The political apparatus of what was once known as the Republican Party is preparing to come to grips with the latest serious threat to the nation: Former FBI director James Comey’s new book.
The battle plan against Comey, obtained by CNN, calls for branding the nation’s former top law enforcement official as “Lyin’ Comey” through a website, digital advertising and talking points to be sent to Republicans across the country before his memoir is released next week. The White House signed off on the plan, which is being overseen by the Republican National Committee.
Democrats have few reasons to love Comey. His last-minute letter to Congress, reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, didn’t just claim every single column of the New York Times’ front page, but very likely flipped the outcome of the election. Without Comey’s self-indulgent chastisement of Clinton (over what Comey himself admitted were offenses that no reasonable prosecutor would follow up) and without his jumping to reopen his investigation (over what turned out to be inconsequential evidence), Donald Trump would heading up nothing more powerful than an infomercial, threatening nothing more vital than the life savings of the gullible.
But the plan to combat Comey shows more clearly than ever that the old Republican Party has been swept away. What’s in its place is the next product to follow Trump Water, Trump Vodka, and Trump University. It’s the Trump Party, whose entire reason for being is … Trump. And for that purpose, every instrument in their arsenal is aimed at protecting Trump from what Comey has to reveal.
“Comey is a liar and a leaker and his misconduct led both Republicans and Democrats to call for his firing,” Republican chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement to CNN. “If Comey wants the spotlight back on him, we’ll make sure the American people understand why he has no one but himself to blame for his complete lack of credibility.”
With an election in the fall, and war threatened in the Middle East, the Republican Party is devoting its website, its officers, and its time to what’s really important: smearing anyone who says something unfavorable to Trump.
Like Steve Bannon’s scheme to protect Trump from anything learned by Robert Mueller, the plan to make America ignore anything said by Comey comes with three steps:
1) “Comey has a long history of misstatements and misconduct,” including damage caused to the FBI because of “bizarre decisions, contradictory statements and acting against Department of Justice and FBI protocol.”
2) “Attempts to smear the Trump administration are nothing more than retaliation by a disgraced former official.”
3) “Comey isn’t credible — just ask Democrats.” The digital ads will show several Democrats calling for Comey’s resignation after he injected himself into the 2016 presidential race, including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who is shown saying: “All I can tell you is the FBI Director has no credibility.”
The plan to make Comey into an unreliable witness is based on that idea that Comey, a conservative Republican who was Deputy Attorney General under George W. Bush and who led the attack on Bill Clinton’s pardon of commodities trader Marc Rich, is both too friendly to Democrats and too unfriendly to Trump. To that end, they’re resurrecting everything that was ever used to show Comey was inclined to help Republicans, but now it’s the Republicans using those charges to attack Comey. In the tradition of giving FBI actions code names, this appears to be Operation Massive Hypocrisy.
But then, Comey shouldn’t be surprised. It’s not as if the party that he’s been part of for decades hasn’t always been dedicated to self-advancement over national interest. And if that means using every instrument at their disposal to attack a man trying to get out the truth … that’s nothing all that new. It’s just that they have new ownership.
Comey’s memoir, A Higher Loyalty, will be released on April 17.