CNN Law Enforcement Analyst: Comey Got Political In Decisionmaking As "Feckless" Leader


JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I want to be careful, because I don't know James Comey personally but in the 110-year history of the FBI, I served for 25 years under four different FBI directors. So I spent 20% of the FBI's history, I was there to witness it. I think what we're witnessing right now is a diminution of the 6'8" stature of this man who has now shrunk down basically to an elocution. And why is this?

I don't think James Comey is a bad man. I think James Comey is a decent person. What I think happened here is because of the weight of the consequences that were thrust upon him, and we can talk about how he ended up there and why he had to make these decisions, I think it was his feckless leadership, the word feckless I choose carefully because it means lacking the strength of character.

What should have happened after he was put into that position on the Phoenix tarmac where he had to make that July 5th statement which was unprecedented for an FBI director to do, he should have punted the ball back across the street to the Department of Justice after Loretta Lynch recused herself and put that squarely on the desk of Sally Yates. He didn't do it. He allowed political calculus to come into his decisionmaking as FBI director and he is right to be criticized. Now, the president's manner, not the way I would choose to do it, I think it's below the dignity of the office. But I do believe his decisions and this book tour are worthy of criticism...

James Comey owned the high ground. On May 10th, I came on CNN first thing in the morning and I was angry. I talked about the repugnant, reprehensible actions -- the firing of a career public servant, dispatching him the way the president did. I was angry.

But the revelations that have since come through, the things we've seen when he testified in front of the Senate Intel Committee and he told Senator Dianne Feinstein that those nine interactions with the president which left him feeling nauseous, he wished somebody with a stronger backbone or character would have acted differently.

He talked about Loretta Lynch and her asking him to call the investigation a 'matter,' the one into Hillary Clinton's e-mails, he said, I felt queasy but I didn't feel it was a hill to die on. Well, I disagree, as many former agents and current employees do, with that.

I don't think James Comey is a bad man. I just think he was the wrong person at the wrong time to prevent the politicization of the bureau we love...

Here's where James Comey runs afoul. He runs afoul of the fact that he is still an FBI employee. No, he's not. He was fired. An FBI employee is defined as one who holds or previously held a position of trust within the agency. As an FBI employee, one of the prohibitive disclosures, and his book is rife with them, says that you are not allowed to talk about anything related to open or ongoing cases or investigations.

The Russia probe, the IG report that has not been released in its entirety, and a number of different investigations on Capitol Hill. James Comey is not just a peripheral witness, he is a central witness, and that's where I think he will run afoul of not the law to David's point, but he will run afoul of the Department of Justice.

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