James Comey shouldn’t be counting his chickens before they hatch.
After Monday’s release of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the FBI’s investigation of President Donald Trump and the Trump presidential campaign, the fired FBI director took to the pages of The Washington Post to proclaim himself vindicated.
But one section of Horowitz’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday makes it clear that Comey was overstating the case considerably.
In fact, while the Horowitz report stated it found no evidence of “bias,” it found the FBI investigation was rife with “significant inaccuracies” and omissions.
And, as Horowitz told Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, the findings “don’t vindicate anybody” involved.
The question arose when Graham specifically referred to Comey and his reaction to Horowitz’s findings about the FBI’s surveillance applications to the special court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“Former FBI Director James Comey said this week that your report vindicates him,” Graham told Horowitz. “Is that a fair assessment of your report?”
“ I think the activities we found here don’t vindicate anybody who touched this FISA,” Horowitz answered.
Check it out here:
Anyone reading Comey’s long, occasionally self-pitying commentary piece in The Washington Post would have gotten the impression that the Horowitz report was a clean bill of health.
Sure, Comey acknowledged that mistakes were made, but he claimed that no ill will was intended.
“That’s always unfortunate, but human beings make mistakes,” he wrote dismissively.
Many media outlets tried to play up the same theme — including The New York Times, naturally — but it more than strains credulity.
The 17 major “mistakes” documented in the inspector general’s report are not harmless typographical errors.
They included omitting statements that would have presented Trump campaign aide and surveillance target Carter Page in a favorable light (such as the fact that he’d previously done sensitive work for another government agency, presumably the CIA) and failing to tell the judges about problems with Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who compiled much of the “dossier” on which the FBI relied for the warrant applications.
In fact, all of the so-called “mistakes” Comey chalks up to understandable human frailty tended to run in one direction – toward convincing any reader of the need for continued surveillance.
It’s not just hard to believe, it’s impossible to believe.
In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, former federal prosecutor, author and commentator Andrew McCarthy likened the string of events to the willful obfuscation employed by some in the media and the government when a clear act of Islamic terrorism takes place and there’s a lot of chin-stroking bemusement about what possible “motive” could be involved.
“I’m having this out-of-body experience the whole day, especially the conversation about whether, you know, whether bias motivated this or not,” he said.
“I kind of feel like I feel when there’s an Islamic, I’m sorry, a jihadist terrorist attack where the evidence is neon-blinking and we sit around saying, ‘we may never know what the motive was.’
“I mean, really?”
Andy McCarthy’s ‘out-of-body experience’ over ‘bias’ | https://t.co/akNbnTeewE
— P. A. Ritzer (@PARitzer) December 11, 2019
At another point in the interview, McCarthy said a jury of Justice Department lawyers like those who wrote the Horowitz report might never find any defendant guilty, since the only proof of guilt they would take would apparently be a signed confession.
“But when you prove bias in the courtroom, you do it on the basis of common-sense inference from what people say and what they do,” McCarthy said.
“You don’t rely on someone to say, ‘I’m biased.’ It’s just not the way cases work.”
As a former FBI director, James Comey should know well how cases work.
And he should know that with still another investigation underway by U.S. Attorney John Durham, this case is far from over.
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