In order to establish this logical progression,

A. Comey issued the letter

B. Comey’s issuance of the letter had a determinative electoral impact

C. Because of B, Comey is bad

You need to elucidate the assumptions undergirding “C.” I’ve still not seen that done anywhere.

Are you familiar with the Toulmin method? Using a compressed version, I can probably back into their (supposedly warranting) assumptions:

I. Comey is a high-level police officer.

II. High-level police officers are members of a group of people who are not allowed to use their office or official actions to affect the outcome of an election.

III. Comey’s official action (letter) affected the outcome of an election.

Therefore: Comey did something he wasn’t allowed to.

Now, let me deconstruct this argument. The key is the bolded part of item II: “use their office or official actions” (to affect the outcome of an election). Reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s “depends on what the meaning of is is”, the question revolves around the meaning of “use”. To “use” one’s office or official action(s) for an external agenda, one requires discretion. He needed to have the freedom to make a choice whether to perform those actions (prior to the election).

Comey had already made promises that if anything changed, he would notify certain people in Congress (fact, easily proven).

Things changed.

Therefore he had an obligation to notify (those people in) Congress.

This can’t fall into the definition of “use” because it wasn’t discretionary. He had a legal obligation in fulfillment of his official duties.

Obviously, the question comes up of whether he had the discretion to wait till after the election. This was information that arguably Congress, and the voters, were entitled to know before voting took place.

Comey made his decision over a balance of official obligations and duties. One could argue that he made the wrong decision, but making the wrong decision doesn’t mean “ Comey is bad”.

N.B. The claim that it’s beyond dispute that Comey was prohibited from notifying Congress is tantamount to saying that nothing is as important as prohibiting government officials from having a determinative electoral impact. In addition to being nonsense, such an argument would open wide the door(s) for tu quoque responses.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store