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A HIGHER LOY­ALTY, FOR­MER FBI DI­REC­TOR JAMES COMEY’S EX­PLO­SIVE MEM­OIR, LAYS BARE BRU­TAL ASIDES ABOUT TRUMP AND OTHER TRUTHS

The Gulf Today - Panorama - - Contents - By Alas­dair Lees

“Idon’t re­call see­ing him laugh, ever… his ap­par­ent in­abil­ity to do so … is re­ally very sad in a leader, and a lit­tle scary in a pres­i­dent,” writes James Comey, the FBI di­rec­tor fired by Don­ald Trump last May. In his damn­ing new mem­oir and broad­side against the pres­i­dent, he blasts him as a shabby Mafia don who, he thinks, quite pos­si­bly ca­vorted with pros­ti­tutes in a Moscow ho­tel suite in 2013.

The claims made in the book have en­raged the 45th in­cum­bent, who, in lurid So­pra­nos-speak, has branded Comey a ly­ing “slime­ball.”

A Higher Loy­alty is pep­pered with bitchy asides about Comey’s for­mer boss, whom he paints as an inse­cure ig­no­ra­mus baf­fled by words like “cal­lig­ra­pher” and who con­ducts im­por­tant White House re­cep­tions like an episode of The Price Is Right.

But Comey, is how­ever, as a A Higher Loy­alty demon­strates again and again, at heart a Chris­tian moral­ist, in­flu­enced by the­olo­gians such as Rein­hold Niebuhr. “I can be stub­born, pride­ful, over­con­fi­dent and driven by ego,” Comey ad­mits at the start of the book. A Higher Loy­alty is at once an earnest, ex­cul­pa­tory con­fes­sion — jus­ti­fy­ing his ac­tions in con­tro­ver­sies from tor­ture and sur­veil­lance pro­grammes un­der Ge­orge W Bush to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Hil­lary Clin­ton’s emails dur­ing the 2016 elec­tion — and a jeremiad against a na­tional leader “un­teth­ered to the truth.”

A lot de­pends, on read­ing the book, whether Comey’s ver­sions of var­i­ous events ring true. Mostly they do, and Comey emerges as a de­cent, wellmean­ing and thought­ful pub­lic ser­vant will­ing to re­flect on his mis­takes.

The at­tributes for eth­i­cal lead­er­ship he ad­vo­cates — hu­mil­ity, con­fi­dence, a will­ing­ness to lis­ten and more — are un­de­ni­able.

“For­est fires, as painful as they can be, bring growth,” he writes in the epi­logue. Bul­lied as a child, Comey is dis­gusted by the dreary capo di tutti capi who squats be­hind the Res­o­lute desk, an ab­surd sym­bol of a “dan­ger­ous” and “vi­cious” era.

If Comey is right, Trump’s reign might be re­duced to ashes sooner than we think.

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