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In the discussion thread: My own 2 cents on James Comey [View all]

Response to Botany (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2018, 11:21 PM

17. That's actually NOT what he said

 

He said well, here's part of the transcript:

That people will read that story and try to put themselves in my shoes. Try to realize that I'm not trying to help a candidate or hurt a candidate; I'm trying to do the right thing. And you can come up with different conclusions. Reasonable people woulda chosen a different door for reasonable reasons. But it's just not fair to say we were doing it for some illegitimate reason.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: If you knew that letter would elect Donald Trump, you'd still send it?

JAMES COMEY: I would. I would. In fact, that was a question asked by one of my best people-- a deputy general counsel in the FBI who is a very thoughtful and quiet person, who didn't speak a lot. And that-- that morning we were making that decision, she asked, "Should you consider that what you're about do to may help elect Donald Trump president?"

And I paused, and then I said, "Thank you for asking that question. That's a great question. But the answer is not for a moment because down that path lies the death of the FBI as an independent force in American life. If I ever start considering whose political fortunes will be affected by a decision, we're done. We're no longer that group in America that is apart from the partisans, and that can be trusted. We're just another player in the-- in the tribal battle."

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But-- but at some level, wasn't the decision to reveal influenced by your assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to win? And your concern that she wins, this comes out several weeks later, and then that's taken by her opponent as a sign that she's an illegitimate president?

JAMES COMEY: It must have been. I don't remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been. 'Cause I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. And so I'm sure that it-- that it was a factor. Like I said, I don't remember spelling it out, but it had to have been. That-- that she's going to be elected president, and if I hide this from the American people, she'll be illegitimate the moment she's elected, the moment this comes out.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: An-- and doesn't that also explain, at some level, your decision to conceal the fact that you're investigating the Trump campaign for possible ties to Russia? You conceal it so you don't give him an excuse to say, "Hey, this thing is rigged."

JAMES COMEY: Well, no. Not with respect to the counterintelligence investigation of those small number of Americans. That-- that was actually not a hard call, given the sensitivity of the matter and that it was ongoing. We didn't want to tip anybody off. What-- you're right though, with respect to the decision by President Obama, as to how to talk about the Russian interference with the American people.

I think it was-- I mean, he said it to me-- in that meeting I described, "Putin backed the wrong horse." He was clearly thinking, "I don't want to, given that Trump's going to lose, be-- look like I'm putting my finger on the scale."

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You've said that a few times now. You think it's not a close call. Boy, your critics say this is a clear, clear, clear double standard. You revealed information about Hillary Clinton; you concealed information about Donald Trump. That elected Donald Trump.

JAMES COMEY: Yeah, I get that. I get that-- why they say that. But what I'd ask them to do is take a step back and stare at the two cases and the posture they were in. The Hillary Clinton email case, which began with a public referral, and so was public, th-- and we were actually investigating the candidate herself; and the counterintelligence investigations trying to figure out whether a small group of people, not Donald Trump-- we were not investigating Donald Trump.

Whether this small group of Americans was coordinating anything with the Russians. We had just started the investigation. Didn't know whether we had anything. So it would have been brutally unfair to those people to talk about it. And it woulda jeopardized the investigation.

As I said, the Department wouldn't agree to talk about that, and only in a general way, until the following March. So I hope those critics-- I get the initial reaction. It seems inconsistent. But if you take the time and look at the posture of the two cases, they're very, very different. And actually illustrate the rule that we're following.

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