What Is James Comey Doing Now?

Updated on January 31, 2018
Stephen Sinclair profile image

Stephen Sinclair is a Canadian freelance writer who has been publishing professionally for several years.

Then-FBI Director James Comey receives applause from former President Barack Obama and former FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce during installation proceedings in Washington, D.C., in 2013.
Then-FBI Director James Comey receives applause from former President Barack Obama and former FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce during installation proceedings in Washington, D.C., in 2013. | Source

What Has the Former FBI Director Been Doing Since He Was Dismissed by President Trump?

Former FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Donald Trump in May 2017. Then, in June, he presented widely followed testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is investigating possible connections between the president and Russia, as reported by the Globe and Mail. The former director was then described by CNN as staying "mostly out of the spotlight" until he presented a poorly received speech at Howard University, welcoming new students, in September 2017.

"Get out James Comey — you're not our homey," was among the chants reported to drown out the former director's speech.

"I love the enthusiasm of young folks, but I wish they understood what a conversation is," Comey responded, as students continued to yell over top of him.

The disaffected students were described being "specifically troubled by Comey's views on the so-called, 'Ferguson effect,' which suggests police officers use restraint out of concern over being videotaped during violent confrontations."

More recently, on January 19, the College of William & Mary announced that James Comey will be teaching a course on "ethical leadership," together with Drew Stelljes, the school's executive assistant professor of education.

"Jim Comey is among William & Mary's most distinguished alumni," college President Taylor Reveley was quoted in a statement. "Over the years, he has been deeply committed to his alma mater. He understands to the core of his being that our leaders must have an abiding commitment to ethical behavior and sacrificial service if we are to have good government. Our students will benefit significantly from his experience and wisdom."

Also recently, Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman revealed that he was serving as James Comey's attorney. In his June 2017 testimony, the former director revealed that he leaked journal entries to Richman. The Federalist notes that at least one of these memos may have contained classified information.

"A review of FBI policies governing the handling of sensitive government documents suggests Comey violated FBI policy by leaking the memos, which were produced on government time, using government equipment, and directly related to his official government responsibilities, according to Comey’s own testimony before Congress."

James Comey: Senate Intelligence Committee Testimony Highlights

Comey's Suitability as Ethics Leader Questioned

Since news of William & Mary's planned James Comey-led ethics curriculum was announced, several observers have pondered whether the former director is the best choice for the job.

Jonathon Turley, with The Hill, notes the alumnus' "background and knowledge," but contends that "it is a bit premature to view him as an expert on ethics, given the allegations concerning his conduct after his termination. Indeed, his record at the FBI would make for a compelling case study of what not to do as an ethical leader in government."

At issue is the apparent leaking of memos James Comey produced while serving as FBI director. Turley notes that the date on which Comey retained Daniel Richman as a lawyer may prove significant — it may block the former director from any legal jeopardy associated with leaking classified material or breaking any other FBI regulations.

Olivia Goldhill, with Quartz, also questioned James Comey's background as it relates to teaching an ethics course, but focused on his announcement with regard to the reopening an investigation into Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, just days before the November 2016 election.

Thomas Kolditz, with the Institute for New Leaders at Rice University, described his view that "morality is based on intention" when explaining that he didn't believe that James Comey had committed an "ethical breach" when he made the announcement about reopening the investigation into Clinton. However, Kolditz did assert that Comey made a "mistake."

Hillary Clinton has stated that if the election had been held the day before James Comey's announcement, on October 28, 2016, she would have won, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

"It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election, but honestly, it wouldn't change the decision," the former director was quoted. "It was a hard choice, and I still believe in retrospect it was the right choice."

"It is not clear if any or all of this will be material for Comey’s new course on ethics," Jonathon Turley concluded. "It is rare for lecture powerpoints to include potential statements against interest by the professor, but this is one course that many people might want to audit."

James Comey has testified with regard to his belief that President Trump advanced a notion of a "patronage" relationship with the then-director, characterized by "loyalty," which was rebuffed. He was ultimately terminated.

James Comey Speaks at Howard University on September 22, 2017

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Stephen Sinclair

    Comments

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    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      8 months ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      ptosis

      but you did and still do defend Comey, with you last comment.

      I still don't know what your point is in hating president Trump. Do you have a country that has your president? It certainly is not the United States.

      Why can't you wait until 2020, and try to get someone to defeat president Trump?

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 

      8 months ago from Arizona

      Settle down BradmasterOCcal I didn't defend Comey, but he has more credibility than 'Ol Bone Spurs who breathes lies

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      8 months ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      ptosis

      "First of all, Comey was very clear that the memo that he wrote was intentionally written in unclassified form so that it would not be bound up in classification rules. So if the claim is that he's admitted to leaking classified information, that's simply factually false." - Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of the Lawfare blog and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution

      'Comey's disclosure of the memo did not constitute a "leak" because it did not contain classified information, and he was a private citizen when he shared it' - http://www.businessinsider.com/were-comey-leaks-le...

      B:

      Are you seriously going to defend ex FBI director James Comey. What was the purpose of his leak, and why didn't he have the balls to do it himself. In addition, how can you respect anything that Comey says, and teaching Ethics. How was what Comey did ethical. And when you go back to the HRC interview, it wasn't done under oath, there is no record of it, and giving 17 people immunity without giving any testimony makes no sense. He is supposed to be a lawyer, and the ex head of the FBI and he doesn't know the law. There is no intent in Gross Negligence. As that navy seaman when he merely took a picture on board his ship. It was strict liability, the he had the picture and that was all to charge and indict him.

      Changing the wording from Gross Negligence to Extremely Careless is the same thing. That is an example of Gross Negligence.

      And how ethical was it for him to talk with Mueller before his congressional hearing, and Mueller then being made special counsel. At the congressional hearing, Comey stated that he leaked the memo, so that a special counsel would be appointed.

      As for the memo itself, we have no idea of its veracity, and that needs to be investigated.

      We don't even know when it was really written. We do know that he wrote an exoneration letter for HRC even before she was going to be interview. Another ethical decisions?

      ---------------------------------------

      Comey lied about the "mildly nauseous" - he knew exactly what he was doing, sabotaging Clinton's campaign in a well timed announcement that was rescinded a few days later. -

      B:

      Another example of Comey's ethics.

      So this is direct evidence that contributed to people not voting for Hillary, but it still doesn't explain how she had 3 million more in the popular vote!

      --------------

      -------------------------------

    • Stephen Sinclair profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephen Sinclair 

      8 months ago from Canada

      Hey ptosis:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. James Comey is certainly a controversial figure and there are many opinions on the way he has conducted himself.

      I'm not sure what to think. However, while he may have made some mistakes, he has also been served an enormous plate. I'd rather see Comey in Oval Office than Trump, any day of the week.

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 

      8 months ago from Arizona

      "First of all, Comey was very clear that the memo that he wrote was intentionally written in unclassified form so that it would not be bound up in classification rules. So if the claim is that he's admitted to leaking classified information, that's simply factually false." - Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of the Lawfare blog and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution

      'Comey's disclosure of the memo did not constitute a "leak" because it did not contain classified information, and he was a private citizen when he shared it' - http://www.businessinsider.com/were-comey-leaks-le...

      Comey lied about the "mildly nauseous" - he knew exactly what he was doing, sabotaging Clinton's campaign in a well timed announcement that was rescinded a few days later. -

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