From Clinton bugbear to thorn in Trump’s side
WASHINGTON: As the powerful head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey lobbed one bombshell after another into American politics — until the politics came back to bite.
Dismissed by President Donald Trump in a shock announcement on Tuesday, less than halfway into his 10-year term, Comey played a deeply controversial role in the run-up to last year’s election — and beyond.
First, he hampered Hillary Clinton’s White House bid with a damning assessment of her email practices as secretary of state — reopening the case days before the vote in a move the Democrat says cost her the election.
When Trump decided to keep Comey — who was appointed by Barack Obama — in his job, it raised eyebrows from critics who saw it as a tacit reward for his role in damaging Clinton’s chances.
But the FBI chief had increasingly appeared to be a thorn in the president’s side.
Within months of the election, the 56-year-old was back in the national spotlight, this time taking aim at Trump, in a marathon hearing on Russia’s alleged election meddling.
He also flatly rejected Trump’s explosive claim that he was wiretapped by Obama.
In his post at the FBI since September 2013, the towering Comey — he stands 2m tall — is known as a skilled political operator.
Comey had set his sights firmly on the issue of Russia’s alleged election meddling, which has stalked Trump’s young presidency. And if there is one character trait the former FBI chief is known for, it is his tenacity.