Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson railed against former FBI Director James Comey, who was coming off an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos a night earlier to get off his book tour.
According to Carlson, that interview revealed Comey’s partisan stripes and showed that he should have never been FBI director.
Transcript as follows:
CARLSON: Tonight, the full transcript of former FBI Director Jim Comey’s interview with George Stephanopoulos has been released. It’s a massive interview, clocking in at more than five hours. And it’s deeply revealing.
By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about what Comey has had to say about Donald Trump and not very much of that was newsworthy, it turned out.
The real value of this interview is what it says about James Comey. By the end, you realize that Comey never should have been FBI director. He’s too partisan. Trump’s main mistake was in not firing him on inauguration day.
In his interview with ABC, Comey defends his prosecution of Martha Stewart, who – you’ll remember – went to jail for lying to federal prosecutors. He then attacks General David Petraeus.
According to Comey, Petraeus should have faced far more than a lone charge for mishandling classified information. He should have gone to prison for lying.
In Comey’s words, lying “strikes at the heart of our rule of law in this country.” Fair enough. The power should be held accountable for their misdeeds.
But then, Comey goes on to talk about the Marc Rich case. Do you remember that? On his way out of office, Bill Clinton sold a presidential pardon to a wanted felon who had fled the county.
Comey is unambiguous about that case. “I’ve never heard of another case where a fugitive from justice was pardoned.” So, Stephanopoulos then asks the obvious question. “Did you draw any conclusions about the Clintons, about Hillary Clinton from those experiences?” Comey’s response? No, none at all.
Selling a presidential pardon to a fugitive says nothing whatsoever about the Clintons or their character. And, by the way, Comey goes on to say that Hillary Clinton is awfully smarter and hardworking.
Loretta Lynch gets the same soft treatment. Comey concedes that as attorney general Lynch did, in fact, pressure him to describe the Hillary email as a “matter” rather than what it actually was, a criminal investigation.
Did Comey spot this obvious effort to politicize justice? Nope, not even close.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR (voice-over): His first concern when she told him to refer to the Clinton e-mail controversy as a matter rather than an investigation.
(on-camera): Did you think she was doing that to protect Hillary Clinton?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I didn’t know. It worried me. It gave me an uncomfortable feeling because the Clinton campaign had been trying to come up with other words to describe it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: You know, I don’t know, says Jim Comey. Comey doesn’t know if Lynch was trying to protect Hillary Clinton. He doesn’t want to draw any conclusions from that. He has no idea if the attorney general was behaving politically when she told him to parrot the Clinton campaign’s talking points.
Comey goes on to say Loretta Lynch is a very smart and good person whom he respects very much.
You remember, in the middle of all of this saga, President Obama publicly and repeatedly dismissed the entire Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as a nothing-burger. Of course, Hillary did nothing wrong, Obama said.
Well, Comey concedes that Obama is a very smart lawyer and he should have known better than to weigh-in on an active investigation as president. The president shouldn’t do that.
“Do you think Obama was trying to color the case, Stephanopoulos asked.
Once again, Comey replies, “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
Well, there’s a theme here. Again and again, partisan Democrats get every benefit of every doubt from Jim Comey. He can’t rush to conclusions. That is until he sees the white circles under Donald Trump’s eyes. Then he’s happy to speculate.
Comey says repeatedly that lying is what bothers him most. He’s devoted his life to fighting against dishonesty. That’s why he wrote the book, he says.
But Comey also says that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is the public servant he admires most. That’s right. The very same James Clapper who lied to Congress, falsely claiming that intelligence agencies don’t spy on Americans when he knew perfectly well that they do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?
JAMES CLAPPER, THEN DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: No, sir.
WYDEN: It does not?
CLAPPER: Not wittingly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Not wittingly. What you just saw is perjury. It’s a federal crime. But unlike Martha Stewart, James Clapper got away with that. Jim Comey is happy that he did.
The most revealing moments of the interview come when Comey describes the alleged Russian plot against our democracy. Comey claims repeatedly that Russia wanted Trump to beat Hillary Clinton in the election.
But if it’s that simple, why did Russian propagandists apparently attack Trump as well and stage protests against him? Comey doesn’t address that. Instead he acts as if we know for certain that Putin was working on Trump’s behalf.
But we absolutely do not know that for certain. In many cases, the facts contradict that conclusion. Comey is passing off speculation as fact.
If Comey and the FBI really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russian plot against our democracy, why didn’t the bureau examine the DNC servers to make certain that Russia really hacked them?
To this date, regardless of what you hear, we have never seen any evidence that the Government of Russia directed the theft of data from those servers or from John Podesta’s Gmail account, for that matter. We just take that on faith. Everyone repeats it like it’s true.
But why we should we believe that without actual proof? Because people like Jim Comey say so? Because our intel agencies never lie to us? Right.
Comey’s main piece of evidence that the president is a Russian stooge is that he never heard Trump criticize Vladimir Putin, even in private conversations.
“I don’t know what’s behind that,” Comey says, meaningfully.
The implication is that Trump is unpatriotic, a traitor to America. So, that’s the new standard.
Unless you denounce Putin vigorously and behind closed doors, our top law enforcement officials suspect you of disloyalty and criminal intent and then all but accuse you of that on television.
There’s a name for this. It’s called McCarthyism and it’s scarier than anything Trump has ever done with Russia.
Finally, for a guy who says he’s determined not to be political, Comey seems highly political. He says repeatedly in the interview with ABC that he’s greatly influenced by his wife.
He cites a number of occasions when she’s weighed in on his job at DOJ, including during the investigation into torture at Abu Ghraib. Comey says again and again that he listens carefully to his wife.
Well, given that, it’s significant that Comey’s wife turns out to be a bitter Hillary partisan. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Saturday, January 21, masses of demonstrators take to the streets, among them the family of James Comey.
COMEY: My wife and girls marched in the Women’s March, the day after President Trump’s inauguration. At least four daughters, probably all five of my kids wanted Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president. I know my amazing spouse did.
PATRICE FAILOR, WIFE OF JAMES COMEY: I wanted a woman president really badly and I supported Hillary Clinton. A lot of my friends worked for her. And I was devastated when she lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, wait a second. We have news here. Jim Comey was the director of the FBI working for President Donald Trump. A bunch of his wife’s friends worked on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Virtually his entire family marched against his boss on Trump’s very first day of work. Comey gave ABC photographs of all of them carrying anti-Trump signs on the National Mall.
We’re not supposed to think any of this had any effect on how Jim Comey approached his job in the Trump administration. But, of course, it did.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor