He’d Have Fired Me if I Did What He Did

Veteran television watchers know one of the biggest weeks of the cable TV year is Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. Now celebrating its 30th year, Shark Week is an entire week devoted to the cartilaginous fish — and, inexplicably, it continues to draw ratings.

Cable news seems to have come up with its own version of Shark Week.

“Comey Week,” as I’m sure it will come to be known in later generations, came a bit early this year. Last year, the week given over to the musings of a spurned FBI director happened in June, when Comey gave his testimony before the Senate.

We watched pundits speculate how soon Comey’s testimony would lead to President Donald Trump’s impeachment, watched as cameras eagerly captured sight of Comey entering the black SUVs that would take him to Capitol Hill, and then looked on as Comey served up nothing-burger after nothing-burger to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

This year, Comey Week came early and involved a different sort of testimony: a self-serving memoir capped off by an interview with George Stephanopoulos aired Sunday.

Much like the first edition of Comey Week, this one elicited nothing-burger after nothing-burger from its titular figure — for instance, did you know Comey thought Trump’s hands were relatively small? — and all of those statements were greeted by the media as if they were from an oracle, America’s last true Boy Scout.

There were, of course, several Republicans who were brought on-screen during Comey Week for the sake of appearing balanced. Few of them, however, worked under Comey. But one who did — former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — said that if he had done what Comey did, he would have been fired.

Christie focused on Comey’s assertion, given in his interview with Stephanopoulos, that part of his decision to announce the FBI was reopening the Clinton investigation after emails were found on the computer of Anthony Weiner was that he thought Clinton was so far ahead in the polls that it would be more beneficial to announce it before as opposed to after the election, so as to dispel any doubt about a coverup.

Do you think the media’s coverage of James Comey is one sided?

“I don’t remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been because I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump, and so I’m sure that it was a factor,” Comey said.

Christie, who worked under Comey in law enforcement before going into politics, struck back at Comey’s explanation.

“I have to tell you, (as) somebody who worked with Jim Comey and then for Jim Comey, it’s a really sad day, because to hear Jim sit in your interview and say that he considered the polling when deciding,” Christie said.

“When I worked for Jim, if I had said to him 11 days before an election that I was going to release information that could potentially effect the election, and one of the things that influenced me was polling, he would have fired me. He would have fired me on the spot. And it is really disconcerting to me as a guy who worked with him in form and have defended him on this air and other places over the years to see this interview and what he was saying.”

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Christie added that what Comey did was “exactly what they teach you not to do. And I think it’s unfortunate that Jim  — who’s a good guy, a good family, a good person and was a very good prosecutor — but he began to believe his own press clippings. And it’s the biggest danger in public life. And the hubris that he shows in that interview is extraordinary to me. Not the guy that I worked with or worked for. And it’s sad.”

That really should be Comey’s epitaph in public life: “He began to believe his own press clippings.”

It says everything about Comey, once a respected law enforcement official who decided, against any reasonable judgement, to insert himself in the center of everything during the 2016 election.

He’s continued that pattern, when possible, after his firing, always giving an explanation for poor ideas that cast him and his decisions in the most favorable light possible. And he does this because the press enables it.

Alas, I doubt Comey will follow my suggestion and make that his epitaph. At the very least, it should become the slogan for Comey Week.

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