As Attorney General Bill Barr testifies before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee today, former FBI Director James Comey took to the pages of the New York Times to slam the President and his various toadies who have compromised themselves in order to do his bidding.
In his scathing piece, the former FBI Director took aim at his former deputy, Rod Rosenstein, and Justice Department colleague Bill Barr, and condemned them for having their “amoral” characters exposed by Donald Trump, a uniquely amoral leader who brings out the very worst in those around him.
“What happened to these people…Proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like [former Defense Secretary James] Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites” writes Comey.
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The former FBI director describes in detail how the entire process of Trump’s corrupting influence works, beginning with the acceptance of the barrage of little lies that constantly fly from his ever-flapping mouth, making you complicit in his abuse of reality in order to try to do your job.
“Speaking rapid-fire with no spot for others to jump into the conversation, Mr. Trump makes everyone a co-conspirator to his preferred set of facts, or delusions. I have felt it — this president building with his words a web of alternative reality and busily wrapping it around all of us in the room.”
Comey then describes how the president moves on to attack the institutions that they ostensibly hold dear, but continue to remain silent out of a place of duty to try to protect those institutions and values — but that represents the final nail in your coffin, as he “eats your soul.”
You feel this happening. It bothers you, at least to some extent. But his outrageous conduct convinces you that you simply must stay, to preserve and protect the people and institutions and values you hold dear. Along with Republican members of Congress, you tell yourself you are too important for this nation to lose, especially now.
Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises. You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values.
And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.
Of course, this is all very easy for Comey to say, having been unceremoniously fired himself long before things got really out of hand in the Trump administration. He also could likely do with a little self-reflection, seeing as it was likely his decision to tell Congress he was re-opening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server that tilted the election in Trump’s favor. But his words do make a compelling case to try to explain how such prominent men have found themselves slavishly carrying water for the most amoral president our nation has ever seen.