Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Before the election, Nancy Pelosi had hinted that Hillary would fire FBI Director James Comey.
"Maybe he's not in the right job," the House Dem leader had coyly suggested. "I think that we have to just get through this election and just see what the casualties are along the way."
The FBI Director was at risk of becoming a “casualty” over his handling of the Hillary investigation.
There was no outrage and no front page editorials at the New York Times and the Washington Post. No comparisons to Watergate or calls for an investigation. A top Dem suggesting that the FBI Director would have to leave because he was investigating another top Dem was just “good government.”
And there would have been none of the hypocritical media outcry if the election had gone another way and Comey were being told to pack his bags by President Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager had also hinted that Comey might have to step down because of his bias against Hillary. Now he claims that Trump’s firing of Comey “terrifies” him.
After Comey’s letter, Schumer had declared, “I do not have confidence in him any longer.” That is what top government officials say before demanding someone’s job. But now Schumer is outraged. "If we don't get a special prosecutor, every American will rightfully suspect that the decision to fire #Comey was part of a cover-up," he tweeted.
Were the Dem calls for Comey to resign also part of a cover-up?
Harry Reid had called on Comey to resign. Congressman Steve Cohen even wrote an op-ed titled, “For the Sake of the FBI, Comey Should Resign.” Now he touts Comey as a recipient for the Profiles in Courage award and accuses Trump of firing him because Comey “threatened his presidency.”
From Comey must go for investigating Hillary to Comey must get an award for investigating Trump. Did Cohen want Comey to resign then because he threatened Hillary Clinton’s presidency?
The incoherently official position of the Dems is that Comey should have been forced out for investigating Hillary. But that Trump shouldn’t be allowed to fire him because that’s a cover-up.
Democrats should be able to get rid of inconvenient FBI directors any time they please. And if Hillary had won, it wouldn’t have been the first time that President Clinton fired an FBI Director.
The last president to send an FBI Director packing was Bill Clinton. The firing of Director Sessions was widely supported by the media even though the early Clinton scandals had already bumped up against the FBI. Like Comey, the media had initially backed Sessions on the hope that he would hurt Bush. And indeed, on Sessions’ watch, the FBI had tried to entrap the head of President Bush’s Texas campaign.
Then Bill Clinton won and the FBI was up to its ears both doing the dirty work for Hillary in the travel office scandal and investigating the scandal. The Clintons had bypassed the Justice Department to get the FBI to target travel office employees and secure a position for their friends and relatives. They illegally obtained FBI files on their targets and on hundreds of Republicans under false pretenses.
The House Government Reform and Oversight Committee would later produce a report accusing the White House of politicizing the FBI. The FBI had been investigating its own contacts with the White House. The same month that Clinton fired Sessions, the White House released a report on the propriety of its own actions. It was against this corrupt background that the FBI Director was fired.
Director Sessions was fired on July 19, 1993. On the next day, Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster was found dead in a Washington D.C. park. A note found in his briefcase included the phrase, "The FBI lied in their report to the AG."
The FBI was quickly brought in on the investigation. Foster had been closely involved in the scandal. Vince Foster's death and Bill Clinton's nomination of Freeh as the new FBI Director had to compete for space on the front page of the Washington Post. Floyd Clarke, the acting director whom Sessions had blamed for” pushing him out, briefed Freeh on Foster’s death.
But the media found no problem with President Clinton firing the FBI Director. It took his justification for the firing at face value, but it insists on ascribing dark motives to Trump.
"Mr. Comey’s breathtakingly rash and irresponsible decision," the New York Times had breathlessly editorialized during the campaign, "had undermine(d) the American people’s trust in the nation’s top law enforcement agencies.” Now it has a splashy front page linking Comey’s firing to Watergate.
“Many hear echoes of Watergate,” the Times editorializes. “The immediate echo: ‘Saturday Night Massacre,” the Washington Post echoes on its own front page.
Can you hear the echo? It’s the echo of a media echo chamber repeating its lies to itself.
The Post had gone from headlines like "Comey misstated key Clinton email evidence at hearing" and "James Comey just stepped in it, big time" to "Firing FBI director Comey is already backfiring" and "If Trump fired Comey over Russia, he must go". As in 1984, we have always been at war with Eastasia.
"This man's position at the FBI is no longer tenable #FireComey," Keith Olbermann had declared last year. Now he's demanding President Trump's impeachment for firing Comey.
Dana Milbank, the Post’s answer to Keith Olbermann, screeched earlier that Comey had “single-handedly caused Donald Trump to win the presidency.” Now he’s ranting, “Trump like Nixon will fall.” Before the Comey letter, he was insisting, “Republican attacks on Comey undermine the rule of law”.
Attacking Comey undermines the rule of law. Unless the FBI is investigating Hillary and then undermining the rule of law is a wonderful thing. And we should all attack Comey.
The media’s response to Comey radically changed based on whether he was investigating Hillary or Trump. And any official who attempts to navigate these tricky currents will face the same whiplash.
Milbank is already ranting that Rod “Rosenstein, who had a sterling reputation when he was confirmed two weeks ago, instantly turned himself into a Trump stooge.” Last year, he wrote the same thing about Comey. “At the start of 2016, the FBI director enjoyed a reputation as a public servant of high integrity.”
"What a year it has been for James Comey!" Milbank began that screed. And it has been quite a year. First he’s the last best hope for stopping Trump. Then, in Milbank’s words, he became a “Trump elector” and “protector”. And now he’s a hero again. Unless he says something else negative about Hillary.
If Comey was Trump’s elector and protector, why did he fire him?
Either Comey is a corrupt tool of Trump. Or he’s a heroic public servant. Either he was Trump’s protector or a threat to him. But he can’t be both.
Either the media left was lying about Comey then. Or it’s lying about him now.
And here’s a third option. Maybe the media is just lying all the time. It lied that Comey elected Trump. It’s lying now when it claims that Trump fired Comey over Russia.
The truth is that Comey was bad at his job. He was bad at it under Obama and under Trump. But most of the time nobody outside the FBI and the DOJ pays much attention to the FBI Director.
Then when the Hillary scandals hit, everyone began paying attention to Comey. And he didn’t handle it well. The FBI Director has to be able to navigate a politicized environment and still do his job. Comey tried and failed. He wasn’t the partisan hack Hillary’s people accused him of being before they belatedly decided he was a hero. But neither was he the lawman who would do the right thing no matter what.
James Comey wasn’t partisan, but he was political. He wasn’t out to serve either party. He just wanted to keep his job and his self-respect. And his flailing efforts to keep everyone happy only lost him both.
There is no one of either party who believes that Comey was doing a good job. There was bipartisan support for removing him. The “Resistance” Dems are just exploiting Comey’s firing to attack Trump.
Just as they exploit anything and everything, including the sun rising in the morning, to attack Trump.
In a matter of hours, Comey went from being lambasted for his testimony about Hillary’s abuse of classified emails to the hero at the center of next Watergate. It’s not about him. It’s about the left’s hatred for President Trump. The leftists, who went from hating to loving Comey with the same speed as the citizens of Orwell’s Oceania, are obsessed with undoing the results of a democratic election.
And that is the real conspiracy and cover-up that has caused a Constitutional crisis.