Friday, September 16, 2016

Trump's Diagnosis: The Samson Syndrome | Trump, Samson, and the mythological approach in Political Personology


Donald Trump's famous hair cartoons

Samson's complex: The compulsion to re-enact betrayal and rage - Kutz - 1989 - Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

And if I ever lose my eyes
I won't have to cry no more.
Cat Stevens, from the song ‘ Moon Shadow 

"The iconic intensely aggressive style, for which Trump would become world renown, began in his youth. By the age of 13, he became a bit more than his parents could handle. They determined the best avenue for the young Donald was to send him to military school. So, off he was shipped to the college preparatory, military style boarding school of the New York Military Academy (NYMA)."

M.N.: Did young Donald perceive his "shipping off" to military school ("shape up or ship out") as an act of betrayal by his parents? Did it start the never ending cycles of rage and the desire for revenge? What role did this circumstance play in the formation of his adult character? Did it contribute into his deeply felt ambivalence about the rules, authority, and power? Are these ambivalence and rage the sources of his potential capacity for betrayal, which alarmed so many experienced people who declared him the present and the future danger to National Security

“When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same,” the 70-year-old presumptive Republican nominee once told a biographer. “The temperament is not that different.”

M.N.: At the same time, his adaptive capacity for change (the ability to be "reformed", among other factors, by the political-military establishment), has to be assessed also. His hypothetical need for this reform might also be viewed as the maladaptive psychological replay ("repetition compulsion") of the old drama. It probably was one of the key moments in his early and later life history. 


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Trump's Diagnosis: The Samson Syndrome | "Trump is our Samson"(!) | The new message to Trumpistas: "Trump is cuddly!" - Donald Trump as Samson | Samson complex

Psychiatry and political science

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Psychiatry, Politics, and National Security

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The Trump Phenomenon

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Group and Charismatic leader

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Donald Trump as Samson

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Donald Trump, his hair and Samson

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Samson Syndrome

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Personality profiling of leaders

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The Psychological Assessment of Political Leaders
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The power of psychiatric "diagnostic" labeling

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Mythological approach

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Psychiatry and political science: US Elections 2016

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Hillary Clinton as archetypal leader

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Group and Archetypal leader

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Political Behaviors

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Electoral and Voting Behaviors

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Personal health issues of candidates - 2016 presidential election - from 8.29.16

The question that will decide the election - The Washington Post
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Full Disclosure on Candidates’ Health - The New York Times
Clinton Health, Trump Reaction Consume US Presidential Campaign
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Americans need to know more about Clinton’s health — and Trump’s - The Washington Post
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Another View: Voters deserve to know more about candidates' health - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
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C Is for Concussion - WSJ
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Why did Clinton hide her pneumonia? Because she’s a woman. - The Washington Post
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USA to take revenge on Russia for Hillary Clinton's health problems - PravdaReport
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Ethical issues in psychiatry and "Goldwater rule"

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Is Donald Trump Samson Or Delilah?

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George Rasley, CHQ Editor | 1/25/2016
One of the primary reasons – if not THE primary reason – Donald Trump has attracted so much support from grassroots populist conservatives is his implied promise to tear down the Washington political establishment. 
Never mind that for decades Trump has been part of that establishment and has used its tools – cronyism and big money pay-to-play political influence peddling – to advance his company’s interests. The very idea of a billionaire who “can’t be bought” or even influenced by those tools cleansing the Temple is too attractive to be Samson and Delilahgiven any serious scrutiny. 
And the idea of pulling-down the entire edifice of establishment Washington in the kind of bloodless revolution Trump implies he will conduct is cathartic. 
So there’s a certain understandable schadenfreude in populist rejection of the claims of conservative intellectuals that Trump isn’t a conservative at all, but a sort of big business nationalist who sounds vaguely conservative, but who could only accomplish his sketchy policy proposals through distinctly anti-conservative means. 
And, truth be told, the fellows at National ReviewThe Weekly StandardFox and other outlets that have been banging away at Trump’s lack of conservative intellectual bona fides haven’t borne the impact of Washington’s complete rejection of limited government constitutional conservatism. 
None of them have been put out of work by an illegal alien. 
None of them have had to train their H1-B foreign guest worker replacements. 
Few have their children in public school rooms swamped with non-English speakers. 
And few are subjected to the daily humiliations at the hands of politically correct bureaucrats, school administrators, and corporate managers that make them feel like strangers in their own country. 
So little wonder that Trump’s message that he is going tear down the Washington establishment and the idea of an outsider candidate who is going to make America great again and is beholden to no one is a powerful attractant to the forgotten men and women of America’s country class. 
The notion of pulling the enemy’s temple down upon their heads is a seductive idea deeply embedded in our culture through the Biblical story of Samson, told in the Book of Judges. 
From his youth Samson is marked by God as a protector of the people of Israel during a time of conflict with the Philistines. Samson is given superhuman strength to fulfil this commission, but only so long as Samson abides by the principles God set forth. 
Samson makes a deal with Delilah, deviates from God’s principles, loses his superhuman strength and is captured and blinded by the Philistines. Ultimately, Samson regains God’s favor and in a final act of superhuman strength pulls the Philistines’ temple down upon their heads killing them, and himself, in the process. 
The issue we have with Donald Trump is not so much the message (although its lack of detail is of concern) our issue is with the lack of principles and uncertainty of the messenger. 
For every position Donald Trump has now one could look back a decade, a year, or a few months and find a contradictory or hedging statement on that topic. 
For every certainty Trump states that is not anchored in an underlying constitutional principle one can find a following statement talking about making a deal and extolling the virtues of getting things done – exactly the same kind talk about “governing” that one might hear from John Boehner, Mitch McConnell or any other establishment Republican leader. 
As the first votes in the 2016 Republican presidential primary cycle approach populist conservatives who are thinking about voting for Donald Trump ought to ponder the story of Samson and decide where in the story Trump fits, and where they fit. 
Is Donald Trump Samson – the strong, but flawed leader who redeems himself and America by pulling the edifice of the Washington Cartel down upon his head?  
I don’t think so, to me Trump is actually Delilah, and it is we grassroots conservatives that are Samson, and by abandoning conservative principles for his vague and seductive message of big business economic nationalism we are surrendering the strength that won us victories in 2010 and 2014 and will leave us dead in the rubble after the 2016 presidential election.
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Samson's complex: The compulsion to re-enact betrayal and rage - Kutz - 1989 - Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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A comparison of the life story of a psychotherapy patient to that of biblical Samson reveals that both men suffer from a behavioural disturbance, manifested in the compulsion to re-enact the experience of betrayal by women, followed by destructive attacks of rage against others, and ultimately against their own tormented selves. The author tracks the origin of repetition compulsion to its proposed psychobiological foundations of attachment-formation and its development. Samson's complex is viewed as a deep-seated, characterological defect, stemming from faulty object relations and leading to existential despair and suicidal longing. The existence of a detailed psychopathological phenomenology embedded in timeless biblical lore denotes once more the alliance between myth and psychology.
And if I ever lose my eyes
I won't have to cry no more.
Cat Stevens, from the song ‘ Moon Shadow ’


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samson-delilahWelcome to The Michael Savage Newsletter, your daily report on all things “Savage.”
In today’s issue: The most recent Republican primary debate, Thursday night, reminded Michael Savage of a movie from the 1950s.
“When I was a little boy I saw the movie ‘Samson and Delilah,’ and Samson was the Jewish strongman,” Savage recalled to his listeners. And in one scene, which branded itself in my brain, he was captured by the Philistines – I guess they were the Palestinians – and he was blinded.
They took his eyes out. They took out Samson’s eyes. They blinded him with hot coals.
Even as a kid, I squirmed in the seat. I thought it was the worst thing you could do to a man.
And then they released midgets on Samson who were poking him with hot pokers and throwing nets around him.
That’s what it looked like to me [Thursday] night.
For all of his flaws, Trump is our Samson. And these guys, these Rubios, are the midgets poking him with the pokers. I mean, it’s sickening.
So, I don’t know that he damaged Samson, to be honest with you. Do I think that Trump is so great? No, I never said he was great. I just think he is our best chance to defeat the Bolsheviks.
I think he’s our best chance to destroy the Islamic state.
I think he’s our best chance to avoid a war with Russia.
I can’t say that for any of the other candidates who have any chance whatsoever.
Cruz, for example, every other day he’s speaking against Russia, because he’s listening to the same party apparatchiks who got us into Iraq and Afghanistan.
Make no mistake about it. As smart as you may think Cruz is, I must tell you he’s listening to the same neocon advisers who got us into Iraq with the Bushes.
And that’s why he’s repeating the rhetoric of the Cold War, that Russia is our number one enemy.
No, Russia is not our number one enemy, Mr. Cruz. Not at all. Russia is our natural ally against radical Islam, Mr. Cruz.
Stop making the mistakes that these neocon, out-of-work advisers would have you make.
You know, come to your senses, Mr. Cruz.
But Cruz didn’t embarrass himself [Thursday] night. He looked like a very able maitre d’ in the dining room, and Rubio looked like a sweaty busboy who hasn’t changed his jacket for six days now. The type of busboy we used to have up in the Catskill Mountains, who you’d have to pull aside and say, “Look, Marco, go home and change your clothing. You know, you’re not looking too good in the dining room.”
And no matter what he tried to do … Trump came out looking like the hotel owner.
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Saint-Saens BACCHANAL from SAMSON AND DELILAH ~ Pro Arte Symphony Orchestra Live 2003 - YouTube

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Uploaded on Mar 31, 2011
Early in the opera Samson and Delilah, the Bacchanale (which is really the ballet scene customary in French grand opera) is a festival in tribute to the god Bacchus, patron of all things sensual. It opens with an exotic oboe solo, whose middle-eastern flavor evokes the lithe image of a dancer sinously swirling behind flowing veils, to please the onlookers lounging on their pillows. Suddenly, the party comes to life and quickly grows into a revelry, as the guests are drawn into a frenetic dance. As this excitement builds all around them, Samson and Delilah drift into a private world of their own. The music presents a serene interlude that turns into a sensuous episode, as a bond develops between the two star-crossed lovers. Its tender themes transform into passionate melodies, until they eventually give way to the original dance music. This grows more and more intoxicated until it reaches a frenzied climax, as the guests fall exhausted from their efforts. The emotional content of the music is seductive, and Saint-Saëns' passionate writing gives the lie to his image as a conservative with craftsmanship but no imagination.
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Donald Trump Lets Jimmy Fallon Mess Up His Hair - YouTube

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Published on Sep 15, 2016
Jimmy asks if he can tussle Donald Trump's famously controversial hair while the Republican presidential nominee is still a civilian.

Trump ‘Tonight’: ‘I Don’t Know Putin,’ But Wouldn’t Be a ‘Bad Thing’ to Get Along with Russia 

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In an interview that featured both Fallon's lighthearted bantering style and strikingly low-key candidness from Trump, the Republican candidate opened up about his motivation for running for president and was not afraid to poke fun at himself and some of his trademark campaign behavior.

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Russian hacking a question of revenge and respect

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In Defense of Jim Comey: Politico's Bizarrely Shoddy Attack on the FBI Director 

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An astonishingly bad piece appeared in Politico this week under an admittedly arresting headline: “The Case Against James Comey: Not Since Hoover Has an FBI Director Shown Such a Lack of Accountability.”
Written by a gentleman named Riley Roberts, a former speechwriter for Eric Holder, it’s the kind of piece that should prompt a certain amount of soul-searching at the publication that agreed to publish it. The thesis is bold. The evidence is shockingly weak. Critical history and information is left out. Quotations are seemingly intentionally distorted. And important information in the story is just wrong.
Let me be very candid in this disclosure: Jim Comey is a friend. Anyone who wants to disregard my critique of this article on that basis should feel free to do so. That said, I don’t think my judgment is clouded here. The Politico piece is a really bad article. And it’s worth spending some time taking it apart.
Roberts’s basic thesis is that “there is a growing consensus that Comey has wielded the powers of the directorship more aggressively than anyone since Hoover—to the consternation, and even anger, of some of his colleagues.” He writes: "Since taking office, Comey has repeatedly injected his views into executive branch deliberations on issues such as sentencing reform and the roots of violence against police officers. He has undermined key presidential priorities such as crafting a coherent federal policy on cybersecurity and encryption. Most recently, he shattered longstanding precedent by publicly offering his own conclusions about the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email."
Roberts's broad thesis is wrong. There is absolutely no consensus about the aggressiveness with which Comey has wielded the powers of the directorship. Comey has his detractors, and he has his admirers.
The notion that Comey has been more unaccountably indepdendent than prior directors is also wrong. Given the long-term, semi-public, multi-front warfare between the Clinton White House and FBI Director Louis Freeh, there simply is not a defensible argument that Comey has out-flanked Freeh in the fifth column department. Freeh’s name does not appear in Roberts’s article. It's a big omission. Freeh publically sparred with the White House and with Attorney General Janet Reno over any number of issues, most famously the conduct of investigations related to campaign finance. Whatever one thinks of the merits of those issues, it simply is not credible to claim that Comey is wielding independent power in a fashion unprecedented since Hoover without a serious examination of Freeh’s tenure.
Yet that is exactly what Roberts does. Since the Clinton email announcement, he writes, “even some of Comey’s supporters have been forced to concede that his exercise of power has been without precedent in the post-Hoover era. Among dozens of current and former Justice Department officials, this realization has given way to a rising sense of alarm: that our next president will find Comey just as untouchable as Hoover once was—and perhaps nearly as troublesome.”
Roberts does not quote dozens of current and former Justice Department officials expressing this “rising sense of alarm.” In fact, he quotes only four contemporary analysts in making his case.
One of them is me.
Roberts quotes the following passage from a piece I wrote expressing anxiety about the civil liberties precedent of Comey’s public statement and testimony about the Clinton email disposition: “There is something horrible about watching a senior government official, who has used the coercive investigative capacities of the federal government, make public judgments about a subject's conduct which the Justice Department is not prepared to indict.”
Here’s the context of that quotation that Roberts doesn’t bother to quote:
Let me start by saying that I do not dissent from FBI Director James Comey's decision to give the remarkably fulsome account we saw this week of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, both in his lengthy statement Tuesday and, particularly, in his marathon testimony yesterday. . . . In his testimony yesterday, he made clear that the extraordinary nature of a criminal investigation of a person who is about to be nominated for President by a major party demanded a degree of transparency that is atypical and that would satisfy reasonable people that the bureau had followed the regular order. That seems right. He was in an impossible position, made far more so by the almost mind-boggling decision of Bill Clinton to publicly compromise the attorney general. Comey's testimony was extraordinary in its candor, both as to his reasoning on his decision not to recommend prosecution and as to the often-minute details of the FBI's findings. To my mind, it was also entirely persuasive.
To be clear, no part of me agrees with any part of Roberts’s thesis, and to the extent my words can be used to support it, they can be used only if quoted very selectively.
Whom else does Roberts quote? Well, there’s Columbia professor Dan Richman, a long-time Comey friend and adviser. Richman, like me, has no rising sense of alarm at Comey’s behavior and told me today that he certainly does not agree with the article’s thesis either.
Roberts also quotes two other people—one a criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor and one who like the author, curiously enought, also worked as a PR aide for Holder. Hmmmm.
The legions of the alarmed, in other words, while asserted repeatedly throughout the piece, never show up in it. They are entirely mythical. There aren’t even anonymous sources. The author literally quotes not a single current Justice Department official in support of his bold claims. The closest he gets is this general citation:
Behind the scenes, others in the executive branch have been considerably less circumspect. “It’s really tough for all the attorneys [to speak out], because they all have to practice before DOJ,” says Matt Miller, who led the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs from 2009 to 2011. “But I’ve heard from dozens of officials, both current and former, and not one of them agreed with [Comey’s] decision to hold the press conference.”
By and large, Justice Department lawyers have declined to criticize Comey in public, for fear of angering the FBI director. But in personal conversations and expletive-laden email threads, many were apoplectic at his handling of the Clinton case. One aide described senior officials who should have been involved in the announcement scrambling to watch it on television. Some were particularly incensed by the editorial commentary sprinkled throughout Comey’s statement.
For the record, it simply is not true that it’s really tough for DOJ attorneys to speak out about things that are really bothering them. During the Freeh-Clinton wars, I was working as an editorial writer at the Washington Post. I can personally assure Miller and Roberts that senior Justice Department officials are perfectly capable of venting their frustrations about the FBI director to journalists on background. Sometimes, they even use their flacks to do it for them. 
There is, in other words, a reason for the lack of direct sourcing for any of the major claims in this article about the supposedly pervasive attitude at the Justice Department. I think it's that the central claim isn’t true. I spend a lot of time with Justice Department lawyers, current and former—including today, when I was at National Security Division’s 10th anniversary conference. I heard one current DOJ lawyer rhapsodize about Comey's speech at the same conference. I didn't hear anyone worrying about his Hoover-like powermongering. I just don’t think there are dozens of angry attorneys seething about and quaking with fear at the power-mad Comey. Yes, he’s done some things that have pissed people off. And yes, some people think he’s a bit prissy and self-righteous. But the belief that there is some great Comey menace is just not a meme sweeping the Justice Department.
To make Comey into this menace, Roberts has to do more than fantasize armies of alarmed Justice Department veterans. He has to make Comey seem all-powerful too. And in doing so, he says a lot of stuff that’s just dumb.
“It was in 1936,” he writes, “the year after the Bureau of Investigation adopted the word ‘Federal,’ and became the FBI—that Supreme Court Justice Harlan Fiske Stone wrote, of himself and his colleagues on the bench, that ‘the only check upon our own exercise of power is our own sense of self-restraint.’ The same is true of the modern FBI director.”
Actually, the same is not remotely true of the FBI director. The FBI director can be fired by the president, and one post-Hoover director has been fired. To the extent he behaves illegally, the courts have a lot of recourse, starting with the suppression of evidence. The Justice Department also can refuse to bring criminal cases the bureau develops. The FBI director is certainly a powerful figure, but he’s not a god. And lots of actors have levers to pull if they don’t like the way Comey is behaving.
Okay, you say, so maybe Roberts is overstating the matter. But surely he has some evidence that Comey is amassing power and behaving in an unaccountable fashion. Actually not. Here is all of the evidence Roberts cites in the piece of Comey’s Hoover-like behavior:
  • He spoke in defense of mandatory minimum sentences while the administration was trying to effectuate sentencing reform.
  • He suggested publicly that there may be a “Ferguson effect” in which police are being less dilligent because of fears of cameras and fears of being accused of racism.
  • He allegedly scuttled an administration encryption initiative.
  • He held his press conference and gave testimony and released documents on the Clinton email matter.
That’s it. That’s the sum total of the alleged power grab.
Note that these alleged offenses are not remotely of equal weight. The first two amount to nothing more than Comey’s having expressed his opinions on matters of policy concern in criminal justice areas, which is kind of his field. One can agree or disagree with him on either of them (I hate mandatory minimums, myself), but there is nothing wrong with the FBI director’s giving his view of the effect of policy changes on law enforcement. And surely, even if one accepts that Comey has strayed from his lane by expressing these beliefs, such deviations from administration positions by an official appointed to a term of years precisely to guarantee his independence is not the stuff of J. Edgar Hoover.
The scuttling of an encryption initiative would admittedly be more grievous. Writes Roberts,
And early this year, when FBI agents were unable to access an iPhone belonging to the alleged perpetrator of the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack, Comey steamrolled his White House and Pentagon colleagues—even scuttling an administration-wide encryption policy that was under development—by insisting that Apple be forced to unlock the phone for the government.
The trouble is that the incident is entirely fictitious. There was no administration-wide encryption policy developing. There was a fierce, intense interagency discussion that was nowhere approaching any kind of consensus. The Justice Department, by the way, litigated the Apple case, and it did so even while litigating previous cases it was already pursuing regarding other iPhones. Readers of this site know these cases well. The administration is genuinely divided on encryption. And if the President clearly disagreed with Comey, Comey would lose this fight tomorrow. The reason Comey’s position has had staying power is that the Justice Department and much of the intelligence community supports it, and the President himself clearly has some sympathy for law enforcement’s concerns. The result is a policy deadlock. 
So that leaves the Hillary Clinton email matter, on which Comey’s behavior is legitimately controversial. I have expressed my own anxieties about the precedent Comey has set in that case. So I’m not arguing here that there are no grounds for criticism. But Roberts leaves out a critical fact from his account: the small matter of Bill Clinton’s getting on Attorney General Lynch’s airplane the week before the investigation was to publicly conclude.
This put Comey, and Lynch for that matter, in an absolutely untenable position. If he made his recommendations quietly and Lynch acted on them, as Roberts alleged would have been proper, the decision would have had no credibility whatsoever. If Comey did not explain himself, the situation would simply fester and conspiracy theories would too. I am not at all sure whether Comey made the right choice here or not (see the piece I wrote that Roberts quotes), but it was a very hard call, and the situation was a lose-lose proposition. This is not Hoover territory by any means.
So tendentious is Roberts’s treatment of the Clinton matter that the section on it closes with a passage that is perilously close to simple fraud:
In the final analysis, what is most troubling about Comey’s handling of the Clinton email case is not the fact that it represents an escalation of an established pattern—or even that there is no mechanism for preventing a repeat performance. What is most troubling is that, at its core, the whole affair had relatively little to do with Hillary Clinton. It was, in Comey’s own words, a “way to maximize” his agency’s reputation: a bid to advance not the interests of justice, but the interests of James Comey.
Do you really believe that the FBI director actually said that his goal in the Clinton email affair was to maximize his agency’s reputation and to advance his own interests? I didn’t either. And guess what? He didn’t. Here’s what Comey actually said at an ABA event in San Francisco in August, in response to a question about why he announced the results of the email investigation:
​What was different about this was we decided to share particularly our recommendation and our evaluation of the case....First of all, I thought transparency was in order given the extraordinary interest in the matter from the American people, and Justice Department policy and regs recognized that there may be circumstances of extraordinary public interest, and this struck me if there ever was one, this is it. I thought it was important for the FBI to speak about this because I thought that was the way most likely to offer a transparency that would reassure the American people [that] this investigation was done in the right way. I thought given all the other things going on, an independent statement by the FBI was consistent with three things that I care deeply about. The reputation of the FBI, the reputation of the entire Justice Department, and a broader sense of justice in the country. I thought the way to maximize all three of those was to do something unprecedented, which was an entirely independent statement.
Politico should give some serious thought to how it came to publish this piece. The facts it reports do not remotely support the conclusion the article puts forth. And at least a few big facts the article contains are also not true. An after-action report on this journalistic train wreck would be valuable.
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