Michael Goodwin: Why James Comey Had to Go
by Michael Goodwin
A curious belief in some circles of journalism holds that if both sides are equally unhappy with your story, you’ve done a good job. I never subscribed to that approach, and thankfully, President Trump didn’t when it came to the performance of James Comey.
The suddenly former FBI boss was long cavalier about making enemies among both Democrats and Republicans, as if going rogue repeatedly proved his rectitude. On occasion it did, but Comey increasingly wore his self-righteousness on his sleeve, confident he was too big to fire.
That was his fatal mistake. And it’s why Trump made the right decision to show him the door.
Comey’s power-grabbing arrogance is why I called him “J. Edgar Comey” two months ago. His willingness to play politics, while insisting he was above it all, smacked of Washington at its worst. He was the keeper of secrets, until they served his purpose.
As such, the president did to Comey what no president had the courage to do to J. Edgar Hoover. Five presidents wanted to fire Hoover, with Harry Truman accusing him of running a police state and of blackmail. But all were afraid of Hoover, so he died in office.
Trump acted before Comey could get that kind of lifetime protection, which has no place in American democracy. At our best, we are a nation of laws, not of people who accumulate power and ruthlessly wield it without accountability.
The president didn’t have just one good reason to act. He had a choice among many.
The one he cited, Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server, is rich with irony, given its prominence in the campaign. And the irony doesn’t stop, with Democrats who not so long ago were furious with Comey over the Clinton probe rushing out condemnations of Trump for firing him.
“Nixonian” was a common theme, a shot both cheap and predictable. When you’re a hammer, everything is a nail. When you’re a Democrat, everything is Watergate.
SOURCE: New York Post