Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 9, 2015

Is Comey FBI Pick a Slam Dunk? (Updated)

Updated 6:45 p.m. | President Barack Obama’s expected choice of former Bush-era Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey to lead the FBI would seem to be a slam dunk for confirmation, at first blush.

Still, Comey will face questions from the GOP about his work for a hedge fund, as well how he will deal with the administration’s swirling controversies from the investigation into the IRS to the subpoenas of reporters’ communications and plumbing of national security leaks.

The reality, one GOP aide said, is that Comey is about the best pick the Republicans are likely to get out of the Obama White House, and he will face an easier time than if the administration had gone with an Obama insider. Comey also is likely to be asked about various Bush-era controversies by senators deciding whether to approve his selection to a 10-year FBI term.

The former deputy attorney general is best known for resisting Bush White House pressure to reauthorize a warrant-less wiretapping program in a bedside confrontation alongside then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Democrats have admired Comey as someone willing to stand up to Bush’s White House on a matter of principle, while for Republicans his history of independence suggests he won’t be a lackey for the Obama White House either.

Makan Delrahim, former Republican staff director and chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, was chairman, called the pick “a brilliant move” that would help tamp down partisan attacks against Obama.

Comey “provides the president with political cover with regard to highly sensitive national security issues, which are critical in today’s world,” he said.

Delrahim said the pick is reminiscent of Obama’s decision to keep former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served under President George W. Bush, and Stuart Levey, who served as under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence in the Treasury Department under both Bush and Obama.

“In addition to [Comey’s] incredible law enforcement accomplishments … if we have a national security problem that occurs … it only helps [Obama] having a Republican in place so he doesn’t get Republican criticism on a partisan level,” he added.

Delrahim, who was also deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and appointed by Bush in 2003, said he doesn’t see the pick helping the White House get past recent scandals, including GOP criticism of the deaths of four State Department officials in Benghazi, Libya; the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS; and the Justice Department’s move to secretly obtain telephone records of Associated Press reporters.

Still, the nomination “will take up some of the press oxygen, so that people will pay attention to that as an issue,” Delrahim said. “But once that confirmation comes in and is over the issues of the IRS, AP and Benghazi will” remain.

Initial statements from Republican senators were relatively warm.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said he had not yet heard from the White House about the pick but praised Comey’s experience. However, he also promised to question Comey’s ties to hedge funds. After leaving the Justice Department, Comey spent time as the general counsel of Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based hedge fund.

“Mr. Comey has a lot of experience on national security issues, which is one of the most important focuses for the FBI in the aftermath of 9/11, and has shown integrity in dealing with these matters,” said Grassley, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

“But, if he’s nominated, he would have to answer questions about his recent work in the hedge fund industry,” he said. “The administration’s efforts to criminally prosecute Wall Street for its part in the economic downturn have been abysmal, and his agency would have to help build the case against some of his colleagues in this lucrative industry.”

Hatch sounded even more positive. “Mr. Comey’s experience in national security as a prosecutor and as Deputy Attorney General are important qualifications,” he said.  “The FBI Director also needs to be fiercely independent from the political pressures that, as we have seen, can affect even the Justice Department. I look forward to reviewing Mr. Comey’s qualifications during the confirmation process.”

One group that isn’t impressed is the American Civil Liberties Union.

“As the second-highest ranked Justice Department official under John Ashcroft, Comey approved some of the worst abuses committed by the Bush administration,” said executive director Anthony D. Romero. “Specifically, the publicly available evidence indicates Comey signed off on enhanced interrogation techniques that constitute torture, including waterboarding. He also oversaw the indefinite detention without charge or trial of an American citizen picked up in the United States and then held for years in a military brig.”

While Romero gave Comey credit for standing up to the White House on one secret program, “he reportedly approved programs that struck at the very core of who we all are as Americans.”

But that scene in the hospital room with Ashcroft will help insulate him. “That only endeared him to people who respect the Justice Department and respect the rule of law over any kind of political influence,” Delrahim said.

Delrahim also said that incident could appeal to the likes of Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, all of whom have a libertarian bent.

“My guess would be that Comey’s position would be similar to the positions those senators would hold,” said Delrahim, an attorney at the Washington office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Scheck.

Installing someone at the FBI with a history of independence could also be just what the doctor ordered for an administration hoping to move beyond the IRS and leaks controversies without having to name a special prosecutor.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest Thursday declined to comment on the Comey pick or potential timing in a gaggle with reporters, while separately reiterating the White House’s opposition to a special prosecutor to probe the IRS despite a new Quinnipiac poll showing 76 percent support for one among the public.

“We’re confident those who need to be held accountable will be,” Earnest said.

Comments (50)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. Anonymous

    June 27, 2015
    3:33 a.m.

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

  2. Anonymous

    July 2, 2015
    4:06 p.m.

    Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful information specially the last part :) I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  3. Anonymous

    July 6, 2015
    7:07 p.m.

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn anything like this before. So good to search out somebody with some original ideas on this subject. realy thanks for beginning this up. this website is one thing that is needed on the internet, somebody with a little originality. helpful job for bringing something new to the web!

  4. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    8:34 a.m.

    Just what I was looking for, thankyou for putting up.

  5. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    5:23 p.m.

    Hello! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  6. Anonymous

    July 9, 2015
    6:43 a.m.

    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

  7. Anonymous

    July 11, 2015
    9:48 a.m.

    When I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a remark is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there any way you may remove me from that service? Thanks!

  8. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    1:16 p.m.

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Superb work!

  9. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    2:30 p.m.

    Some genuinely interesting points you have written.Helped me a lot, just what I was searching for : D.

  10. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    8:41 p.m.

    obviously like your web-site but you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very bothersome to inform the truth nevertheless I will definitely come again again.

  11. Anonymous

    July 14, 2015
    12:26 a.m.

    It’s actually a cool and useful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Anonymous

    July 14, 2015
    1:49 a.m.

    Way cool, some valid points! I appreciate you making this article available, the rest of the site is also high quality. Have a fun.

  13. Anonymous

    July 17, 2015
    5:47 a.m.

    As I website possessor I believe the content matter here is rattling great , appreciate it for your efforts. You should keep it up forever! Good Luck.

  14. Anonymous

    July 17, 2015
    7:02 a.m.

    After study a few of the blog posts on your website now, and I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Pls check out my web site as well and let me know what you think.

  15. Anonymous

    July 18, 2015
    2:59 a.m.

    I was just searching for this information for a while. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your site. I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this kind of informative websites in top of the list. Generally the top web sites are full of garbage.\U0027s_Low_Cost_Auto_Insurance_Services

  16. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    3 p.m.

    Wow, incredible blog format! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for? you make running a blog glance easy. The whole glance of your website is excellent, let alone the content material!

  17. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    8:06 p.m.

    I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn plenty of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  18. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    6:26 a.m.

    Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

  19. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    9:58 a.m.

    Hi there, I found your blog via Google while searching for a related topic, your site came up, it looks great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  20. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    4:04 p.m.

    Well I sincerely enjoyed reading it. This information procured by you is very constructive for good planning.

  21. Anonymous

    July 30, 2015
    5:16 p.m.

    Merely wanna remark that you have a very nice website , I love the design it really stands out.

  22. Anonymous

    July 31, 2015
    2:59 p.m.

    I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

  23. Anonymous

    Aug. 2, 2015
    10:53 a.m.

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

  24. Anonymous

    Aug. 3, 2015
    10:07 a.m.

    Utterly pent subject matter, Really enjoyed examining.

  25. Anonymous

    Aug. 4, 2015
    6:55 p.m.

    Yay google is my world beater aided me to find this outstanding web site! .

  26. Anonymous

    Aug. 7, 2015
    1:47 p.m.

    Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  27. Anonymous

    Aug. 10, 2015
    4:02 a.m.

    Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any help is very much appreciated.

  28. Anonymous

    Aug. 10, 2015
    1:55 p.m.

    You are a very capable individual!

  29. Anonymous

    Aug. 11, 2015
    5:09 a.m.

  30. Anonymous

    Aug. 11, 2015
    12:11 p.m.

    As soon as I noticed this internet site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  31. Anonymous

    Aug. 12, 2015
    3:10 p.m.

  32. Anonymous

    Aug. 23, 2015
    8:54 p.m.

    I simply could not leave your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual info a person provide for your visitors? Is gonna be again continuously in order to investigate cross-check new posts.

  33. Anonymous

    Aug. 24, 2015
    2:34 a.m.

    great post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You should continue your writing. I am sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  34. Anonymous

    Aug. 24, 2015
    2:19 p.m.

    Good site! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

  35. Anonymous

    Aug. 25, 2015
    9:32 a.m.

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  36. Anonymous

    Aug. 25, 2015
    10:16 p.m.

    This web page is really a walk-by way of for the entire information you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and also you’ll positively discover it.

  37. Anonymous

    Aug. 26, 2015
    12:43 p.m.

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  38. Anonymous

    Aug. 28, 2015
    1:40 a.m.

  39. Anonymous

    Aug. 29, 2015
    7:10 p.m.

    Hello my friend! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include approximately all important infos. I would like to look extra posts like this .

  40. Anonymous

    Sept. 1, 2015
    8:47 p.m.

    This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely discover it.

  41. Anonymous

    Sept. 3, 2015
    1:30 a.m.

    Definitely, what a great website and enlightening posts, I will bookmark your site.Have an awsome day!

  42. desene animate

    Sept. 4, 2015
    5:15 p.m.

    Wow! This could be one particular of the most beneficial blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Wonderful. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.

  43. Anonymous

    Sept. 12, 2015
    8:29 p.m.

    Enjoyed looking through this, very good stuff, thankyou.

  44. Anonymous

    Sept. 17, 2015
    5:47 p.m.

    Super-Duper website! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am bookmarking your feeds also.

  45. Anonymous

    Sept. 21, 2015
    1:43 p.m.

    I am so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

  46. Anonymous

    Sept. 26, 2015
    7:46 a.m.

    I needed to post you one little bit of observation to give many thanks as before on the striking ideas you have shared here. This has been really shockingly generous with people like you to deliver without restraint just what numerous people could have supplied as an ebook in making some profit on their own, most notably given that you could possibly have tried it in case you decided. These pointers as well served to be the great way to be certain that many people have the same dream just as mine to grasp significantly more with respect to this problem. I know there are thousands of more pleasurable moments ahead for people who discover your site.

  47. Anonymous

    Sept. 27, 2015
    1:48 a.m.

    hi!,I love your writing so so much! percentage we be in contact extra about your post on AOL? I need an expert in this space to solve my problem. May be that is you! Having a look forward to peer you.

  48. Nichole Heron

    Sept. 28, 2015
    5:30 p.m.

    This article is very unearthly, just what i am currently looking for to study on my time out. Thanks

  49. Anonymous

    Oct. 2, 2015
    12:15 p.m.

    hacia Aquel Malaga agitana Ese timbiriche infalible, Un antropómetra se descorazona Este estropicio romántico. Cuanto Malaga se aconcha Este agente activo

  50. Anonymous

    Oct. 4, 2015
    3:32 a.m.

    Hello.This post was extremely interesting, particularly since I was searching for thoughts on this topic last Monday.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...