There’s some speculation that James Comey moved up the release date of his highly anticipated memoir from May 1 to mid-April to get ahead of a possibly damning report due from the FBI inspector general about his (Comey’s) handling of the Clinton email server investigation. Via Politico:
The book could land at a complicated moment for Comey, as well. “A Higher Loyalty” was originally scheduled for release on May 1, but the publisher last month announced it was moving up the publishing date because of the “intense scrutiny” surrounding the FBI.
Comey detractors, however, have speculated that the change had more to do with spinning another major piece of Comey’s legacy: his handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email during the 2016 election, which he is also expected to detail in the memoir.
The FBI inspector general’s report reviewing allegations of misconduct by Comey in connection with the email probe is also expected to come out this spring. “It’s hard to believe it won’t be critical of how he handled things,” said [Matthew] Miller. “There is speculation that he moved up the publication date to get ahead of the report. In the book he will come off as the saint he thinks he is.”
Miller was DOJ spokesman during the Obama administration. His remark captures my ambivalence about / contempt for Comey. On the one hand, there’s credible evidence he threw the election to Trump with a grandstanding letter to Congress days before the race ended. On the other, no Comey, no Mueller investigation.
Will the book make a big splash? Miller speculates that it could drive public opinion and become a PR headache for the White House, but being up to their eyeballs in negative publicity is normal for Team Trump.
So, regardless of what Comey reveals in the book, his legacy will likely come down to this: Comey set the house on fire, but at least he notified the fire department on the way out the door. My father-in-law was an old-school fireman, and he used to joke that his department had “never lost a basement.” We’ll see if Mueller’s team is able to salvage more than that.