This is what happens if you mess with the swamp. All the swamp creatures begin snapping and writhing and yowling like angry cats in the dark.
For the better part of a year now, the only thing everyone in Washington could agree upon was that now-ex FBI Director Jim Comey was an overreaching, underperforming dolt.
He fancied himself to be attorney general after he had lost all confidence in Loretta Lynch, the actual attorney general.
That was after Ms. Lynch had met privately on a jet with former President Bill Clinton on a tarmac in Phoenix. This was at a time when Mr. Clinton’s wife was running for president while under investigation by the attorney general and the FBI for criminal misuse of classified emails.
Wearing his Big Boy AG shoes last summer, Mr. Comey delivered the most damning nonindictment of Mrs. Clinton in the history of criminal justice.
After listing a long rap sheet of inexcusable, reckless and conspiratorial handling of state secrets over a purposely concealed home email server — designed specifically to shield Mrs. Clinton from public scrutiny — Mr. Comey jarringly announced that he was recommending that no charges would be forthcoming.
“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” he said, concluding his withering damnation of Mrs. Clinton last July.
But, lest any mere mortals think they might get away with doing the same thing Mrs. Clinton had done, Mr. Comey was blunt.
“To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences,” he warned. “To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.”
“But” he added, “that is not what we are deciding now.”
In other words, if you are a former first lady who is about to be the next president and whose husband is a former president who just met privately on a plane on a tarmac, then you won’t be charged. But if you are a mere citizen or public employee with no such influence, you’re gambling with your life and your career.
Ahhh, life in the swamp.
Despite all of this baggage, Democrats nominated Mrs. Clinton anyway.
But Mr. Comey was not finished with her yet. Like a swamp cat playing with a swamp rat, he toyed with her again and again up until the last weeks and days of the campaign. Mr. Comey was for her before he was against her. Then he was for her again.
Life in the swamp can be disorienting — especially if you are the rat being toyed with.
“If the election had been on Oct. 27, I would be your president,” Mrs. Clinton said recently, referring to one of Mr. Comey’s final interferences in the campaign.
The election, of course, was held a week later. And she lost.
Donald Trump was hired instead to drain the swamp Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey had inhabited for far too long.
Truth is, they really just think he should have been fired by President Hillary Clinton.
Which raises another interesting question. If the Democrats’ only complaint right now is that Mr. Trump did not fire Mr. Comey sooner, then shouldn’t they be mad at former President Barack Obama for not firing Mr. Comey after the election?
Or, even better, before the election?
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.
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