Trump assessment of Comey as “nut job” actually kinder than the alternative

Comey 2017 budget request meeting

Former FBI director James Comey shown here at a 2017 budget request meeting. (via C-SPAN)

As President Donald Trump conducts a foreign policy tour, here at home media remain engulfed in various theories about Russia, the presidential election, and allegations about some people in Trump’s campaign circle.

One of the latest meme baits emerged when left of center The New York Times claimed Trump said former FBI director James Comey is a “nut job.” The NYT’s major investor is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim who according to Forbes, is also a donor to the Clinton Foundation

At first glance, I asked myself why Trump, never known for strong filters on his speech, would say that about Comey.

Then I reviewed various statements by Comey. I realized his words and deeds did indeed seem nutty. Or worse. 

Start with the director’s July, 2016 statement about Hillary Clinton’s emails and her (multiple) servers.

Comey seemed to indict Mrs. Clinton, then judge her guilt or innocence and set her free. Comey contradicted numerous public statements by Hillary Clinton. Comey, in his statement, admitted, “Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the State Department, and used numerous mobile devices to view and send e-mail on that personal domain.”

Comey also said after one of the servers was decommissioned, “the email software was removed.” Comey compared the state of that server to a “jigsaw puzzle.”

Comey’s remarks about classified information on the servers further clouded the waters. To this day on Twitter and other natter media, Clinton supporters claim emails were ‘up-classified’ after the fact. This is not true if Comey is to be believed:

From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.”

Comey did not clear Mrs. Clinton with his argument; quite the contrary:

“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

By the time Comey finished that July statement, many of us were perplexed. There was clear evidence of a federal crime, yet no charges, trial, or backlash from government allied media who dominate politics messaging.

First Comey seemed to indict Clinton, and then he judged her and sentenced her to nothing. That is indeed a nutty string of decisions on the part of a law enforcement agency director.

This is but one example of “nutty.” But if you look at the former FBI director’s statement and compare it to his decisions about the servers and classified information, you will conclude he is either corrupt or nutty.

Trump picked a phrase that actually fits Comey’s decisions in a kinder light. The president could have just said what many Never-Hillary types were thinking—that the director was corrupt.

By the time Comey said his final words in that July statement, nothing should have surprised us. But this was a slap in the face to every American:

“To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.”

That is probably the nuttiest thing Comey said.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/May 22, 2017)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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