• Review: A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership is Mostly About Making Jim Comey Rich

    April 25, 2018

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Post-Constitution America, Trump

    Jesus to Trump: Drop Dead

    Despite the lofty title, in A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership James Comey comes across in turns petty, smug, sanctimonious, bitter, and most of all, pandering.


    Comey feeds the rubes exactly what they paid the carnival sideshow barker in front at Barnes and Noble to hear: the pee tape, the jokes about small hands, the comparisons of Trump to a mob boss, and enough Obama-worship to fill a week’s worth of Maddow.

    Where Comey could have shined — clarifying historical events from the Bush and Obama eras, shedding real light on the FBI’s interplay with the Clinton campaign, verifying or denouncing parts of the Russiagate narrative — he stops purposefully short. A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership is a quick grab at the money, something that in the old days would have been on pay-per-view cable or tucked away inside a second-tier men’s magazine.


    Comey tells us Trump is obsessed with the pee tape, desperate for the FBI to investigate-to-exonerate. “I’m a germaphobe,” Comey quotes Trump, emphasizing the president claimed he only used the Russian hotel room to change clothes. The then-Director of the FBI was apparently non-committal to his boss, but in his book safely removed by a year and the publishing process Comey writes “I decided not to tell him the activity alleged did not seem to require either an overnight stay or even being in proximity to the participants. In fact, though I didn’t know for sure, I imagined the presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow was large enough for a germaphobe to be at a safe distance from the activity.”

    Classy, and it sets the tone for the two men’s encounters over loyalty pledges, Mike Flynn, and all things Russia. Trump says something neatly packaged and impeachment-worthy, conveniently only in a conversation he and Comey are privy to. Comey, rather than seek clarification, always assumes the worst, keeps his thoughts to himself, but remembers to document every word in writing. Everything about James Comey is presented so that you get the message that everything he is — straight-arrow bureaucrat, warrior-poet of the people, apostle of law and order, defender of the Constitution — is what Trump isn’t. It’s my word against his, you know who you believe, might as well be the title of the book.

    You were expecting insight? Trump never laughs, Comey writes, a clear tell to a soul-seer POTUS harbors “deep insecurity, an inability to be vulnerable or to risk himself by appreciating the humor of others.” Comey describes Trump as shorter than he expected with a “too long” tie. The eyes, by the way, are “expressionless.” Comey says the president’s hands were “smaller than mine.” Jim, we get it — Trump is short, wears his ties long to compensate, has tiny hands — brother, just represent: I’m a bigger man than the president!


    The Clintons are always in the background. Comey teases there is classified but unverified info on Loretta Lynch that “casts serious doubt on the Attorney General’s independence in connection with the Clinton investigation” but unlike in the case of Trump, where classification and proprietary have the value of a paper bag in the rain, Comey reveals no details.

    Elsewhere, Comey creates his own standard, well outside the law, for why the investigation into Clinton’s exposure of classified material on her personal unclassified server did not lead to prosecution: she gosh golly just didn’t intend to do anything criminally wrong, he says, taking the term “willful” in the actual law and twisting it to mean “evil intent.” Comey says prosecution would have required a specific smoking gun message from someone telling Clinton sending classified material via unclassified channels was wrong. He has nothing to say about whether that message might have been in the 30,000 emails Clinton deleted, only shrugging his shoulders to say there was nothing to justify prosecution as far as anyone looked. Why, he adds, they even asked Hillary herself.

    And as long as he’s making up the law, those memos Comey wrote of conversations between two government employees, on Federal property, regarding national security-related official government business? He “regards” them as personal property, so their contents didn’t have to be classified and thus could not by definition be leaked. He did not, however, include them in his book and they remain hidden from the public.

    Comey writes he felt confident reopening the Clinton email probe days before the election because he ­assumed Clinton would win, and if the new investigation was revealed after her victory it might make her seem “illegitimate.” He says the same thing about keeping Russian meddling quiet, certain it wouldn’t matter when Hillary became his boss a few months later. The irony of Comey setting out to legitimize the expected Clinton presidency ended up hurting her aside, what is disturbing is the blatant admission a partisan calculus was part of the decision making in any way at all.


    It’s a heck of a thing to admit in writing, and shows how empty Comey’s constant claims to integrity lie. Should any serious prosecution emerge from the mess of the Trump presidency, Comey’s credibility as a witness is tainted, and his value to the American people he claims to serve thus diluted. Comey will see his testimony whittled down by defense lawyers even now cross-indexing statements in the book with the public record. And who knows what Seth and Trevor and Rachel will pull out of him?

    Most people tangled up in Washington beheadings get around these problems by waiting until after the dust has settled to write their books. That was the case for the Watergate gang, Oliver North, and Monica Lewinsky. The problem with Comey waiting is that there’s very little new here. If your impeachment fantasy includes the pee tape, or if you believe it is made-up, Comey has nothing to enlighten you either way.

    Instead, this is like reading a 13-year-old’s diary about why she hates boys, or a bunch of angry Tweets dragged out over 304 pages. Comey doesn’t appear to have any political ambitions, and he doesn’t seem to be using the book to audition for a talk show job. It’s not even good “score settling” in that it’s just mostly the same stuff you’ve heard before.


    And that’s all a shame, because there is a better book Comey could have written. Comey was witness to the legal wranglings inside the Bush administration over NSA’s illegal domestic spying on Americans, and was in the hospital room when Bush White House officials tried to bully ailing Attorney General John Ashcroft into reauthorizing the Stellar Wind surveillance program. Comey was there for the debates over torture, and under Obama, the use of the Espionage Act to punish journalists and whistleblowers. None of that was morally repugnant to him at a Trump-like level, and he never resigned in protest to protect his honor. Why, Jim?

    Bu instead of insight into all that we get a quick overview that adds little to the known facts. Comey’s narratives are designed only to show leaders in each instance acted honorably enough for Comey’s taste, as opposed to Trump. Comey’s visceral hatred of Trump as a liar and a boor prevents Comey from writing an honorable memoir of his decades inside government, and instead drives him to present a version of events where history is only of value when it can be slaved to making Trump look bad in comparison. It’s a thin shell for anyone who knows more about these events than Colbert or Meyers spoon out.

    There’s a reason why circus sideshows got out of town after a few days, before the rubes figured out the “Alien from Mars” was just a rabbit with some fake teeth glued on. It’s pretty clear Comey’s higher loyalty lies only to making a quick buck for himself with a near-substance free book, before anyone realizes it’s all a fraud.


    Update: Amazon dropped the pre-order price three bucks the day after for Comey’s book was formally released…)


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    Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      Making him Rich? You know better than that. Nobody gets rich writing books.

      No, this is about Comey’s guilty conscience. First, he let Hillary off the hook. He should have charged her for reckless security violations. Talk about a Kaine mutiny. Then he influenced the deciding voters to go for Trump. He is Dr. Frankenstein. His monster may destroy US.

      Can’t wait for the movie.

      04/25/18 9:18 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      2

      Trump is painted as the guy who demands loyalty when it could have been the Obama administration which first put pressure on Comey to be a team player. I understand Meuller has now bequeathed his investigation task to his grandchildren if it isn’t completed before his death.

      04/25/18 1:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      Donald Trump and loyalty. Words that should never appear in the same sentence- Melania Trump

      04/25/18 3:21 PM | Comment Link

    • Fran Macadam said...

      4

      Thanks, as always, Peter!

      04/27/18 8:52 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      5

      Bauer- I think the twisted DC dealings of the Obama administration will remain under wraps for many years. Trump is not an aberration in my opinion. The first country club booking I played after Trump’s surprise victory I started with Que Sera, Sera and Let It Be as a mashup. As an independent I ruefully accepted the results. Barack and Hillary didn’t like what American style democracy can sometimes deliver and their coup efforts are more destructive than Trump’s raid on the treasury.

      04/27/18 12:48 PM | Comment Link

    • Traven said...

      6

      the FBI’s task since the Palmer raids in the 1920’s has been to infiltrate and hamstring common people’s organizations that question the status quo. Comey carries that same burden. Never the less I feel that beyond his “higher values BS” his book and speaking out is helpful in providing background info to the citizens on the current viceroy of the U.S.

      04/28/18 12:30 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      Don’t read the Book, wait for the movie.
      Spoiler alert: No happy ending.

      Watching the theater of the absurd on the cable “news” channels, one wonders if we are just bit players in infinite reruns of Donald Trump’sReality Show, and we have all entered the Twilight Zone.

      Submitted for your approval, the Eternal return (also known as eternal recurrence). It is a theory that the universe and all existence and energy has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space, that Life is a circle and Relive our lives endlessly like the Earth revolves around the sun.

      With the decline of antiquity and the spread of Christianity, the theory fell into disuse in the Western world, with the exception of Friedrich Nietzsche, who connected the thought to many of his other concepts, including amor fati. Eternal return is based on the philosophy of pre-determinism in that people are predestined to continue repeating the same events over and over again.

      To what end is the question. Are we destined to Relive our miserable failings and inhumanities to our fellow man? And if so, who is directing this last picture show? Comey shouldn’t blame Demented. He is just playing his part too.

      04/29/18 12:53 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      Theater of the absurd- we have seen this picture before

      Guns will be barred during Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance at an upcoming National Rifle Association convention to protect his safety — prompting survivors of the Parkland school shooting in Florida to wonder why the gun group won’t agree to gun restrictions elsewhere to protect children.

      Those attending the NRA Leadership Conference in Dallas are on notice that no firearms or “weapons of any kind,” or ammunition, will be allowed in the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center “prior to and during” Pence’s appearance on May 4.

      Only in Amerika

      04/29/18 5:18 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      9

      Bauer- Wolff and Comey have become very wealthy from their exposes on Trump. It suggests to me that so called progressives and liberals need their self righteous fixes. They cannot move on. They don’t want to move on- it feels too good to stay enraged at what American style democracy served up in 2016.

      04/30/18 7:42 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      10

      The Golden State Serial Killer has been outed through unusual DNA cataloguing. Team USA serial killers- Nixon, Kissinger, McNamara, Westmoreland and others hide in plain sight. Bush and his team of USA serial killers gleefully palmed the killing baton and then passed it to a goofy Obama who was very pleased to pass it on to Trump. Maybe someone will drop it accidentally or on purpose.Well, I can dream.

      04/30/18 8:26 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      11

      “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership is a quick grab at the money, something that in the old days would have been on pay-per-view cable or tucked away inside a second-tier men’s magazine.”

      1. Agreed. Comey should donate his profits to charity.
      2. What is a first-tier men’s mag? Hustler or Playboy?
      3. Truth and lies. Comey should have asked the pussygrabber if he did sexually assault women, reminding Demented it was a felony to lie to an investigator.

      As for the feigned Trumpian outraged evilgelicals who cried Wolf, I say fuck them. The truth is it is all about money. The evilgelicals value voters only give a damn about money and their power, desperately trying to hold back the tide of immigrants like those Mexican rapists and those from shithole countries.

      Speaking of quick grabs in the old days, Tom Brokaw said a woman who recently accused him of sexual assault invited him to her New York hotel room.

      “I should not have gone but I emphatically did not verbally and physically attack her,” Brokaw said.

      “Back then had she reported something like this, I don’t think anyone would’ve blinked,” said Sarah Ellison of The Washington Post. “I think it’s a different time.”

      But Ellison said a second unnamed NBC employee described another incident around the same time. She told the Post Brokaw put her hands against his chest, pulled her closer and then invited her to later come to his office. Brokaw told the Post “no such incident happened.” The Post said neither woman reported their allegations to NBC at the time.

      Sounds like someone looking for a book deal.

      04/30/18 11:00 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      12

      Fatal Attraction meets Broadcast News

      04/30/18 3:50 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      13

      Yeah, Comey should be ashamed. Definitely tries to make Trump look bad in comparison. Of course, every terrible thing Trump has been accused is likely true. The only thing left to prove is Demented personally driove Ted Cruz’s dad’s getaway car from the JFK assassination, and did he have threesomes with the porn stars and his daughter. Still the evilgelicals will support him…because he ain’t Hillary.

      05/3/18 9:15 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      14

      Bauer- check out James Brovard’s essay on Comey in today’s Counterpunch. I think Comey still teaches Sunday School at his church on occasion.

      05/3/18 12:00 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...

      15

      JP,

      Comey is a perfect example of Hanlon’s Razor:

      “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

      That goes for Mueller and the FBI.

      05/3/18 1:10 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      16

      The moral of the ‘Stormy’ is

      1. Demented is a proven pathological liar and everything he says is a lie until proven otherwise;

      2. Comey is a self centered fool who believes Comey knows best who doesn’t let the facts get in the way of his story. He helped to create this mess. His book should is accurately titled, as he has no higher loyalty than to himself.

      05/4/18 9:17 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      17

      Why are we so concerned about a private peepee tape when our government pisses on our privacy?

      Item: NSA collected 534 million phone call and text message records (time, date, location, from, to — but not the content), which more than triples its surveillance takings in 2016.

      And not one terrorist plot was stopped because of it.

      05/5/18 8:18 PM | Comment Link

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