A Fantasy: James Comey Takes a Stand in the Clinton Case
It is late afternoon on July 1, 2016. FBI Director James Comey and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch are meeting privately in her office at the U.S. Justice Department. There is tension in the air as the two begin to discuss the Clinton matter once again.
Comey: “Ms. Lynch, my agents have spent an inordinate amount of time investigating Hillary Clinton’s security breaches while she was Secretary of State to determine whether she and her aides violated any laws. As you know, we recovered a significant number of her email files, including the ones she thought she deleted. Ms. Clinton decided not to use the secure government email system. Instead, she set up her own email system. Therefore, all of her correspondence, including highly classified information, was transmitted and received on the private email server she had installed in her home. I have about 150 investigators on the case and the evidence is overwhelming that she is guilty of criminal gross negligence and willfully bypassing the government’s secure communications network. The evidence shows she did so to keep all her correspondence private while she was Secretary of State and out of the hands of anyone or any organization that might request her documents under the Freedom of Information Act.”
Lynch: “Mr. Comey, we have gone through all this numerous times before. My prosecutors tell me that there is insufficient evidence to bring a case against Mrs. Clinton that would stand up in a court of law. I appreciate the hard work your agents have done, but we can only proceed with a grand jury, if our attorneys believe they have a solid case. Unfortunately, they do not. In fact, I have consulted with them and they have recommended that we drop the case and exonerate Mrs. Clinton publicly.”
Comey: “This is the first time I have heard that your attorneys intend to exonerate Ms. Clinton, which is astounding considering the mountains of evidence that clearly justify criminally charging her with numerous counts of criminal malfeasance. She intentionally put our national security at risk. There’s no question about it.”
Lynch: “Mr. Comey, that’s your opinion and only your opinion. Need I remind you that your job is to provide hard evidence? My job and that of my legal staff, on the other hand, is to consider and evaluate the evidence your investigators provide and make a determination as to whether that evidence is sufficient to indict anyone. And, in this particular case, the FBI’s evidence is lacking.”
Comey: “Even more serious is the amount of evidence we have uncovered that can prove the Clinton Foundation is nothing more than a slush fund for Clinton’s political aspirations and that it was run more like a RICO enterprise than a charitable not-for-profit organization. In fact, it was on the Clinton Foundation front, where my investigators spent most of their time because the Foundation’s tentacles were so far-reaching. There is compelling evidence that shows Clinton exchanged governmental favors for donations from individuals, corporations, and sovereign leaders. To make matters worse, a very small percentage of the Foundation’s charitable receipts actually helped people, who were in need. The proof of this is clear and pervasive in its scope.”
Lynch: “Once again, that’s your opinion. My prosecutors are not convinced that there is sufficient evidence to make any charges against Clinton for any actions she took while she was Secretary of State. She did not take any official action that benefited anyone or any organization that decided to contribute to the Clinton Foundation or paid her husband honorariums for speaking engagements. There was no quid pro quo. In short, the evidence your investigators have collected is not dispositive and, therefore, does not warrant any criminal charges against Ms. Clinton.”
Comey: “My men are frustrated at what they perceive to be a deliberate attempt by you and the Justice Department to obstruct justice and cover-up crimes committed by Mrs. Clinton. Initially, I wanted to believe you and your prosecutors were honorable government servants, who simply wanted to make sure we had an airtight case backed up by irrefutable evidence. But it has become crystal clear that you and this Administration are protecting Ms. Clinton from the arm of the law. She is above the law for political reasons.”
Lynch: “Mr. Comey, your accusations are reprehensible. And your remarks show you have a political tin-ear. Part of your job is to consider the political implications of your actions.”
Comey: “No, Ms. Lynch, apparently that is your job, as you see it. My job is produce evidence of whether a crime has been committed. The job of the prosecutors is to evaluate the evidence and press charges, if that’s where the evidence leads us. Apparently, your attorneys and you yourself have decided that there will never be enough evidence to indict Ms. Clinton, especially now that she is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. In fact, you and your attorneys act like she has already been elected president and is already your boss.”
Lynch: “Mr. Comey, you are way out of line.”
Comey: “You’re exactly right. I’m way out of line. The FBI is prepared to make a public announcement that criminal charges be lodged against Clinton, enumerating all counts of her criminal behavior. You and your attorneys can then do whatever you want from the point forward.”
Lynch: “Mr. Comey, the FBI will not make any public announcement of its findings in the Clinton matter. That’s not going to happen in the middle of a presidential race. You are to stand down.”
Comey: “I knew it would come down to this. Consequently, I prepared my letter of resignation, which is effective immediately.”
After handing Attorney General Lynch his resignation, Comey turns around and marches out the door. One hour later, ex-FBI Director James Comey greets a gaggle of reporters, who have assembled in front of the J. Edgar Hoover Building. As he steps up to the make-shift podium, hundreds of FBI agents emerge from the front door of the building and gather behind Comey, as he addresses the media.
Comey: “It is with great sorrow that I stand before you today. I had no choice but to tender my resignation today as FBI Director. I did so to protect the integrity of the Bureau in the face of a blatant stonewall attempt by Attorney General Lynch and her prosecutors inside the U.S. Justice Department. Well over a hundred of the finest investigators in the land worked on the Clinton case and the evidence we unearthed was compelling. It was appalling to us that a high-ranking public official would abuse her office the way she did. This was not a hasty decision on my part, but I had no choice, if I were to ever look any American in the eye, who believes in equal justice under the law. And it isn’t fair to those individuals, whom we put away on much less evidence. My agents did a remarkable job doing what they do best — finding hard evidence that will convince a jury that an individual committed crimes and should be held to account. In the Clinton matter, we were rebuffed at every turn by the prosecutors in the Justice Department despite having collected overwhelming criminal evidence months ago that justified a criminal indictment. In short, prosecutors obstructed our investigation and laughed off our attempts to seek justice on behalf of the people. Sadly, politics triumphed in this case. If you look over my shoulder, you will see, in the courtyard of the Hoover building, a sculpture with three figures. Those figures represent Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity. That is what the FBI agents, who are gathered behind me, stand for. Anyone who thinks that is a joke and who thinks it is alright to kick sand in the eyes of Lady Justice is dead wrong and should be ashamed to call themselves Americans.”
James Comey then leaves the podium as onlookers are stunned into reverential silence by his eloquent words. After a few moments, rank-and-file FBI agents erupt into loud applause. The reporters and their camera crews join in the ovation to a great American, who chose justice over politics.
Sadly, this is only a fantasy, but could have become reality had the FBI Director stood his ground and demanded equal justice for every American, no matter how powerful or well-connected he or she may be.
Instead, James Comey decided to exonerate Hillary Clinton on July 5, 2016, an action that led ineluctably to his involuntary termination as FBI Director on May 9, 2017, when he was summarily fired by President Donald Trump.
A Fantasy: James Comey Takes a Stand in the Clinton Case