From Clin­ton bug­bear to thorn in Trump’s side

New Straits Times - - World -

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.

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