At first I enjoyed it; Jeffrey Toobin on CNN going ballistic over the Comey firing. Then there was the normal outrage from Dana Bash and Gloria Borger. And then there were other legal analysts like Evan Perez and Pamela Brown who were more interested in putting together the pieces of the puzzle.
Most everyone agreed that James Comey performance as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation left something to be desired. Democrats are justifiably upset with him because even if Hillary Clinton was a poor candidate for president in 2016, Comey’s inappropriate public discussion of her e-mails likely cost her the election. Donald Trump has reason to be upset with him because he may be hot on the president’s trail for “all things Russian.”
With Jeff Sessions as Attorney-General, the Justice Department is tilting far to the right and we might call it ‘JINO” (Justice In Name Only). A special prosecutor seems to be the only way pursue the possible criminal transgressions, but the broader issue is whether the country, and particularly our leaders, have the capacity to deal with this in a rational, logical way. Here are a few points to consider:
- Yes, Comey screwed up, but we all do. Don’t look at him as “Crown Jewel of Investigation,” someone who is as incorruptible as Inspector Lewis Erskine in the old F.B.I. television series. Like many of us, he seemed to have a penchant for vanity. In his case, he was talking “out of school” about things that would best have remained inside the Bureau. What he did to Hillary Clinton was enough to make him nauseous and to put the rest of the country at risk because of who is in the White House. What he did to Trump … was enough to get him fired.The bottom line is that a man with a ten-year term did not perform well on the job, and unfortunately for him and the country, it was all on public display.
- The whole issue is grossly politicized because it involves individuals from each of our two major parties running for the top office in the land. What could be a better recipe for screaming voices. Couple this with the outrage of reasonable citizens at what is going on and we have a cacophony of sound that makes shouting the norm and reflection almost absent.
- It’s not enough to want a special prosecutor. The person who might hold that position would have to be honest, fair and rational. That’s a tough bill to fill, and if it would happen, they would be at risk for being fired as Richard Nixon did two outstanding special prosecutors.It would be helpful if the likes of Jeffrey Toobin were providing us with lists of possible jurists (or non-jurists) who could set the standard for us for what we want in that prosecutor.
- As important is it is to have the right person as special prosecutor, we also need the right person to head the F.B.I. After all, the F.B.I. would be the provider of information to the special prosecutor, information that would be essential for investigation and possible prosecution.We know that certain names in law enforcement who have been mentioned as possible new directors would be awful, most particularly Milwaukee Sheriff David Clark, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. What we need is for the names of capable candidates to be floated for public consideration.
If it is true that progressives are more facile at dealing with factual information than conservatives, then it is incumbent upon progressives to help keep the volume down and the analysis in high gear. We may be drowned out, but at the very least, we can lead by example.