"...it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record."calling for him to 'resign' because - I kid you not - "Mr. Comey has lent credence to Donald Trump's toxic accusation that the system is rigged."
I wish to supplement my own writing here by stating that a coup of sorts does appear to be underway in Washington, albeit a very subtle and carefully orchestrated one, the explicit details of which will play out behind closed doors. The FBI no doubt has every bit of dirt on everyone in Washington, but because most everyone is implicated in everyone else's crimes, it must be very cautious about what it chooses to target the Clintons with.
That is apparently why the FBI chose as its next weapon against the Clinton campaign the release of 129 pages of documents relating to former President Bill Clinton's pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich in 2001. The barely plausible reason it gave for doing so was that it was merely completing a FOIA request, one that just happened to add another nail in the Clinton campaign's coffin.
This latest anti-Clinton data dump by the Feds, with its implied besmirching of the probity of the Clintons, will likely make the average undecided voter in the USA think twice about voting for Hillary, even if they don't really know who Marc Rich is. But for those with the time and inclination to probe deeper, the Marc Rich case is actually very instructive in that it goes to the heart of the Clintons' power and the recurring role of the man currently threatening that power.
Marc Rich - real name Marcell David Reich - was a multi-national (literally; he held 5 nationalities) Jewish billionaire wheeler-and-dealer who apparently peeved off the wrong people when he went around the embargo on Iran in the early 1980s to sell its oil on the market. The US government hauled him up on what was then the largest ever tax evasion case. Rich was found guilty, in absentia, because he had by then found refuge in Switzerland. The young prosecutor who "had overseen Rich's prosecution between 1987 and 1993" was James Comey.
At the end of the Clintons' reign, Rich's wife Denise basically paid the Clintons a million bucks to pardon her husband on Bill's last day in the White House. The FBI launched an investigation into it (and many other dubious Bill Clinton pardons). The case was closed without charges in 2005, but what's really rich about it is that one of James Comey's first tasks as newly appointed US Deputy Attorney General in 2003 was to take over the FBI's investigation into Bill Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich!
Marc Rich was apparently, to the Clintons, a one-off 'pardon-for-sale'. There's probably more to it than that though: Rich was working closely with the Israeli
15 people other than the Clintons were convicted of more than 40 crimes in the Whitewater Scandal. There was Stephen Smith, a former Governor Clinton aide; guilty of conspiracy to misapply funds - Bill Clinton pardoned him. There was Webster Hubbell, a Clinton political supporter and Rose Law Firm partner with Hillary (and rumored to be Chelsea Clinton's real father); guilty of embezzlement and fraud - Bill Clinton pardoned him. Then there were the Clintons' direct business partners, the McDougals; guilty of multiple felonies - Bill Clinton pardoned Susan McDougal. There was Chris Wade, Whitewater real estate broker; guilty of multiple loan fraud - Bill Clinton pardoned him. Finally, there was Robert Palmer, guilty of conspiracy - Bill Clinton pardoned him too.
Comey may not have indicted the Clintons back then either, but his findings against the then-first lady have a familiar ring to them:
In 1996, after months of work, Comey came to some damning conclusions: Hillary Clinton was personally involved in mishandling documents and had ordered others to block investigators as they pursued their case. Worse, her behavior fit into a pattern of concealment: she and her husband had tried to hide their roles in two other matters under investigation by law enforcement. Taken together, the interference by White House officials, which included destruction of documents, amounted to "far more than just aggressive lawyering or political naiveté," Comey and his fellow investigators concluded. It constituted "a highly improper pattern of deliberate misconduct."The Rich documents released by the FBI yesterday are heavily redacted, and while they suggest protocol wasn't followed in the pardoning of Rich, they provide little new insight into the pardon dispute. Given their past run-ins with Comey, I cannot read into this latest 'leak' anything other than that Comey - or somebody through him - is driving home a message to the Clintons: just as we gave you power, so we can take it away.
Who is James Comey?
There are a few other interesting tidbits about Comey I'd like to note for the record.
Comey, 55 years old, has been FBI Director since 2013. A towering 6ft 8in (203cm) tall, Comey was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from January 2002 to December 2003, when he prosecuted one of the largest identity fraud cases in US history, among numerous other high-profile white-collar-crime cases, some of them unsuccessful or overturned on appeal. This seems to be what earned him the ire of the Wall Street Journal, which published a scathing review of Comey's track record when most everyone else was praising Obama's choice to replace Robert Mueller as head of the FBI. In pointed contrast to the prevailing opinion - that Comey has been politically neutral throughout his career and has a 'solid' reputation as an impartial prosecutor - the WSJ termed him "The Political Mr. Comey", saying he "has a record of prosecutorial excess and bad judgment."
The 'Political' Mr Comey? Did someone have him marked as 'trouble' back then?
Bush tapped Comey to become US Deputy Attorney General in December 2003, after he was apparently impressed by his role as the lead prosecutor in the case concerning the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. As Deputy Attorney General, Comey was the second-highest-ranking official in the Department of Justice, and ran its day-to-day operations. This was during the first Bush term, a period in which few top US government officials emerged untainted by association with torture, illegal wiretapping and illegal wars. Comey was one of them; he wouldn't give his legal stamp of approval to Bush's mass wiretapping scheme and threatened to resign in protest. In the end, he didn't, and Bush apparently satisfied him by 'making changes to the surveillance program'.
Comey claims he was a leftie in his student days, but was a registered Republican until taking up his post at the FBI. He certainly fit right into Dubya's post-9/11 regime, prosecuting alleged terr'ists with zeal.
In August 2005, Comey left the DOJ and government altogether to become General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin, the largest weapons manufacturer on Earth. In 2010, he began a stint as General Counsel for Bridgewater Associates, one of the world's largest hedge funds. In early 2013, he briefly served on the Board of Directors of HSBC Holdings - the West's largest bank - before returning to government as Director of the FBI in September 2013, when the US Senate voted 93-1 to confirm his appointment (Rand Paul voted against).
Somebody with that kind of a resume, and with the right doors opening for him, is somebody with access to - or at least favored by - the top echelons of the US Establishment.
A few choice words from online bios:
New York Magazine, date unknown:
"Jim is a chess player," says Eric Holder, who learned about the political land mines of the job when he was deputy attorney general during the Monica Lewinsky mess. "He's thinking not only What's the impact of the move I make today, what's the impact going to be tomorrow? He's thinking, What's the impact going to be one month, two months, six months from now?"Bloomberg, February 2004:
Now in Washington, Comey already misses the courtroom. But he's looking forward to imposing his unsparing brand of justice. "One of the reasons we insisted on guilty pleas from the middle people at WorldCom was that we wanted to make sure that people in Corporate America understood that 'I was only following orders' is not an excuse," he says.The bottom line here seems to be that the 'deep state' in the USA has decided that Hillary's delusions of grandeur and lust for real power, coupled with the network she and her husband have built up over the years through their 'charitable organizations', make her unfit (read: too dangerous) to fulfill the role of POTUS, which is, after all, designed to be a largely ceremonial position.
Will Comey find himself in that same situation as he oversees sensitive probes in an election year? The political pressures he's about to face are likely to be just as intense as any confronting those wayward managers at WorldCom and Enron.
Traditionally, when the established order in the US felt in any way threatened by a genuine populist do-gooder attempting to take hold of the reins of power, he or she was quickly and unceremoniously neutralized in one way or another. In the case of Clinton, while she is neither a populist nor a do-gooder, her network and influence and craving for power makes her just as much of a threat to the established order. But in dealing with her, a much more careful approach is needed if the entire American political system is not to be exposed for the stinking den of corruption and cronyism that it is.