From what I can glean from recent articles (for example), it sounds like a rogue unit of FBI agents went way off the reservation after Comey wound down their Clinton investigation, to the point that they cooked up a scheme to undermine the FBI director (waiting three weeks to report the laptop put Comey in a no-win position, with the implicit threat of leaks if he delayed the letter) and worked on behalf of Russia against American democracy.
If James Comey cared sbout his Bureau’s credibility, a different FBI unit would be kicking in their doors right now.
Ok to clarify I do not mean that anyone has reported that agents are taking orders from Putin. Rather I mean to say that Russia is singularly, deeply committed to Trump to the point of subverting an American election. If you torpedo Clinton from a privileged position in the DOJ then you are clearly subverting democracy. That part is pretty cut and dried. You would also be serving Russia’s nefarious behavior in this election, whether you explicitly mean to or not. I was being over-cute with language to emphasize the point when frankly (if I interpret the direction of reporting correctly) the basic Hatch act stuff would be plenty to get a trial started.
…in retrospect I would say ‘alongside’ rather than ‘on behalf of’. Different people, same immediate goal. Blogging from your phone while pissed off can produce inelegant results. But I’ll leave the original so that comments left pre-clarification still make sense.
As Josh pointed out at the link and Kevin Drum observed as well, we have basically two hypotheses: either James Comey delayed the story for maximum effect or else some agents put him in this position by not reporting this laptop up the chain until the last minute. Reporting suggests the rogue agents idea, but more than that I just think we know enough about Comey to feel pretty confident that he would not willingly set the election on fire like this. It would be too easy to discover after the fact that he knowingly cooked the grenade. It would ruin him. If that is the case, James Comey really needs the rogue agents hypothesis to pick up steam. I think ‘need’ might not be strong enough a word. If he can persuade people that a group of bad actors maneuvered him into an impossible position, that might restore some confidence in his leadership and the Bureau in general. Some.
One of my governing maxims is that incentives drive behavior. At least equal to nature and nurture you have this intangible web of rewards and punishments that surround and guide everyone. The director of the FBI has a profound incentive to burn the guys who embarrassed him. You could call it an existential need. That could have an interesting effect on the direction this story takes.