Longtime Clinton Friend Lanny Davis Defends the Jim Comey Firing

Former White House counselor insists on 'The Laura Ingraham Show' that Trump acted for wrong reasons in terminating previous FBI director

by Brendan Kirby | Updated 21 Mar 2018 at 2:52 PM

Longtime Clinton family friend and counselor Lanny Davis on Wednesday defended the firing of former FBI Director James Comey — but not for the reasons President Donald Trump acted.

Davis, promoting his new book on the 2016 presidential election, warned the public on “The Laura Ingraham Show” to prepare for the media “deification” of Comey once the former director’s own book comes out.

“Let’s all get ready for the deification of James Comey,” said Davis. “In my political perspective, he did the right thing in calling out President Trump, who asked him for personal loyalty and tried to influence his behavior.”

Davis said he had some sympathy for Comey over that.

"But his character is without question that of a narcissist … His conduct is of a man who decides what rules he's going to follow and what rules doesn't have to follow," he said. "'Cause he gets to decide."

Davis served as special counsel to the president during then-President Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings. He offered a harsh assessment of Comey in his book — "The Unmaking of a President 2016: How James Comey Cost Hillary Clinton the Presidency."

Davis told Ingraham that Comey committed a gross violation of the rules by sending a letter to Congress in the waning days of the 2016 campaign; that letter announced he was reopening the closed investigation into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information as secretary of state.

Comey said the move was necessary because agents had found State Department emails on the laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who was married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The investigation turned up nothing relevant, and Comey closed it again a few days before the election — too late, in Davis' mind, to reverse the political damage.

"He thinks he can do whatever he wants as long as he thinks it's the right thing to do," he said. "That's the definition. It's all about himself and nobody else but his own sense of rectitude and the FBI being defended. James Comey gets to make the rules, and that's why I've said he should have been fired, but not for the reasons that Mr. Trump expressed regarding the Russia investigation. He should have been fired for insubordination."

Davis said the rules Comey violated have been in place for 50 years, during both Republican and Democratic administrations.

"I'm just issuing a public challenge to every interviewer of [the] deification of Jim Comey that's about to happen," he said. "I challenge — and I will write this — that there are questions and falsehoods by 'James Comey the Sanctimonious' about why he wrote his letter on October 28 that I think cost Hillary Clinton the presidency but everyone says harmed her candidacy in the last 11 days of the election … Why does he think he's above the rules?"

"Jim Comey is one of the most pompous people I ever met in my life, you know, who thought he was above the rule of common sense and all the other rules that govern society."

Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom, who rarely agrees with Davis, found common ground with his assessment of Comey.

"On that point, I agree totally," he said on the show. "Jim Comey is one of the most pompous people I ever met in my life, you know, who thought he was above the rule of common sense and all the other rules that govern society."

Kallstrom defended Attorney General Jeff Sessions for firing Comey's deputy director, Andrew McCabe, based on a recommendation by the bureau's Office of Professional Responsibility.

McCabe likely will not be the last high FBI official to get in trouble from the review undertaken by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (IG), Kallstrom said.

Related: Wray Rejects McCabe's Accusations About His Firing

"I think there's going to be quite a few more," he said. "And I don't what that number is, whether it's three more or two more or six more. I don't think it's a large number, but I think it's definitely other people."

The FBI is need of a "good housecleaning," Kallstrom said.

And why is the IG taking so long to release the eagerly anticipated report?

"I think there's been new trapdoors that have opened … It's typical of how these things work," he said. "But I think when it is released, it's going to be devastating for the bureau and the Justice Department and maybe others."

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

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