him for Mr. Trump's election. There's lots of blame to go around especially for all the voters who stayed home, and personally I'll save my anger for them. And yes, if it's not clear, I like Mr. Comey. If there were more people like him I really don't think Mr. Trump would have gotten where he is today.