Former FBI Director James Comey’s snookering of America

Former FBI Director James Comey is making the rounds on all of the talk shows. He is trying to sell his newly written book, A Higher Loyalty. Although he appears to be sincere when interviewed, it really looks like he is snookering us, obfuscating the truth , or just plain lying. And he is doing it solely for personal gain.

During an interview with George Stephanopoulos, he was questioned as to why he wrote the book. He said he wanted to offer a view about “what leadership should look like and how it should be centered on values.”

He further said that ethical leaders should have certain qualities.

“First and foremost, it’s someone who realizes that lasting values have to be at the center of their leadership. Whether they’re in government or in the private sector or leading a university, they have to focus on things like fairness and integrity and, most of all, the truth. That the truth matters.”

How Former FBI Director James Comey is snookering us.

Comey is constantly telling us how he always tries to be a good, effective leader who always does what he believes is the right thing. Presumably, that means he is truthful. Stephanopoulos asked him about that.

“You don’t lie to investigators, you don’t lie under oath?

Comey didn’t answer the question. In a carefully worded dodge, he said,

“You can’t or the rule of law breaks down. You must tell the truth. It matters enormously.”

That is the answer of a snooker.

He never said he lied or told the truth. He merely said that the truth is important and that you can’t lie. In fact, some prior statements from Comey indicate he has been less than truthful a number of times.

It appears Comey was less than truthful when asked, under oath, about leaking coming from the FBI. He swore he never authorized anyone at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports. Investigators from the Justice Department Inspector General’s office found that he did authorize Associate FBI Director Andrew McCabe to leak sensitive, anti-Trump information to the Wall Street Journal.

There are a number of other times Comey was less than truthful, some regarding the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. For instance, Comey testified that he did not reach any conclusions about Clinton’s guilt until after he interviewed her and all other relevant witnesses. Although he never interviewed Clinton under oath, it appears that he wrote an exoneration letter months before he spoke with her or the others.

Comey’s carefully crafted appeal.

In order to be snookered, people have to feel emotionally attached. Comey has carefully crafted his entire demeanor so that those listening to him will feel empathy. After all, he always tried to do the right thing. We can all empathize with that.

The sad looking “puppy dog eyes” instantly evoke emotion. He soft spoken words seem comforting. He lulls viewers to feel complacent so their focus is on how he is saying the words rather than what he is actually saying. As such we simply dismiss any idea of wrongdoing.

He has created a persona where people really do know that he is not being truthful. Yet they feel that they want to believe the guy because he just looks so sincere. “I really want to believe him” I often hear people say.

Comey wants to undermine the Trump presidency.

Comey’s comments about Trump look like they are meant to make Trump’s presidency as difficult for Trump as possible. He publicly says that Trump is “morally unfit for office.” He was surprised that Trump won the election and notes that Americans made an appalling mistake.

“His presidency is doing, and will do, tremendous damage to our norms and our values, especially the truth.”

It is difficult to imagine a former FBI Director making those comments. That is especially true for Comey who has been less than truthful on a number of occasions. He certainly has a right to disagree with policies, but Trump was elected by a majority of electoral college votes.

Trump is, therefore, a legitimate president.

Regardless of Comey’s view, he should respect the will of the American people. Millions of Americans were dismayed when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. Although they did what they could to change the views of the country, they did respect the office. They didn’t try to demean the person.

The American public has been snookered before. Let’s not let James Comey snooker us this time.

Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics. He has written Op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years. @mbusler