*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Since rogue police officers began gunning down unarmed African-American males because they are African American males, many Americans have lost even a semblance of trust in the law enforcement community. It’s not fair, necessarily, but that is what happens when the community’s trust in law enforcement is squandered by trigger-happy racists. At least most Americans could look to the federal law enforcement community with confidence it was trustworthy and focused on catching criminals to turn over to the Justice Department for prosecution; that is until recently. Sadly, any sense of trust in the nation’s top law enforcement agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is gone because its director apparently decided to try his hand at influencing a presidential election.
It took a while, but President Obama finally commented on “his F.B.I. Director’s” decision to publicize that the Bureau found emails on serial sexter Anthony Weiner’s computer, one he shared with his not-estranged wife, that Comey thought were related to “the Hillary Clinton server case.” The President had sharp criticism in an interview and “implied” that Comey’s actions violated investigative guidelines and trafficked in innuendo. The President said,
“We don’t operate on incomplete information. We don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”
Comey’s decision to publicize the Bureau’s “discovery” can hardly be disputed as anything other than purely political and here is why. This past summer Comey decided against releasing any information on Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, or his connections and business dealings with the Vladimir Putin-supported candidate running a campaign to lead Ukraine.
At the time, along with urging from the Justice Department, Mr. Comey concluded that the F.B.I. would not issue subpoenas or take other steps that would make the case public so close to the election. Fast forward to last Friday when F.B.I. director James B. Comey ignored Justice Department warnings and sent a letter to Congress about a new inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails discovered on a computer she had no control over and emails that did not originate with her. As the President, former and current top law enforcement and Justice Department officials have noted, Comey’s partisan actions were “not just a departure from longstanding policy;” it purposely inserted the F.B.I. and the Justice Department directly into the election.
It was exactly the situation the Department of Justice officials were trying desperately to avoid; Mr. Comey had other ideas. And, it is worth repeating that it is the sole reason Mr. Comey claimed was why the Bureau didn’t release any information to the public or Congress about its investigation(s) into Trump’s campaign and its connection to the Russians.
Comey’s letter was sent over stern objections of the Justice Department and it “unleashed a torrent of news that laid bare the government’s internal deliberations. It also exposed infighting and occasional mistrust between rank-and-file F.B.I. agents and senior department officials.”
As the extremely conservative Wall Street Journal noted, “Mr. Comey lent credence to Donald Trump’s toxic accusation that the system is rigged” by twice using his federal law enforcement connections and authority to interfere with an election. As many, many news outlets and political observers have noted, Mr. Comey used politics to insert himself and the F.B.I. into the election when he went to the press in July to talk about whether a “reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Hillary Clinton. If he weren’t afflicted with conservative hubris, Comey would have known that kind of a decision belongs to the Justice Department. And now he blatantly flouted long-standing Justice Department protocols, and a strong warning, that prohibits anyone, even F.B.I. Director James Comey, from using his “official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election.” Interfering in or affecting an election is precisely the lame excuse Comey gave for not holding a press conference to talk about Trump’s connection with the Russians or his former campaign manager’s relationship with the Putin regime.
Americans can no longer trust their law enforcement officials at any level if the top agency in the land is perceived as corrupted by political partisanship. As the conservative WSJ editorial said, Comey “has lost all the trust of his political masters, his congressional overseers and the people.” Americans demand that law enforcement is above politics or favoritism; not deliberately interfering and attempting to influence an election.
If Comey had not held back publicity about the Bureau’s investigations into Trump out of concern for an election, it would be questionable whether his July press conference or recent letter to Congress were political. That question has been answered and it is impossible to conclude Comey did not have a partisan intent to influence the election to aid Republicans up and down the ticket.
As other commenters have noted, President Obama can hardly fire Comey politically, so this author concurs with the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and NBC’s Pete Williams in calling for Comey to “do the right thing” and resign. Go home, get the Hell out of Dodge, and allow the nation’s top investigative and enforcement arm of the federal justice system to heal and help federal law enforcement officials to gain the trust of the people. The nation’s top police agency has no credibility with a partisan hack running the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a shadowy Republican campaign operation.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.