James Comey Releases Op-Ed Moments Before Barr Hearing


The intelligence community is no larger than a relatively small city. That means people know each other, and they have quite often worked together. Special Counsel Robert Mueller III and Attorney General William Barr have been close friends for the past 30 years, although that might be about to change given the AG’s recent incorrigible behavior. There is another well-known member of the community who asked Barr “What happened” to you?

As Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a man who came up through the ranks to become the former FBI director for over four years, James Comey, wrote a new New York Times opinion piece. In it, he asked the attorney general what caused him to turn into a lawless sycophant. The former FBI director wrote:

‘People have been asking me hard questions. What happened to the leaders in the Trump administration, especially the attorney general, Bill Barr, who I have said was due the benefit of the doubt? How could Mr. Barr, a bright and accomplished lawyer, start channeling the president in using words like “no collusion” and F.B.I. “spying”? And downplaying acts of obstruction of justice as products of the president’s being “frustrated and angry,” something he would never say to justify the thousands of crimes prosecuted every day that are the product of frustration and anger?’

Comey asked how Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could just gloss over Donald Trump’s many acts of obstruction of justice:

‘How could Mr. Barr go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and downplay President Trump’s attempt to fire Mr. Mueller before he completed his work? And how could Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, after the release of Mr. Mueller’s report that detailed Mr. Trump’s determined efforts to obstruct justice, give a speech quoting the president on the importance of the rule of law? Or on resigning, thank a president who relentlessly attacked both him and the Department of Justice he led for “the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations?'”

Then, Comey pondered ‘What happened to those people?” He noted that they were linked to one of the world’s “amoral leaders:”

‘Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them. Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring. For example, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man.’

The former FBI director had an answer to his own question:

‘Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.’

Then, Comey explained how the corruption process of Trump’s associates began:

‘It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.’

The president pulls people into his “alternative reality:

‘Speaking rapid-fire with no spot for others to jump into the conversation, Mr. Trump makes everyone a co-conspirator to his preferred set of facts, or delusions. I have felt it — this president building with his words a web of alternative reality and busily wrapping it around all of us in the room.’

After POTUS has drawn a person into his web, he demands “personal fealty:”

‘From the private circle of assent, it moves to public displays of personal fealty at places like cabinet meetings. While the entire world is watching, you do what everyone else around the table does — you talk about how amazing the leader is and what an honor it is to be associated with him.’

People are perplexed, according to Comey. He wrote “what are you supposed to say?” Trump’s outrageous conduct influenced many to stay and manage the guardrails for the benefit of the country, as an important protector in this bizarre White House:

‘You can’t say this out loud — maybe not even to your family — but in a time of emergency, with the nation led by a deeply unethical person, this will be your contribution, your personal sacrifice for America. You are smarter than Donald Trump, and you are playing a long game for your country, so you can pull it off where lesser leaders have failed and gotten fired by tweet.’

However, those who stay “make further compromises. You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values.” Then, Comey ended with a chilling thought:

‘And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.’