In his final testimony before a U.S. Senate committee, regarding his decision last October to reopen the Clinton email investigation less than two weeks before the election, FBI Director James Comey appeared reflective.
“I’ve gotten all kinds of rocks thrown at me, and this has been really hard, but I think I’ve done the right thing at every turn,” Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee, while Americans watched at home.
“It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election, but honestly, it wouldn’t change the decision,” Comey added.
Until recently, the now-fired director of the FBI had refused to acknowledge the external ramifications of his actions. He never strayed from his personal feelings to address the impact his decision may have had on the country as a whole.
Frankly, feeling “mildly nauseous” isn’t good enough.
Comey believes he acted sinlessly in his handling of the Clinton email investigation. Unfortunately, millions of Americans feel differently.
The American people lost trust in the FBI, in large part, due to the way Comey conducted himself during the 2016 election season. Every time he tried to justify his actions, he only managed to deepen America’s mistrust in the justice system.
In his failure, Comey did his best impersonation of “Lady Justice.” One day he would show up to work as an investigator and the next day he would wear his prosecutor hat. He sought to be judge, jury and executioner. He overstepped his bounds and, ultimately, it cost him his job.
“Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity.” This is the FBI’s motto.
Comey lost sight of what his role was at the FBI when he stepped to that podium last July to announce that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Hillary Clinton. In that moment, he betrayed the organization that he was appointed to lead.
He failed to hold corrupt politicians–at the topmost levels of government–to account for their misdeeds. In the end, he showed a lack of courage and conviction by not recommending charges against Clinton.
By not following the proper protocols in place at the FBI, Comey became a household name in America–and not for good reasons. Prior to July 2016, how many Americans knew who James Comey was and what role he played in our government? I would suspect the number is low. His actions jeopardized the integrity of the FBI.
Showing signs of humility and perhaps remorse, Comey indicated before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was receptive to criticism.
“If I did something wrong, I want to hear that,” Comey said.
Six days later, President Trump fired him.
In the words of the philosopher Aristotle: “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.”
Let this be a lesson to James Comey–no person is above the law.