Opinion

FBI’s Comey: An island of truth in an ocean of raw politics

FBI Director James Comey gets ready to testify at a House hearing.
FBI Director James Comey gets ready to testify at a House hearing. AP

We are about to enter a dark period where truth is going to be ignored, attacked and distorted by the two major take-no-prisoners presidential campaigns.

Two conventions come this month: the GOP starts July 18 in Cleveland and the Democrats begin July 25 in Philadelphia. The final stretch — the months of August, September, October, and the eight days of November before Election Day, add up to exactly 100 days.

Get ready. If you think the last 13 months of the nominating process have been wild, you haven’t seen anything yet. The full force of team Clinton and surrogates are just getting started. Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again mates are poised to pounce.

Some of the last true events you may witness coming out of Washington and along the campaign trail until sometime in 2017 may already have occurred — and many, in my opinion, involved appearances and testimony of FBI Director James Comey.

I watched Tuesday as he gave his 15-minute assessment on the email investigation of Hillary Clinton. He pulled no punches during his delivery: exonerating Clinton from further legal exposure (much to the chagrin of some who wanted blood in the form of an indictment) and yet exposing her for her careless and cavalier management of critical classified information.

His findings underscore Clinton’s struggles with the truth and her aversion to transparency — a gift to the Republicans who will have to settle for political booty instead of legal action.

Invited into the crossfire of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday, Comey withstood four-plus hours of grilling that at times questioned his judgment in the Clinton case while some fished for partisan soundbites to bolster or attack their party’s presidential candidate.

Democrats wanted it clear the “classified” violations were minimal, vague and not uncommon. Republicans will feast on descriptions of Clinton as “careless” and “unsophisticated.”

Comey survived and along the way made statements that a lot of other people in that room and throughout Washington should emulate:

▪ “The only two things I have in life are the love of my family and my integrity — and I cherish both.”

▪ “I am a huge fan of transparency, and I think that’s what makes our democracy great. ... It is essential that people see as much as they can so they can make their own judgment.”

▪ “It is very important that the American people understand that there really are people whom you pay for with your tax dollars who don’t give a rip about Democrats or Republicans ... but who care about what is true.”

So, back to that 100 days. Beware of the coming apocalypse of the presidential-candidate apologists who will try to sell you just part of the story, or a distorted version. Comey won’t be around to call balls and strikes.

Every time I hear a Trump apologist address him as “Mr. Trump,” I think I’m being sold, rather than told, about something.

Every time a Clinton supporter tries to bail her out, I wonder why they are speaking for her and why she is not getting up in front of a podium to field questions the way Comey did for half a day.

Good news: Comey could remain FBI director for several more years if he chooses. Bad news: A guy with his principles and common sense might be too smart to run for the White House.

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