New York Times:
Mr. Comey’s plan was to tell Congress that the F.B.I. had received new evidence and was reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton, the presidential front-runner. The move would violate the policies of an agency that does not reveal its investigations or do anything that may influence an election. But Mr. Comey had declared the case closed, and he believed he was obligated to tell Congress that had changed.
“Should you consider what you’re about to do may help elect Donald Trump president?” an adviser asked him, Mr. Comey recalled recently at a closed meeting with F.B.I. agents.
He could not let politics affect his decision, he replied. “If we ever start considering who might be affected, and in what way, by what we do, we’re done,” he told the agents.
But with polls showing Mrs. Clinton holding a comfortable lead, Mr. Comey ended up plunging the F.B.I. into the molten center of a bitter election. Fearing the backlash that would come if it were revealed after the election that the F.B.I. had been investigating the next president and had kept it a secret, Mr. Comey sent a letter informing Congress that the case was reopened.
What he did not say was that the F.B.I. was also investigating the campaign of Donald J. Trump. Just weeks before, Mr. Comey had declined to answer a question from Congress about whether there was such an investigation. Only in March, long after the election, did Mr. Comey confirm that there was one.
So why did Comey break a long standing guideline by revealing the reopened investigation into Clinton, while keeping quiet about the investigation concerning Trump's ties to Russia?
An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with more than 30 current and former law enforcement, congressional and other government officials, found that while partisanship was not a factor in Mr. Comey’s approach to the two investigations, he handled them in starkly different ways. In the case of Mrs. Clinton, he rewrote the script, partly based on the F.B.I.’s expectation that she would win and fearing the bureau would be accused of helping her. In the case of Mr. Trump, he conducted the investigation by the book, with the F.B.I.’s traditional secrecy.
In other words Comey believed, like all of us believed, that Hillary was certain to win the election, and that once she did, and the fact that he remained quiet about the newly discovered emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop was revealed, that he would face criticism for keeping the information to himself.
But why should he care about that?
Because he himself was already deeply suspicious of Hillary Clinton and his own supervisors in the Justice Department.
The Times found that this go-it-alone strategy was shaped by his distrust of senior officials at the Justice Department, who he and other F.B.I. officials felt had provided Mrs. Clinton with political cover. The distrust extended to his boss, Loretta E. Lynch, the attorney general, who Mr. Comey believed had subtly helped play down the Clinton investigation.
This suggests that though Comey admitted in his statement back in July that there was no evidence Hillary broke the law, that he still felt she was guilty and perhaps undeserving to be the Commander-in-Chief.
Which does little to convince me that Comey was not at least somewhat aware that his letter to the Congress would upend the election, stealing it away from Hillary and allowing Donald Trump to emerge victorious.
There is actually a lot more in this article about the Russian hacking, and the subsequent leaks, and how all of that informed some of Comey, and the Obama Administration, decisions, and it makes for an interesting read.
This can be found toward the end of the article:
For all the attention on Mrs. Clinton’s emails, history is likely to see Russian influence as the more significant story of the 2016 election. Questions about Russian meddling and possible collusion have marred Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in the White House, cost him his national security adviser and triggered two congressional investigations. Despite Mr. Trump’s assertions that “Russia is fake news,” the White House has been unable to escape its shadow.
Mr. Comey has told friends that he has no regrets, about either the July news conference or the October letter or his handling of the Russia investigation. Confidants like Mr. Richman say he was constrained by circumstance while “navigating waters in which every move has political consequences.”
But officials and others close to him also acknowledge that Mr. Comey has been changed by the tumultuous year.
I am simply not going to be able to see James Comey as a sympathetic figure, his decisions had devastating consequences, and I do not see a clear path forward for redemption.
Perhaps however Comey is at least consumed enough by regret, whether he admits it or not, to vigorously investigate those ties between Donald Trump and his Russian benefactors until he has enough proof to end this presidency and perhaps even send several of these traitors to prison.
That may not be redemption, but it would be something at least.