No matter whether you admire Trump, Comey, both or neither – it’s now difficult to argue that Trump made the wrong move in removing Comey.
Even many of Trump’s detractors would agree that no president should keep in place the head of a crucial division who – along with some of his top staff — apparently worked to undermine or control the president, and exercised poor judgment in important matters.
Here are 12 ways Comey has proven Trump was right to fire him.
1. Comey testified that it gave him a “queasy feeling” when then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch directed him to publicly refer to the Hillary Clintonclassified email investigation as a “matter.” Yet, he did so anyway and did not raise objections.
2. Comey’s FBI, including allegedly his general counsel, was responsible for multiple leaks to the press with the apparent goal of politically helping Clinton or harming Trump. On the other hand, the FBI kept a closely-held secret any information that was favorable to Trump — such as the fact that Comey repeatedly told Trump he wasn’t under investigation.
3. Top FBI officials working under Comey conspired to develop an “insurance plan” in the event Trump were to be elected. (One possible implication is that they could not afford to have Trump officials poking around into what they or other U.S. intel agencies had been doing over the years.)
4. We now know that Comey apparently delayed notifying Congress that the FBI had discovered Hillary Clinton emails on the personal computer of soon-to-be convicted sexter Anthony Weiner (then husband of Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin), prior to the election.
5. Comey demonstrated bias or questionable judgment in selecting the man he trusted as his number two in February 2016: Andrew McCabe. Comey allowed McCabe to be involved in the FBI investigations into the Clinton Foundation and Clinton classified emails even though McCabe’s wife had received large sums of donor money from Clinton interests, including those of then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who also was under FBI investigation at the time. (The FBI granted top Clinton staff immunity from prosecution, didn’t record her interview, drafted an exoneration letter in advance, and ultimately excused Clinton’s mishandling of classified information as not being willful.)
6. Comey allowed McCabe’s involvement in the Clinton-related investigations to continue until the week before the 2016 election. Only then did McCabe “recuse himself” after a Wall Street Journal article about the donations to McCabe’s wife. (McCabe has said he followed proper procedures and did nothing wrong.)
7. McCabe says he told Comey in October 2016 that he — McCabe — had authorized a leak of sensitive information to the Wall Street Journal shortly before the election. The Department of Justice’s Inspector General has since found the leak was to advance McCabe’s own interests and was in violation of FBI policy. (Comey says he doesn’t recall McCabe telling him this.)
8. After the election, Comey informed President-elect Trump about the lurid allegations against him in the so-called “Steele dossier,” but admitted in an interview this week that he withheld from Trump the fact that it was opposition research paid for by Hillary Clinton.
9. While acknowledging the “Steele dossier” contained “salacious and unverified” material, knowing it was produced with help from an ex-foreign spy and understanding that it relied on primary sources who were said to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Comey apparently did not open an investigation into this effort to impact the U.S. election and undermine the American president.
10. Comey’s FBI used the “Steele dossier” to justify wiretaps before and after the election on an American citizen who was a Trump associate without disclosing that the “evidence” was political opposition research paid for by Trump’s opponent. This appears to be a violation of the FBI’s “Woods Procedures,” and possibly other policies.
11. Comey testified that after he was fired from the FBI, he secretly engineered a leak of FBI material to the New York Times for the political goal of prompting appointment of a special counsel to investigate Trump.
12. Comey has publicly disclosed content of private, personal conversations with President Trump, such as discussions about Trump’s wife’s feelings.
Trump may not have had the benefit of all of this information at the time he removed Comey, but in terms of whether Comey was the right person to serve as head of the FBI under the new administration, Trump’s instincts proved to be correct.