Comey's missteps made Trump president, so not surprisingly, he's not WRONG in saying the FBI wasn't gunning for Donald.
To Trump's defenders and boosters, there's only one quote from Inspector General Michael Horowitz that matters. It wasn't in his report, but in his testimony today: When Lindsey Graham asked Horowitz if James Comey was correct to say the report had vindicated him, Horowitz's response was that no one involved in the activities detailed by his report is vindicated.
It was a great soundbyte and for approximately the 11,879,345, the Trumplanders predicted that arrests for treason would be imminent, starting with Comey.
The problem here is that "vindicated" isn't a precise legal term. Horowitz's soundbyte just meant that no one involved should feel great about the whole deal, which, frankly, I don't think anyone is going to disagree with. There is basically no one in the country who thinks the investigation was handled correctly.
But what Comey has been talking about is this:
And he's materially correct about all of that. The part we might quibble over is the assertion that everybody is good people, but you know, that's subjective. What the IG report found pretty definitively is that no, the FBI is not a hotbed of pro-Clinton Democrats. No surprise there.
Up until a gangster and con man named Donald Trump decided to run for president, the GOP was very proud to think of the FBI as one of "theirs". After all, they're the party that backs law enforcement overreach and violence. As they play for all the marbles, there's a long history of Republican presidents treating federal law enforcement and the intelligence community as their own personal enforcers, and then they turn around and cry foul when a Democratic president merely tries to get a federal agency to enforce the law in an even-handed, bipartisan fashion, as happened when President Obama directed the IRS to crackdown on non-profits that were being inappropriately political.
I don't think James Comey should feel vindicated about anything. If he hadn't mishandled the investigations into both candidates in 2016, Donald wouldn't be in the White House. That's not hyperbole. It's hard to predict what might have come out of the Trump investigation if it hadn't been impeded and covered up, but high-ranking people from both campaigns have conceded that Trump wouldn't have won without Comey's part in manufacturing an October surprise against the Clinton campaign. The impetus for that was Giuliani's tame FBI agents in New York — a concept which, again, just does not exist for Democrats — but he was the head of the FBI. The buck stops with him.. He's the one who knuckled under to Jason Chaffetz's demands that he produce a prop letter for the press.
"Vindicated" is not a legal term, though. He was right in saying that the investigation into Trump was not illegal, not spurned on by partisan concerns or at the instigation of political operatives. He was right in saying the Trump campaign wasn't targeted or spied on. He was correct.
Horowitz telling him to so sit down and stop making a fool of himself doesn't change that.
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