James Comey says he hopes Mueller’s report does not lead to impeachment

James Comey, Trump

James Comey, the former FBI director who Trump fired and then told Lester Holt that he did so because of the Russia investigation, has published a somewhat perplexing op-ed in the New York Times. In the piece, Comey says he hopes that Trump, who he implies is as a “chronic liar who repeatedly attacks the rule of law,” is not impeached following the release of the Mueller report.

Ok, what?

Comey says he wants the report to demonstrate to the world that our justice system can “rise above personal interest and tribalism.”

“I care only that the work be done, well and completely,” wrote Comey.

Even though Comey is disturbed that Trump sought to “protect himself by torching the institutions of justice,” he takes comfort that Trump hasn’t shut down the Mueller investigation. Reports suggest that Trump attempted to fire Mueller in December 2017, and he has continued to attack the credibility of the investigations ever since, a habit that has only ramped up in the last week as the report is expected to drop.

Comey champions the rule of law and an unbiased apolitical justice system that finds “all relevant facts and illuminates the fullest possible view of the truth.” Fair enough. We can all get on board with that.

Comey says we shouldn’t “hope” for the outcome we want, but rather allow the report to illuminate the truth, even if we believe Trump to be unfit.

“Even though I believe Mr. Trump is morally unfit to be president of the United States, I’m not rooting for Mr. Mueller to demonstrate that he is a criminal. I’m also not rooting for Mr. Mueller to ‘clear’ the president. I’m not rooting for anything at all, except that the special counsel be permitted to finish his work, charge whatever cases warrant charging and report on his work.”

Immediately after, Comey admits he does have a hope about Mueller’s report:

“I do have one hope that I should confess. I hope that Mr. Trump is not impeached and removed from office before the end of his term.”

He clarifies that he wants full transparency to the public about the findings and that Congress must carry out their duties.

“I don’t mean that Congress shouldn’t move ahead with the process of impeachment governed by our Constitution, if Congress thinks the provable facts are there. I just hope it doesn’t. Because if Mr. Trump were removed from office by Congress, a significant portion of this country would see this as a coup, and it would drive those people farther from the common center of American life, more deeply fracturing our country.”

And so, the former FBI director seems to believe that Trump, as plainly corrupt as he is, as obviously untruthful, as blatantly working against our justice system as he is, should stay in power. Removing him from office through impeachment would upset his followers, so we should be content to risk going through another divisive election process, even though our last election was a sham. Risking dividing the country over Trump is “not worth it,” as Speaker Pelosi has said.

The problem with Comey’s assertion is that it doesn’t admit the reality that the 2016 presidential election was a travesty of justice, one that fractured the country. The Russians corrupted the election, and Trump publically asked for their assistance in obtaining illegally-obtained information to undermine his political opponent’s chances.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30000 emails…”

Comey’s hope that our election process can resolve this nightmare does not acknowledge that he helped put Trump where he is today. Hillary Clinton herself expressed her belief the Comey’s decision to abruptly make a public statement about reopening investigations into her emails days before the election cost her the presidency. Comey apologized, but the damage was done.

“I have read she has felt anger toward me personally, and I’m sorry for that,” Comey writes of Clinton, according to ABC News. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t do a better job explaining to her and her supporters why I made the decisions I made.”

Comey’s actions arguably helped fracture the country and ever since, the majority have disputed if Trump is a legitimate President. Now, he says he hopes Mueller’s report is not used as a basis to remove the POTUS he helped put in place because it would fracture the country all over again.

It is impossible not to have a sense of irony that the former FBI director argues for impartial illumination of the truth, for following procedures without political bias, when it was he who went against norms and inserted himself into a presidential election just days away. It’s also ironic that he believes only another election can resolve this mess, given that by all indications, the 2020 elections will be corrupted all over again. Only this time, Trump won’t be asking for Russia’s help as a candidate anymore.


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