Nursing Election Grievances, Hillary Clinton Supporters Curse Comey

“Speak or conceal — both terrible options,” he writes in the book, which is coming out on Tuesday. “No matter what we found, that act of concealment would be catastrophic to the integrity of the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice. Put that way, the choice between a ‘really bad’ option and a ‘catastrophic’ option was not that hard a call. We had to tell Congress that things had changed.”

Mrs. Clinton’s most fervent supporters disagree, to say the least.

Some, like Philippe Reines, a longtime and trusted Clinton confidant, are eager to dig through the pages of Mr. Comey’s book, if only to dissect it, point by point, looking for inconsistencies or misstatements.

“It would be rare for someone’s book to say, ‘This is how I screwed up,’” Mr. Reines said. “But his answers to some really fundamental stuff are just at the very best incomplete. At the worst, they are just flat-out unacceptable.”

Like the rest of his former campaign colleagues, Mr. Reines is not unaware that Mr. Comey is assailing the president’s moral character, his inability to tell the truth and his actions that could amount to obstruction of justice. And for the record, Mr. Reines does not disagree with any of it.

“I bought the book. I can’t wait for it to come from Amazon tomorrow. I do believe Trump is orange and wears tanning glasses,” he said. But that doesn’t take away, he said, from the “acute frustration with Jim Comey and wanting to hold him to an accountable standard.”

Mr. Trump has seized on that frustration to rant about Mr. Comey, tapping into — and twisting — the Democratic angst.

In a tweet Monday morning, the president claimed that Mr. Comey had drafted a memo exonerating Mrs. Clinton “long before” the email investigation was over. The president referenced Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2018

Mrs. Clinton, in part, blames Mr. Comey’s handling of the email case for her not winning the presidency.

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Mr. Trump’s accusations about Mr. Comey’s handling of the email investigation are different from the ones lodged by her former supporters. But together, Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton’s advisers are diverting the conversation away from Mr. Comey’s allegations against the president.

In his five-hour interview with ABC’s chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos, on the program “20/20,” Mr. Comey said it was possible that the president had obstructed justice when he asked Mr. Comey to let go of the investigation into Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

Mr. Comey also said the president “lies constantly about matters big and small.”

Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that Mr. Comey is a liar. And the Republican National Committee has started a “Lyin’ Comey” website to push back against claims in Mr. Comey’s book.

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On Sunday, hours before the airing of Mr. Comey’s interview, Mr. Trump tweeted that Mr. Comey had disclosed classified information and lied to Congress. Mr. Trump also said Mr. Comey was not smart and the “WORST FBI Director in history, by far!”

There is not much about which Mrs. Clinton’s supporters agree with Mr. Trump. But that assessment of Mr. Comey is one of them.

Lanny J. Davis, a lawyer and longtime Clinton associate, railed against Mr. Comey on Sunday, saying on “Fox & Friends” that Mr. Comey was a “renegade narcissist” who thought that he was “above the law” as he conducted the email investigation.

“What he was really doing was protecting his political rear end with the Republicans because he thought that Hillary Clinton was going to get elected,” Mr. Davis said.

“Karma really delivered the punch to Comey,” tweeted Neera Tanden, a veteran Clinton loyalist and the president of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. “He helped elect the guy who’d fire him — to obstruct Justice.”

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It is possible that Mr. Comey thought his book would help douse some of the hatred of him on the political left, which he readily acknowledges. He wrote that he had heard Mrs. Clinton felt she had been “shivved” by him, and added, “I also know many Democrats are similarly baffled — even outraged — by the actions I took.”

But his explanations for his decisions have largely fallen flat, at least among those who lived through the stories.

Mr. Comey writes in the book that he grew to believe that Loretta E. Lynch, the attorney general and his boss, was too close to the Clintons and did not have the credibility with the American people to announce a verdict in the email investigation.

Ms. Lynch, in a statement, disagreed.

“I did what I always do: rise above politics and uphold the law,” she wrote. Of Mr. Comey, she said: “If he had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings. He never did.”

Mr. Comey writes at length about his decision to hold a news conference in the summer of 2016 announcing that Mrs. Clinton would not be prosecuted, but also condemning her handling of classified materials as “extremely reckless.”

“I would do the same thing again at that announcement,” he writes in his book, “because I still believe it was the best available alternative to protect and preserve the Department of Justice’s and the F.B.I.’s reservoir of trust with the American people.”

For Mrs. Clinton’s supporters, this was Mr. Comey’s original sin — the moment that he broke with F.B.I. traditions that usually call for nothing more than a brief, one-sentence declaration when the decision is made not to prosecute. And that declaration is usually made by Justice Department officials, not the F.B.I.

In a tweet after parts of Mr. Comey’s book were released last week, Mr. Reines wrote: “‘A Higher Loyalty’ to whom @Comey? FBI? No. Set Bureau back years. DOJ? No. Broke every rule. USA? No. Blew up a candidate. Your Oath? No. Didn’t quit. Fired. Only one thing left: $$$? ding ding ding.”

One response to his tweet came from Jason Chaffetz, the former Republican representative from Utah who was often scorching in his criticism of Mrs. Clinton. The sentiment from the Republican lawmaker to a Democratic loyalist underscored the odd convergence around Mr. Comey’s book.

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“We agree from time to time,” Mr. Chaffetz said.

Eileen Sullivan contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on April 17, 2018, on Page A18 of the New York edition with the headline: Though Comey Reviles Trump, Clinton’s Staunchest Supporters Remain Outraged. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/us/politics/trump-comey-clinton.html

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Nursing Election Grievances, Hillary Clinton Supporters Curse Comey

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Nursing Election Grievances, Hillary Clinton Supporters Curse Comey