‘You are out of your mind if you don’t think the FBI wanted to make a case if we could…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) Former FBI Director James Comey received a standing ovation in Sarasota, Fla. on Monday, as he bashed President Trump and defended his record as the nation’s top cop for over an hour.
Comey was fired by Trump in early 2017, and began touring the country shortly after to promote a tell-all book and entertain crowds of paying politicos.
He described himself on Monday as a “semi-employed celebrity.”
Among the main topics was the special-counsel investigation headed by his close friend and former FBI boss, Robert Mueller. The investigation was triggered after Comey’s firing, and Trump has long referred to it as a “witch hunt.”
“It sure caught a lot of witches,” Comey told reporters prior to his speech.
While several former Trump advisers have been convicted on charges such as tax fraud and lying to government officials, civil libertarians like Harvard Law scholar Alan Dershowitz point out that no Trump campaign official has yet been charged for colluding with Russia to influence the 2016 election—the ostensible reason for the special counsel investigation.
Comey, who once claimed to be a Republican before endorsing and giving generously to Democrats in the 2018 election, demurred on the notion the Left was simply aiming to settle scores and impeach the president.
“I hope that people don’t hope for a particular outcome,” Comey said, striking a bipartisan tone. “We should all root only that the work be finished and that the facts be found. Whatever they are, they are.”
But many of his public statements and Twitter messages over the past two years have been decidedly partisan in tone—certainly anti-Trump and anti-Republican—which once would have been considered taboo for a top law enforcement officer.
Last June, an inspector general’s report on FBI conduct during investigations of Trump and Hillary Clinton faulted Comey for his deviation from protocol and criticized the partisan behavior of several top-ranked agency officials, but stopped short of saying they were biased.
During a question-and-answer session at Comey’s Florida speech, a high school student pressed him on his partisan statements: “How does that compare to your … position on not taking a stance on political issues?”
Comey deflected in response by saying Trump started it: “In a way the decision was made for me by the president, because he immediately began lying about me and the FBI.”
He went on to attack the president’s personal qualities as well, complaining that Trump was a bad boss.
“He is one of the worst listeners as a leader that I’ve ever seen, and all of us who have thought about leadership that’s deeply concerning, and that he doesn’t have an external framework,” Comey said.
But perhaps Comey’s most emotional response came when he addressed his handling of Hillary Clinton’s illegal bathroom server, thousands of botched top-secret emails, and the highly suspect practice of interviewing Clinton about these items off-the-record while granting immunity to her intimate staff.
“There is zero chance, zero chance, on the facts in the Hillary Clinton case, that she would be prosecuted,” Comey said. “You are out of your mind if you don’t think the FBI wanted to make a case if we could. The facts weren’t there. Period. Full stop.”