In the months since we watched FBI Director James Comey successfully rig the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, the presumption was that Comey would go on to protect Trump from any criminal investigation once he was in the White House. But over the past week we’ve learned definitively that things are not playing out in that manner at all. Instead, as FBI agents circle Donald Trump like sharks and close in on taking him down, Comey has lost control entirely.
Consider the evidence. We now know that FBI agents questioned National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in late January about his post-election phone calls to Russia. We also know that Flynn lied to those agents, a felony. And we know that the FBI has been investigating Flynn and three other Trump campaign advisors for having colluded by phone with Russian intel agents during the election. We know this because the FBI keeps leaking as much to major news outlets.
Yet at the same time, the FBI is also leaking the claim that it won’t be charging Flynn with any crimes. This stands in direct conflict with the near-simultaneous leak that Flynn lied to FBI agents, because no one gets away with not being charged for that, or leveraged to flip on a bigger fish. So what’s going on?
It’s now clear that there are (at least) two warring factions within the FBI. One is actively working to take down Trump on the Russia scandal, and is leaking the evidence as it goes, so as to make sure it sees the light of day. The other faction is trying to protect Trump by leaking disinformation. This is nothing new; in fact, before the election, this same faction was likely behind the (false) leak that the Trump-Russia investigation hadn’t turned anything up — which came just days after the anti-Trump faction had leaked the existence of the investigation. And it appears James Comey doesn’t have control over either faction.
If Comey were still in control of the FBI, the agency would be speaking with one voice. Even if it did use media leaks to bypass Trump’s White House, those leaks would all agree with each other. Instead, we have strategically conflicting leaks from the two competing factions. But it’s clear that, wherever Comey personally stands at this point, he lacks the ability or gumption to stand in the way of the anti-Trump faction’s heightening investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal. And that means Trump will be taken down.