Liberals are going to have to choose a side.
With former FBI Director James Comey riding a wave of publicity on the eve of the release of his new memoir, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch issued a statement this weekend that directly contradicts Comey’s version of some events surrounding the tumultuous 2016 presidential election.
His book hasn’t even been released yet, but Comey’s already being called a liar by one of the biggest names in Barack Obama’s administration.
According to published excerpts of Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty,” the former FBI director accuses Lynch of trying to get him to spin the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails by referring to it as a “matter” – an anodyne word if ever there was one – instead of the more accurate and ominous term, “investigation.”
In the book, Comey said he perceived the wording to be a directive from the Clinton playbook.
“The attorney general seemed to be directing me to align with the Clinton campaign strategy,” Comey wrote. “Her ‘just do it’ response to my question indicated that she had no legal or procedural justification for her request, at least not one grounded in our practices or traditions. Otherwise, I assume, she would have said so.”
In the portion of his interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that Sunday night, Comey elaborated.
“To be honest, it gave me a bad feeling,” Comey said of Lynch’s directive. “And maybe I should have pushed harder in the moment.”
But in her own statement released Sunday, in an obvious attempt to pre-empt Comey’s interview, Lynch hit back hard.
She began by defending her preference for using neutral terminology such as “matter” to describe the Clinton probe because of the Justice Department’s longstanding practice of declining to confirm or deny whether an individual is under investigation.
That might be hard to swallow, but Lynch is a lawyer, so it’s not surprising she can come up with an explanation for anything.
But it’s the final part of the statement that really hits home. Essentially, she called Comey a liar.
“I have known James Comey almost 30 years. Throughout his time as director we spoke regularly about some of the most sensitive issues in law enforcement and national security,” Lynch said. “If he had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings. He never did.”
It was a remarkable political betrayal, considering the two not only worked together to elect Clinton president, but knew each other for decades before that.
So it comes to this: Comey wrote that Lynch’s request was so unusual that it made him uncomfortable, that he questioned it, and was told to “just do it.”
Lynch, however, says the terminology was standard procedure and — more importantly — Comey never questioned it at all.
One of them is lying.
It could well be Lynch. She’s the one whose record will be forever tarnished by her tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton at an out-of-the-way part of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
But Comey has also shown himself to be less than honest. His nationally televised attempt to exonerate Clinton in July — an attempt we now know was influenced by FBI bias against then-Republican candidate Donald Trump — tried to fix an American presidential election.
Conservatives and Republican critics of the Obama administration have no problem being skeptical of either.
But liberals are going to have to choose sides. And it could get very ugly.
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