Sunday, October 30, 2016

James Comey Is Damaging American Democracy

Apparent Trump stooge, James Comey, and Hillary Clinton
For year now the Republicans have been damaging American democracy through efforts to disenfranchise those who do not support the Republican Party's reverse Robin Hood policies (sold to GOP supporters through appeals to racism and bigotry) and efforts to provide special religious rights to right wing Christians.  Now, through the vehicle of James Comey, they are trying to throw the presidential election to Donald Trump, a narcissistic misogynist who operates on a platform of lies and demagoguery that would have made Adolph Hitler proud. I have worked with the FBI at times over the years and acted as a legal adviser in the context of certain FBI investigations and never, ever, have I seen such actions to float damaging comments and statements about an investigation as on Friday when Comey violated long standing FBI polices  and seemingly put his own agenda first.  I cannot help but wonder what he was promised and by whom. Words do not adequately describe my disgust with the man.  He needs to immediately resign or be fired.  An op-ed in the Washington Post by two former deputy attorney generals underscore the impropriety of Comey's actions.  Here are highlights:
Decades ago, the department decided that in the 60-day period before an election, the balance should be struck against even returning indictments involving individuals running for office, as well as against the disclosure of any investigative steps. The reasoning was that, however important it might be for Justice to do its job, and however important it might be for the public to know what Justice knows, because such allegations could not be adjudicated, such actions or disclosures risked undermining the political process. A memorandum reflecting this choice has been issued every four years by multiple attorneys general for a very long time, including in 2016.
When they take their vows and assume office, senior officials in the Justice Department and the FBI become part of these traditions, with an obligation to preserve, protect and defend them. They enjoy a credibility established by generations of honorable public servants, and they owe a solemn obligation to maintain that credibility. They are not to arrogate to themselves the choices made by the Justice Department and honored over the years.
As part of that obligation, they must recognize that the department is an institution, not a person. As its temporary custodians, they must neither seek the spotlight for their own advancement nor avoid accountability for the hard decisions they inevitably face. Justice allows neither for self-aggrandizing crusaders on high horses nor for passive bureaucrats wielding rubber stamps from the shadows. It demands both humility and responsibility.
As former deputy attorneys general in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, we are troubled by the apparent departure from these standards in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server. First, the FBI director, James B. Comey, put himself enthusiastically forward as the arbiter of not only whether to prosecute a criminal case — which is not the job of the FBI — but also best practices in the handling of email and other matters. Now, he has chosen personally to restrike the balance between transparency and fairness, departing from the department’s traditions. As former deputy attorney general George Terwilliger aptly put it, “There’s a difference between being independent and flying solo.”
Comey now finds himself wanting to update the public and Congress on each new development in the investigation, even before he and others have had a chance to assess its significance. He may well have been criticized after the fact had he not advised Congress of the investigative steps that he was taking. But it was his job — consistent with the best traditions of the Department of Justice — to make the right decision and take that criticism if it came. Department officials owe the public an explanation of how events have unfolded the way they have. There must be some recognition that it is important not to allow an investigation to become hijacked by the red-hot passions of a political contest.
[W]e now have real-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation. Perhaps worst of all, it is happening on the eve of a presidential election. It is antithetical to the interests of justice, putting a thumb on the scale of this election and damaging our democracy.

Fire Comey now!!

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