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Signaling: Schumer Has Lost Faith in Comey

Yesterday, Josh Earnest repeated a view — ascribed to the President — he had used the day before.

Q And does the President still stand by Director Comey? Would he advise Secretary Clinton, if she were to be President, that — or Donald Trump, if he were to succeed President Obama — that he could have confidence in that FBI Director?

MR. EARNEST: Well, as I noted yesterday, the President believes that Director Comey is a man of integrity, that he’s a man of principle. There’s a reason that he serves — that he was nominated by President Obama to serve as the Director of the FBI. There’s also a reason that he was appointed to serve in a high-ranking position at the Department of Justice when President Bush was in office. There’s also a reason that a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans in the United States Senate both voted to confirm him to the position of the Director of the FBI. And the President, as I noted yesterday, continues to have confidence in his ability to do that job.

Today, however, President Obama took a decidedly different stance, when asked directly by NowThis.

“There is a norm that when there are investigations, we don’t operate on innuendo and we don’t operate on incomplete information and we don’t operate on leaks,” he said in an interview with NowThis. “We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”

That’s far more critical of Comey’s actions than Earnest’s statements of the last two days.

An even more remarkable stance came from Chuck Schumer, who may soon be Majority Leader and who has been incredibly influential to Comey’s career, in an interview with Bloomberg.

Senate Democratic leader-in-waiting Chuck Schumer said Wednesday he’s lost confidence in FBI Director James Comey over his handling of the most recent disclosure in the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation — a tough rebuke to a man Schumer has long admired.
“I do not have confidence in him any longer,” said the New York Democrat, who has criticized as “appalling” Comey’s decision to send a letter to lawmakers 11 days before the election disclosing the bureau’s new review of e-mails potentially pertinent to the investigation of Clinton’s private server.

“To restore my faith, I am going to have to sit down and talk to him and get an explanation for why he did this,” Schumer said in an interview.

Schumer not only made Comey’s career with support for each of his DOJ appointments, but of course set up the 2007 testimony that made Comey’s run up some hospital steps so famous.

Mind you, Schumer seems to leave open the possibility he might change his mind, if Comey explains “why he did this.” So it may just be an effort to start putting as much weight on the scale as the GOP long has.

Still, Schumer’s comments are the first inkling that Comey may not survive this.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

9 replies
  1. John Casper says:

    Can’t begin to thank you enough.
    I lean on you, your TL, and this place so much.

    A little hiccup on the $300, but it’s coming.

  2. Ben says:

    It’s the Old West where a trigger-happy public mows down any and all out of half-baked perceptions.  Politicos must respond just like Billy Boy when he pardoned Marc Rich due to Israeli intense lobbying/pressure.

     

    Everyone is under pressure, but isn’t that where character is supposed to kick in.

    I’ve been guilty of knee-jerking the Comey comeback, but he’s just a victim of his office/due diligence.

    Does anyone…I mean anyone, other than the perpetrators, know who did the hacking, or if embedded with insertions?

     

    Nope.  ‘Nuff said.

  3. Evangelista says:

    Comey may well not have control of the leaks presently coming out of the FBI. but I suspect he is on more solid ground there, within the agency and with its agents, than he has been since before the clintonmail.com server case, when the agency was doing a lot of squirreling and skidding.

    The present eruptions from the various volatiles of the Elite Establishment is circuses and television.  Good old-fashioned American Political Entertainment (APE) antics…

    • bmaz says:

      The present eruptions from the various volatiles of the Elite Establishment is circuses and television.  Good old-fashioned American Political Entertainment (APE) antics…

      That is fascinating. Can you elaborate? Well, in less than a couple of hundred words, at least?

  4. rugger9 says:

    A candidate that would have to be approved by the Senate.  This is why down-ballot attention is so important, and I would argue why Comey soiled the bed in the first place.

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