The usual narrative was that Trump's firing of Comey had turned the FBI against him. The reality is much more complicated.
Like every career Fed organization, there are plenty of different factions and streams. There are Comey loyalists. And plenty of people who despised him for various reasons. A major book tour has only made Comey look selfish and self-aggrandizing.
James Comey’s first interview since President Trump fired him as director of the FBI has enraged his former agents, who deluged The Daily Beast with their disdain as they watched him tell his side of the story to George Stephanopoulos on Sunday night.
“Hoover is spinning in his grave,” said a former FBI official. “Making money from total failure.”
When a promo aired between segments announcing Comey’s upcoming interview with The View, the official grew angrier.
“Good lord, what a self-serving self-centered jackass,” the official said. “True to form he thinks he’s the smartest guy around.”
One longtime Team Comey source—who is still an FBI agent—sent thumbs-up emojis repeatedly during the first half hour, but even this loyalist began to lose patience by the halfway mark—sending a frowny face. A few minutes later there was a nauseous emoji, and then a poop emoji after the final segment.
An additional source, who works frequently with the FBI, said they had refused to watch the extended cut of the interview altogether. “Didn’t watch it—I don’t care, he’s basically a scumbag. I don’t know how they’re letting him write a book in the middle of an investigation that he’s part of. I wonder if he had his book cleared by the intelligence community? He’s supposed to but I bet he didn’t.”
The attacks are likely coming from the left in the FBI. But Comey's attempt to navigate the partisan split had always been seen as a self-serving effort to protect his career.
Comey wants to be seen as a hero who always tried to do the right thing. But he never seems to have actually done it. The principled stands didn't exist. And even some of his loyalists now see him as the guy building a career on the ruins of theirs.