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Former FBI Director James Comey: A Man For No Seasons 

FBI Director James Comey was fired by Donald Trump. Was it because he was protecting our country’s interest against an unethical, perverted, traitorous President, or did the Dark Lord have tantrum over a lack of absolute obedience?

There is little reason to believe that James Comey was prepared to act against Trump in the Russiagate investigation. Prior to being fired, Comey had declared to Congress that he believed it was perfectly acceptable to publicly announce unsubstantiated, baseless evidence against a Democratic presidential candidate just prior to an election; however, it was not acceptable to publicly announce substantiated evidence against a conservative and/or Republican prior to, or after an election.

He was correct. That is the role the FBI has historically taken, and continues today.

The FBI investigated Watergate from the moment the burglars were arrested. They had evidence that President Nixon, and his administration were involved, and yet, the FBI somehow failed to find the key evidence of a wider conspiracy that would eventually force Nixon out of office. While we don’t know the full extent of the FBI’s role in hindering the Watergate scandal, we do know the following:

  • A former FBI agent was recruited to wiretap the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate complex.

    Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray during Watergate

  • Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray helped destroy Watergate evidence that came from a White House safe of Howard Hunt, eleven days after the burglary.
  • On October 10, 1972, less than a month prior to the election, the FBI publicly revealed a list of crimes that their investigation had uncovered to date, and that the crimes were linked to staff in the White House. Despite this announcement, the FBI, nor Department of Justice took no action, nor threatened action, giving credibility to White House denials of the facts. Nixon won the election by a landslide, largely because Nixon and his administration were able to convince people that the FBI’s lack of action proved their innocence.

It could be reasonably argued that, in October of 1968, the FBI and the Justice Department were in a state of confusion about the depth of the Democratic National Headquarters break in, spying, eavesdropping, and cover up. It is possible that no legal action occurred before the election due to their own lack of understanding of the real situation. It could also be argued that based on the involvement of past and current members of the FBI in the Watergate break in and subsequent cover up, that the FBI was caught in an internal struggle between protecting Nixon, and not looking like they were protecting Nixon.

J. Edgar Hoover and John and Robert Kennedy

The FBI has historically been a politically motivated investigative body that has a friendly relationship with conservatives, and an adversarial relationship with liberals. The 1987, four-part mini-series, Hoover vs The Kennedys:  The Second Civil War, depicts the adversarial relationship of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had with President Kennedy and his brother Robert.

The FBI Director role has historically been defined by a cozy relationship with conservative politicians, and an adversarial role with liberal politicians. James Comey’s replacement will likely follow that tradition.