Comey, Continued….

Yesterday, while editing an post that I intended to send out this morning. I inadvertently hit “publish” rather than “save,” so subscribers received an extra transmittal yesterday.

Sorry about that! But let’s continue that discussion….

I don’t know what the effect of Comey’s actions will be on the election; we still have 8 days, and given the magnitude of the criticism he has received, perhaps he will clarify or otherwise clean up his mess prior to election day. There is speculation that his action will generate more enthusiasm and higher turnout among Trump voters, but it is also possible that anger at what will seem to many Democrats a “dirty trick” will motivate Clinton voters.

My own concern is the potential effect on the down-ticket races. Who knows? We’re in uncharted waters here.

That said, let’s revisit the ethics of Comey’s action.

letter in yesterday’s New York Times addressing that issue deserves broad readership. It was from Richard W. Painter, currently a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, who formerly served as the chief White House ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, during George W. Bush’s administration.

Mr. Painter has filed a complaint against the F.B.I. with the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates Hatch Act violations.

The opening paragraphs of his letter explain the reasons for the rules that are in place–the rules Comey disregarded.

The F.B.I. is currently investigating the hacking of Americans’ computers by foreign governments. Russia is a prime suspect.

Imagine a possible connection between a candidate for president in the United States and the Russian computer hacking. Imagine the candidate has business dealings in Russia, and has publicly encouraged the Russians to hack the email of his opponent and her associates.

It would not be surprising for the F.B.I. to include this candidate and his campaign staff in its confidential investigation of Russian computer hacking.

But it would be highly improper, and an abuse of power, for the F.B.I. to conduct such an investigation in the public eye, particularly on the eve of the election. It would be an abuse of power for the director of the F.B.I., absent compelling circumstances, to notify members of Congress from the party opposing the candidate that the candidate or his associates were under investigation. It would be an abuse of power if F.B.I. agents went so far as to obtain a search warrant and raid the candidate’s office tower, hauling out boxes of documents and computers in front of television cameras.

The F.B.I.’s job is to investigate, not to influence the outcome of an election.

The letter deserves to be read in its entirety, but here is Painter’s conclusion.

Absent extraordinary circumstances that might justify it, a public communication about a pending F.B.I. investigation involving a candidate for public office that is made on the eve of an election is thus very likely to be a violation of the Hatch Act and a misuse of an official position. Serious questions also arise under lawyers’ professional conduct rules that require prosecutors to avoid excessive publicity and unnecessary statements that could cause public condemnation even of people who have been accused of a crime, not to mention people like Mrs. Clinton, who have never been charged with a crime.

This is no trivial matter. We cannot allow F.B.I. or Justice Department officials to unnecessarily publicize pending investigations concerning candidates of either party while an election is underway. That is an abuse of power. Allowing such a precedent to stand will invite more, and even worse, abuses of power in the future.


  1. The current situation regarding Comey, as I responded to David F’s comments yesterday, lacks any semblance of referring to his term “honorable” regarding this entire ugly turn of events.

    The term “honorable” is closely tied to the terms “ethics” and/or “ethical”. Going against Gopper’s belief that people stopped using dictionaries after the eight grade; I drug out all three of my Webster’s dictionaries. The basic definition of “ethics” and “ethical” remains, ” rules of moral behavior” in dictionaries published in 1977, 1999 and 2011. While the definition of these words has not changed through the years; the use and evidence of them in politics has waned steadily and appears to be totally missing in this presidential election which, as Sheila reminds us, is going to effect the down-ticket races. We, in Indiana, will especially be effected as Pence is running with Trump and could carry his pseudo-religious, unethical control to the national level. No need to point out Trump’s lack of ethics…or morals.

    Sheila may have inadvertently hit “publish” sooner than planned but; I believe this two-parter carries more weight and will garner more attention as is.

  2. Thank you for sharing this letter with your readers. A bi-partisan group of ninety-nine prosecutors and Dept. of Justice officials also have written a letter objecting to Comey’s actions in this case and his violation of long-standing FBI policy and protocols.

    Comey was worried about a leak and that was supposedly a reason for going public. Was he not equally worried about leaks on the presumed investigation of Trump’s relationship with Putin and his oligarch friends who have loaned more than a half million dollars to Trump? If the FBI is not investigating that relationship and the leverage that gives a sworn enemy over the man who wants to be President, WHY NOT? That worries me a lot more than Huma Abedin and Anthony Wierner.

  3. Neither I nor anyone else can guess with any certainty what Comey will find or claim to find in looking over emails that have a connection with the Secretary of State’s office. Comey himself says that even he doesn’t know, which raises the interesting question of why he is calling for a further investigation in the first place in this delicate time in electoral politics if he doesn’t know why. While I don’t want to blame the messenger for the message, I do demand to know what is in the message, as Comey should have known with a high degree of specificity before unleashing his announcement, if indeed issuing such an announcement at all in view of certain protocols. This is no time to be vague, but he was and is, and I am beginning to think that we can blame the messenger for the message or, alternatively, that there is no message. In all events, I think this apparently partisan venture into American politics by a federal agency will be soundly rejected by Democrats and Republicans alike (other than by the Trump crazies) for fear that if not rejected we will see repeat performances down the road as such “new normal” incursions in derogation of voters’ rights become routine. I finally predict that supporters of Hillary will be galvanized by all this and that her margin of victory will be enhanced as a result. Meanwhile, tell us what you have found, Mr. Comey, and make it snappy.

  4. Sheila, JoAnn, and Nancy,

    The damage is already done. We better find other ways of mitigating it than just jumping all over Comey and his ETHICS. If Donald Trump becomes President, we have much more serious problems than just Ethics, for example, what about our SURVIVAL as a nation? Does anyone believe the stock market can survive a Donald Trump victory? Does anyone believe that Black Lives Matter is not going to become much more aggressive? What about our military and security arrangements with other countries? The Russians and Chinese are now carrying out joint exercises. Whatever happened to the concept of peace and tranquility or just common sense.

    At one time, no one thought Donald Trump had a chance of being the Republican nominee and what that would mean. And now he has a good chance of being elected President. There’s been little thought PUBLICALLY to what the ramifications will be if he’s elected. . . IT WILL BE RACIAL WARFARE. . . For many years, the increasing anti-Semitism has been mutating into a virulent racism which many white people, whether Republican or Democrats, can’t understand. This MISPERCEPTION is causing a disastrous MISCALCULATION by everyone except the African-Americans. I coined the word DEMOCRACIDE over 20 years ago. And I was right. I don’t believe I’m wrong about FUTURCIDE either. I’ve held multiple URL’s for that word for some time. Donald Trump is about our future. We have about a week to successfully communicate the real issue in this election. If he’s elected our chances for the future look very slim at best. We better find ways to communicate the real facts, if it is possible, as fast as we can.

  5. There is another aspect to Comey’s incursion into the presidential election, and it is this. The perception of independence and integrety that the FBI once held has gone out the window. That independence and integrety are so needed for there to be honest investigations and for evidence presented in courtrooms to be accepted. Now, by politicizing the FBI, what honest American will want to cooperate with or support the agency?

    I do not know what Comey’s intentions were, but his actions have set back the rule of law in this country and denigrated the election process.

  6. Marv,

    Unfortunately, the real facts have been out there for a long time, now. Those in the Trump bubble live in a totally fact free environment, as do those with “Hillary Deraingement Syndrome”. Closely held beliefs are impervious to facts.

    It is a frightening thought that we may elect a moral midget, with no beliefs and no principles to the highest office in the land.

  7. As always, the partially formed feelings I have about current events are perfectly expressed by the members of this blog. This is such an infuriating action by Mr. Comey. I am gratified to read now that the DOJ has standing to look into the emails.

  8. And where oh where is Comey? How it is that he can HIDE all weekend after dropping that bomb to Congress that he knew would get leaked immediately? WTF?
    Jane is right, everyone here is expressing exactly what I am thinking and brewing in my head. WTF?!!!!

  9. Marv; evidently this country has been keeping statistics on the wrong segments of this country; relying too much on economic status, race, religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation. Had we been maintaining stats on the haters, the racists and bigots, the antis and the grabbers; we would have been aware of this strong possibility/probability that Trump will be elected president. They have all rallied behind him; they come from the aforementioned groups and from seemingly innocuous, nondescriptive members of society and apparently outnumber us at this time. Their decisions have been made to support Trump and Pence and that decision has been strengthened by Comey over this past weekend. While those of us who have spent the past year watching both sides, thinking, rationalizing and seeking information, facts and the truth; they have only been listening to Donald Trump, their only source of information and salvation to turn this country into a white man’s plantation controlled by Massa Donald.

    You have been right all along; we haven’t been paying attention to the source of the massive division in this country; but we have been good Germans and can spout that as our reason (excuse) for missing the obvious and turning control over to the enemy, our own homegrown terrorist and his GOP minions.

  10. I can only hope that the rest of the country is as weary of all of the email shit as I am. This slow, drip, drip, drip of absolutely meaningless email crap has desensitized some of the public. One has to wonder why the DC crowd is so interested in HRC’s emails, but everyone else gets a pass. What about W’s millions of emails that were “accidentally” deleted at the end of his term. Heck what about asking Pence to release the emails he was asked for, but went to court to block?

    At this point, it is clear there are many people that are fearful of a woman becoming the president and there will be no limits to try to stop it. I can only hope that those of us that see Secretary Clinton as the best choice for the office will prevail on November 8th.

  11. Comey’s behavior is inexcusable. As a retired federal exec, we all knew about the Hatch Act and its prohibitions. He has forever tarnished the FBI and may have tipped the election to a sociopath. Hopefully it won’t but …..

  12. JoAnn,

    You have to admit we’re a good match. We really understand each other. The one overriding thing that most of us have in common on this blog is the love of democracy which to me represents freedom. And it is about to die. That’s very hard thing to face up to. However, facing up to it is the only way to prevent it.

    Death for most humans is something to fear. I didn’t have that opportunity growing up. It was on my doorstep every day. There was no place for fear. Not exactly a social or economic plus; Definitely in these times a political plus.

    I explained all of this during my lecture at the Inaugural Sun Tzu “Art of War” Conference back in February in Nashville. To be brutally honest, when the stakes are high, you have to kill me to beat me.

    I have a long list of witnesses to testify to the above fact.

  13. This issue serves to remind us of the over all erosion of ethics in our government and it’s departments. Comey has broken the law and should at the very least, be removed from his position as he cannot effectively fulfill the requirements of said position now.
    This situation is the tip of the iceberg of the state of affairs in our political systems. Corruption has touched every office that was once viewed as impregnable. The only solution is for all citizens to stand up and say “enough”. We citizens are not blind to the shameful attempts at manipulation that is being practiced by Comey’s FBI, echoing back to the double standard of J. Edgar Hoover’s leadership.
    We must send a clear message that we will not tolerate corruption of this nature in law enforcement, any where, any time.

  14. I detect an unnecessary note of panic among many Hillary supporters at the prospect of what Comey may or may not come up with in the next eight days. I think that at its worst Hillary will win big but not by a landslide, and at its best (nothing there) she will win by a greater landslide than I have been predicting. In either event, she wins, and for good reason, since whatever is in the emails attributable to her fingerprints short of betraying America to Putin could not possibly be as bad as the dark, divisive, immoral, insulting campaign Don the Con has waged in his attempt to rule or ruin America. I have more faith in the good judgment of Americans than to believe that a majority of them would vote for ruin, whatever their gripes or party.

  15. JoAnn,

    Relax! We still have a week to RIGHT the ship. One of the problems for the TRUMP TAKEOVER is like all other ones it has to eventually drop its deception and come out in the open. Today, it is out in the open with a week to go. Their battle plan has always been deception. The only danger with that type of plan, according to the Military Channel, is that the other side might also be using deception and it was undetected. Historically, in that type of case, the aggressor usually suffers a grave loss. But, not every time.

  16. Gerald is a very bright and courageous guy. However, his predictions are not based on all the facts. Some of which, since he is in his nineties or close to it, he might not want to face. I don’t blame him.

  17. Marv – You’re right. I don’t have all the facts, and neither does anyone else, so my guess is as good as theirs. The facts I have show Hillary winning big and I have no reason to believe she will lose based on what Comey has to offer short of treason. I continue to believe the only question is her margin of victory, but I don’t want anyone not to vote based on my view of things lest we all stay home and go down to defeat to this Orange Buffoon who doesn’t have a clue.

  18. Gerald,

    “Marv–You’re right. I don’t have all the facts, and neither does anyone else, so my guess is as good as theirs.”

    There’s a big difference between the two of us. You’re guessing, I’m PREDICTING based on 45 years of tracking the Religious Right/Far Right movement from its DUALNERVE CENTERS in both Dallas and Jacksonville: The Center of Gravity (COG) in Dallas and the Ground Zero of the spread of hatred in Jacksonville.

  19. Gerald,

    “The facts I have show Hillary winning big and I have no reason to believe she will lose based on what Comey has to offer short of treason.”

    What do you consider AS short of treason?

  20. Marv,
    This is off topic – gotta get off Comey, etc. – it’s too disturbing.

    I was thinking about Trump neo fascism and Adolph Hitler whose speeches are on YouTube.

    Needless to tell you, Hitler’s rhetoric victims were the Jews, Trump’s are Hillary et al. It’s easy to draw comparisons. I wondered what you thought about it.

    We know Trump lately reads his teleprompters as never before, but who in hell writes the stuff? Isn’t it Fascism 101? Are millions of Americans going to be duped as the Germans were in the 1930’s?
    Isn’t it distracting us from Bernie’s nemesis, the Oligarchs?

    I never thought Bush, Jr. would get two terms. Is there a chance Trump will get at least one term? Do we have any idea who will make up a Trump administration? Will it be Republican hopefuls who failed ascending to the Presidency? Are they looking for work?

    Who is Trump’s Joseph Goebbels? How about Hermann Goering?
    Who will be Trump’s Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop? Won’t Trump need the equivalent of the SS to round up unruly American patriots? Will Trump create lots of jobs by building concentration camps? Will Trump lead a coup d’état? Could he name himself Chancellor? Will Mike Pence head up the new Weimar? Will American women go overseas for their reproductive health treatments after Pence destroys Planned Parenthood? Or will they be required to produce more children to populate the new Armed Forces? How will the Pence morality police deal with sinful Americans?

    Didn’t Hitler “Make Germany Great Again” for a while?

    Contemplating these and other possibilities boggles the mind. Please weigh in on this, Marv.

  21. Comey caught in the middle damned if he does, damned if he does not. Comey however made himself a part of the problem.

    What tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive. Now both parties are spinning, bobbing and weaving their respective story lines.

  22. OMG,

    “Who is Trump’s Joseph Goebbels? How about Hermann Goering?”

    I like Hermann Goering. They have a similar body type. Plus I believe Hermann Goering’s godfather was a Jew. Similarly, Trump has a Jewish son-in-law which means like Goering he couldn’t be highly anti-Semitic. How’s my logic so far?

  23. OMG,

    “Didn’t Hitler “Make Germany Great Again” for a while?”

    Yes, for quite a long time. Putting it to the Jews who represented less than 1% was very effectively. Hats off to him. But, now we have the greatest leader of all, Donald Trump, who thinks he can put it to the Jews, African-Americans, Mexicans, LGBT’s, Asians, women, anyone over a 100 I.Q. etc. and “Make America Great Again. He must be thinking back to the migration from Asia through Alaska. Was that around 5 to 10,000 years ago, I’m not an anthropologist?

  24. OMG,

    “Isn’t it distracting us from Bernie’s nemesis, the Oligarchs.”

    Absolutely yes. I’ve taken up way more space on this blog than I deserve the past few weeks. I need to concentrate on the DEVIANT ELITE the rest of this week on my new

  25. Gerald and Louie; I have frequently switched to MSNBC and CNN today and all I have seen is Trump loudly screeching about Hillary’s lawbreaking E-mails, reports on Trump screeching about Hillary’s lawbreaking E-mails and others asking someone to do something about Comey’s effing letter which may or many not be against DOJ regulations. Apparently the DOJ isn’t sure either. Louie; “Comey is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t” is total BS; why did he send the letter if he had no information. Now, much is being made of the fact that President Obama appointed Comey to that FBI leadership position; which he did as a “hands across the aisle” attempt to placate the GOP and prevent accusations of only Democrats being appointed to high level positions.

    Why did Tom Cotton send the letter to Iran with 47 Republican signatures to warn them not to trust President Obama’s word regarding the nuclear pact? Nothing has been done about that letter either and nothing will be done. The current E-mails in question might be, might not be, could be, who the hell knows for sure, E-mails on Wiener’s laptop which was used by him and his wife – whose position could be why this is in the news after being put into the hands of Republican Congressmen. Knowing Republicans today; that assured the letter would be made public and I’m sure their timing was deliberate.

    Please stop telling us that Hillary is going to win this presidential election – not even Hillary believes that. She has repeatedly told people NOT to assume this as fact and told them to vote. Reminding all of us that our vote is important and our vote does count. But it won’t count if we don’t vote because we believed the reports from those who say Hillary will win – either by a landslide or by a slim margin. Trump’s people are saying he is the winner; stop acting and talking like his supporters. This election on all levels is up for grabs.

  26. OK, I’m swimming upstream, given the nature of virtually all the comments here. And as a political independent who doesn’t like either of the candidates, I’d like to focus on Comey’s judgment, not on how it affects the race.

    When testifying before Congress, he promised under oath to let them know if any new developments later arose. Meanwhile, Ms. Abedin told the FBI (also under oath) that she had or was about to turn over any and all devices she had that contained relevant emails. She now says that she didn’t know there were what turned out to be hundreds of thousands of emails on Weiner’s computer, and I’ll take her at her word.

    Nonetheless, the FBI was looking at that computer because of the Weiner investigation. They found the State Dept emails. They notified Comey last Thursday, and he fulfilled his promise the next day with letters to the Senate Committee chairs (Republican) AND to the ranking members (Democrat). Half the country thinks he violated the law and ethical practices. If he had sat on the information until after the election, it would have been the other half of the country that would have felt the same way because that could also influence the election. That strikes me as a “Damned if you do …,” if I’ve ever seen one.

  27. When I read Comey’s letter I see zero except the politics of innuendo which has been the heart of Republican (and Russian) offensive against Hillary over 30 years.

    I want you to know that I am investigating whether crime A has been comitted by person X and could c
    stumble across something that pertains to a closed investigation concerning the possibility of crime B being committed by person Y.

  28. What dreamer ever believed the FBI to be Fair and impartial? Comey’s stunt is no surprise when you look at his provenience. Hoover made the outfit and who could have used an agency more crookedly?

    So much for Obama’s ‘reaching across the aisle!

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