It's been nearly a year to the day (May 7, 2017) since former FBI director James Comey was fired by President Donald Trump. In the aftermath of his public dismissal, Comey's testified before Congress, been outed on Twitter (his original handle was Reinhold Niebuhr after the famed theologian), and released his book, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership." In it he details events and experiences during his long career that Comey said the public should know about.
So what exactly does he reveal? Is Comey really pursuing what he considers transparency and the truth, or is it just hype to sell more books? Stuff They Don't Want You To Know hosts Ben Bowlin, Noel Brown and Matt Frederick take you through all of The Comey Revelations in this latest podcast.
James Comey has had a long career of public service, acting as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he was lead prosecutor in the notorious case against the Gambino crime family. In 2002, he became U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York where he successfully prosecuted Martha Stewart for insider trading. In 2003 he was named deputy to U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft, and by 2013, he was appointed director of the FBI by President Barack Obama, replacing then-director Robert Mueller.
But it wasn't until the 2016 election cycle that things went south for Comey. He was in charge of both the Hillary Clinton email server investigation and the Russian election meddling confirmed by the Department of Homeland Security. It was how he handled both these cases that would make him a divisive figure.
Those who laud him for standing up to Trump now say he also likely cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election. How? Not by reopening the investigation into her emails just two weeks before Election Day, but by sending a letter to Congress announcing that move. We know now that at the same time, the FBI chose to keep it a secret that it was investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russian collusion.
Of course once Trump was elected, Comey was tasked with telling the president-elect about the allegations in the infamous Steele dossier, which Comey said Trump vehemently denied. Trump also denied telling Comey to spare his short-lived national security adviser Michael Flynn from investigation, even though it had become apparent that Flynn had lied about his meetings with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
This all came to a head when Trump fired Comey in May 2017, but the politics didn't stop there. Immediately, his ousting made headlines. Not only because Comey learned about his dismissal on the news, but also because it was important to understand why he was fired.
Technically the president can fire an FBI director for any reason at all, but that doesn't include illegal dismissals. The million dollar questions are many: Did Trump fire Comey in an attempt to derail the investigation into Russia's meddling of the election, creating a compelling case for obstruction of justice? Was Trump angry that Comey wouldn't rule him out as a "target" of that investigation? Or was it all because Trump just didn't like the guy, and didn't really care about — or perhaps even fully understand — the optics of firing him?
But this barely begins to cover all the shenanigans Americans have witnessed from government officials related to this story. There's so much more: In his book, Comey unleashes lots of details, including info on Bill Clinton's controversial private meeting with then-attorney general Loretta Lynch, shady moves taken by Hillary Clinton's campaign, and Comey's encounters with Trump and his administration. Comey even hints about one big classified secret. Want to know more? You'll have to listen to the entire podcast, and let Ben, Matt and Noel guide you through all that Comey reveals.