James Comey Interview By David Remnick Of The New Yorker At The Town Hall, Thursday, April 19th, 2018, reviewed
Those of us born with rock and roll and raised during the age of the Vietnam War have a more highly refined distrust of all Government institutes than those raised in the 1990s. This would certainly include the FBI, a (by definition) secretive agency in the business of doing for citizens what the CIA does for foreigners: dirty human tricks. Perhaps the worst legacy of the Trump years will prove to be the rehabilitation of the FBI as personified by James Comey, the fired director of the agency.
Last night at The Town Hall, James Comey, peddling his preposterously self-serving memoir “A Higher Loyalty,” was interview by The New Yorker’s editor David Remnick. I admire Remnick, though my companion for the evening, Tomas Doncker, felt he didn’t push Comey hard enough on the inundation of Ku Klux Klan members in the Southern Police forces. I was sitting close enough to note the doubt all over Remnick’s face. I am not willing to claim David was rolling his eyes all the way through the 90-minute interview, but I promise you he looked as though he was thinking of doing so.
You know the story, but to cut to the chase Comey was asked to take a pledge of loyalty to Donald Trump and when he failed to do so was canned. Ever since then, Comey has spent his time rehabilitating his little known to start with reputation and making lots of money. Last night, New York got the extremely rare opportunity of watching a consummate insider who ran one of the scariest institutions in the States up close, and Comey spent the time defending his own, and the FBI’s, integrity… of which neither have any. Neither does the secret service of any country anywhere, government is a lot like the meat industry: we don’t care how you get the steak on the table as long as you don’t tell us how you do it. And, believe me, Comey didn’t reveal anything at all.
In person, Comey isn’t charming but he isn’t the dour tall glass of water he is in pictures or when giving the Dems conniptions. He didn’t improvise, he didn’t make mistakes, he didn’t say anything he didn’t want to. In a grey suit and Beatle boots (I could have said Cuban heels but…), he played the company man whose biggest regret is not still being the head of the FBI. A former Republican, he has now left the party and is an independent. Comey has claimed elsewhere that both his wife and daughter voted for Hillary Clinton. Truth rings in a certain way and while I believe all of those statements, Comey is a hollow man who claimed to give the 38,000 employees of the FBI a copy of the Martin Luther King files. To what end? Because he doesn’t want to make the same mistake again. To quote Jay Z: OK. Comey is self-serving beyond decency. When discussing the reopening of the Clinton emails, Comey claimed his only other choice was concealment. this is a lie, as his own family said, he shouldn’t have Seacrested it (a la: Ryan Seacrest, we will be back with the results after this announcement). The third choice was to check out the emails and then report back to congress.
As our stand in, Remnick was the face of skepticism, particularly when the subject arrived at the “mass incarceration” of black men, a phrase Comey pathetically complained to President Obama about. Remnick nailed him to the wall on that one and (all through the night you could feel Remnick straining not to get rougher in his handling), destroying Comey’s claim that black male defendants got due process. It was Remnick’s finest moment though, as stated, I admired his interviewing a great deal. Comey’s worst moment on stage was the same as his worst moment with the FBI: his atrocious handling of the Clinton emails. Elsewhere, he had claimed that he thought Clinton was going to win so it didn’t matter, possibly the most honest statement he has made. But in response to questions about the reason behind his claim that Hilary was extremely careless, Comey said “Because I thought that, without transparency, public trust and confidence in the integrity of our work would be severely undercut.” Well, really, I would buy the Brooklyn Bridge before I believe the FBI had the slightest bit of transparency. Or that there was a period when the FBI changed and became less the makers and breakers of politicians and more at service to the country. One more thing, Comey’s claim that the decisions regarding Clinton were not his alone but his and other members of the FBI, was an, at best, a disingenuous reply.
To dumb it down, the FBI are local spies and Comey was the head local spy and an egomaniac to boot that kept on pushing himself on to the front pages, where he had absolutely no reason to be. I am no friend of Trump, but really just because I hate Hitler do I have to love Göring? Comey is a slimy, formerly dangerous, asshole. I didn’t like him in the slightest and I don’t believe he was hiding behind the curtains at the Oval Office, either and I absolutely don’t believe the TWO TIMES he put his big foot into the General Election had anything to do with transparency.
Of course, let’s return to placing the blame where it deserves to be placed, with Trump for forcing us to sleep with dogs and wake up with fleas.