Whatever James Comey was hoping for, this wasn’t it.
When the former FBI director sat down with Chris Wallace of Fox News on Sunday, Comey was clearly trying to put the best spin possible on last week’s report by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
After claiming in a Washington Post commentary piece on Tuesday that the report had vindicated him, Comey took a slightly more contrite tack with Wallace, but for President Donald Trump, it wasn’t nearly contrite enough.
So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong. Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2019
As the world knows by now, the lengthy report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz detailed numerous “significant inaccuracies” and omissions on the part of the FBI in material it submitted to the secret court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to obtain warrants on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Some of those omissions were glaring — such as failing to inform the court that Page had a history of cooperating with American intelligence about his contacts with Russian agents.
Yet in his interview with Wallace, Comey tried to slough that off as “sloppiness.”
Check it out here.
Comey admits DOJ watchdog was right about FBI sloppiness with FISA: “He’s right, I was wrong.” pic.twitter.com/CWrxQFEfy5
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 15, 2019
“He’s right, I was wrong,” Comey said, referring to Horowitz. “I was overconfident in the procedures that FBI and Justice had built over 20 years. I thought they were robust enough. It’s incredibly hard to get a FISA (warrant). I was overconfident in those, ‘cause he’s right. There was real sloppiness. Seventeen things that either should have been in the applications or at least discussed and characterized differently.
“It was not acceptable. And so he’s right, I was wrong.”
In a Twitter post, Trump was unsparing.
“So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong,” Trump wrote. “Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”
That’s an excellent question.
Since even before Trump took office, his presidency has been dogged by what have turned out to be essentially basely smears generated by his political opponents:
— The scurrilous so-called Steele dossier that was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee — and published in its entirety by the website BuzzFeed just before Trump’s inauguration;
— The seemingly interminable investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller that turned up nothing substantive to back up accusations that the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia;
— The FBI’s investigation, backed by FISA court warrants that have now been exposed to have depended on “significant” inaccuracies and omissions that Comey, the Democratic Party, and their mainstream media allies seemingly expect the country to accept as being the product of “sloppiness.”
And now, of course, Trump is facing ludicrous articles of impeachment for behavior that is nowhere near the “high crimes and misdemeanors” envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
Comey started out his response to the Horowitz report with a commentary piece in The Washington Post that was both self-justifying and self-pitying — and made him look bad, no matter what his fans might say.
On Sunday, he tried a sit-down with Fox News that only made him look worse.
And it gave ample grounds for the president of the United States, whom Comey has helped defame for more than two years, to ask when Comey plans to apologize — and even suggest the possibility of criminal prosecution.
Whatever James Comey was hoping for when he decided to join the anti-Trump #resistance, whatever he expected to come out of the investigation his bureau launched against a duly elected president, whatever public relations benefit he thought might come from going on “Fox News Sunday” to say “I was wrong,” this wasn’t it.
But an apology at least might help.
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