The left is all aflutter this week as James Comey is getting ready to release his long-anticipated book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” a volume that is likely to be among the most sanctimonious books ever published in the political genre. Comey’s sit-down interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is undoubtedly going to be a ratings smash, but the former FBI Director is going to have to convince Americans that he – not President Donald Trump – is the one to trust.
For Trump’s part, he’s getting out in front of Comey Week with a pair of tweets reminding the American people that the man of the hour isn’t the Boy Scout he pretends to be.
“James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR,” Trump wrote on Friday. “Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI. His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst ‘botch jobs’ of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!”
Trump, of course, paved the way for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller by making the decision to fire Comey last May, so it remains to be seen if that was truly the best possible move under the circumstances. If Mueller’s only course of legitimate investigation against the president at this point is obstruction of justice – and that seems to be the case – then Trump might have been better off allowing Comey to pursue the investigation himself. If Mueller comes back with an obstruction case and Democrats take the House in November, Trump’s presidency could be in some degree of jeopardy. That’s “darkest timeline” type talk, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
As far as Comey is concerned, though, it has already been established that his reputation as a straight shooter is not as polished and unblemished as his Washington allies would like to think. He has heat with both Republicans and Democrats for his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation, his role in the FISA abuse scandal is still yet to be determined, and it is beyond dispute that he leaked classified information to the press in the wake of his firing. We expect that his book will be the next “Fire and Fury”: A week or two of overhyped mania followed by a more sober, Hmm, this guy ain’t what he appears to be postmortem. Trump will survive.