The Thinker: Rich Galen


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The Comey Book

Rich Galen

Monday April 23, 2017

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  • I don't often read non-fiction books.


    This is a true story.

    Once, on an NPR interview program I was on with a guy who I didn't much like, but had just published a book.

    The host asked me if I'd read it. "I have a rule about non-fiction," I said. "It has to have a lot of pictures and I have to be in it."

    "You are in it, the author said. "I quoted you twice."

    "New rule," I said without skipping a beat. "I have to be a chapter header."


  • I suspended that rule when I pre-ordered James Comey's book, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership," both as an e-book ($14.99) to read on my Kindle and as an book-on-tape (1 Credit) so I could listen on my way to and from work.

  • Part of the magic of Audible/Amazon is that the two versions pretty closely sync so when you start the audio version it knows where you left off in the e-book version.

  • Don't ask me how. It just does it.

  • You have to keep in mind that James Comey wrote this book after he had been fired as Director of the FBI by Donald Trump. The first story was Comey had been fired on the basis of a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein.

  • Trump later said it was because of the "Russian thing," but under the pecking order of the Department of Justice, Comey worked for Rosenstein. Comey backhands Rosenstein for his role in getting him fired, but he reserves the forearm shivers for Trump.

  • Most of the book is not about the Comey-Trump business. Most of it has to do with growing up just north of New York City (good experience), then in Northern New Jersey (bad experience), then his travels and travails through the U.S. Justice Department (mostly a good experience).

  • Except for the end of the 2016 campaign when it seems to me James Comey worked himself into a logical, legal, and moral corner about how to handle the end of the Hillary Clinton investigation.

  • Twice.

  • It seemed to me that even in his own book, Comey was straining to justify stepping outside normal procedures and normal lines of authority to announce the end of the investigation with no charges; the re-opening of the case when all those emails were found on Anthony Weiner's laptop, and the re-closing of the investigation the weekend before the election.

  • The reason for all the time and words on being bullied in high school was to help the reader understand why Comey hated bullies generally, and the Bully-in-Chief, Donald Trump, in particular.

  • Comey spends a lot of time - a LOT of time - on Trump's being focused to the point of obsession on that part of the Steele Dossier that deals with the hookers on the bed in a hotel room in Moscow. (If you know what I mean and I think you do).

  • I have no reason to doubt the number of times Trump told Comey that it didn't happen, but it was pretty clear that Comey thought Trump, echoing the words of Hamlet's mother "doth protest too much, methinks."

  • The reason it is important is because if true, then Russian president Vladimir Putin has the Russian version of a Shashka of Damocles hanging over Trump's neck.

  • You decide.

  • This being 2018, a lot has happened since the book was released - this past Tuesday. The DoJ released Comey's contemporaneous memos of his conversations with Trump to the Congress. 1.2 seconds later it leaked. Shortly after that, charges were being launched that the memos contained classified material.

  • The DoJ had those memos for almost a year and never found any classified material; the Congress had them for about an hour and Members were lining up outside the Capitol Hill studios of CNN, FNC, and MSNBC to wave them in our faces.

  • You can decide that, too.

  • At 290 pages, it was an easy read. It was interesting to relive a lot of what I'd read and heard about over the years - like the Martha Stewart case - and, in the end, I think it was twenty-or-so bucks well-spent.

  • I'm going back to my regular non-fiction rule.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Amazon page for Comey's book, to Hamlet's mom's famous quote, and to the Steele Dossier.

    The Mullfoto is the group photo from Mrs. Bush's funeral.

-- END --

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