Matt Miller argues that the DOJ's IG report completely lacks context when it says Comey was at fault for breaking policy, even though he was ultimately cleared of more serious charges.
August 29, 2019

At least Matt Miller is still refusing to normalize this administration in any way.

This morning, the Department of Justice's IG released its report on their investigation into how former FBI Director Comey handled the memos he'd written after Trump behaved in ways that were extremely alarming. It concluded that Comey had violated DOJ policies, but was not going to prosecute him. Talking heads and such were pontificating about whether or not this was a good decision, and parsing the meaning of the memo they'd only just received not 30 minutes prior.

Matt Miller, Justice and Security Analyst with MSNBC called into Hallie Jackson's show to provide the counterpoint to the others, who'd been treating the Inspector General's report on Comey like it was just another investigation into just another rules violation. Doing his level best to shake us out of complacency, and out of our outrage fatigue, he reminded everyone that Trump was, in fact, behaving like a tin-pot dictator, and that Comey was doing what he needed to do to ring the alarm bells for the American people. This was NOT NORMAL, people. Jackson asked him about the decision not to prosecute, and one could almost hear him seething, "Of COURSE they didn't prosecute - no LAWS were violated, for Christ's sake!" Okay, that's not an actual quote, but basically, that's the gist.

MILLER: I think, look, obviously they declined to prosecute him because there was no violation of law. It's not a violation of law to violate FBI or DOJ policy. That may be against the rules of the department, but that's very different from being a criminal act. I think that conclusion by the Inspector General that he did violate FBI rules, while probably technically true on its face, it just so misses the context of the time. It's so devoid of context of what happened, that Comey was responding to, it really feels to me that the IG has missed the mark. I mean you have to go back and remember that when Comey took this step, the president of the United States had asked him to back off an investigation into the National Security Adviser. He'd asked him for loyalty. When Comey didn't do any of those things, the president fired him, and then went on television and said that he fired him to help end the Russia investigation. The idea that Comey was supposed to, I don't know, take this up with the Inspector General, rather than alert the American public, and try to get a special counsel appointed seems to me like a complete miss of any real context of what was happening in the real world by the Inspector General.

JACKSON: You make the analogy...that this is like slapping someone on the wrist for racing to save a burning village. Explain that.

MILLER: Yeah, well, what I said was it's like faulting someone for speeding when they were coming to alert the village that a fire is coming. Look, the president of the United States was launching an assault on the Department of Justice. He was trying to turn the Department of Justice into his independent law enforcement arm and kill an investigation into his campaign — an investigation that essentially involved himself. And, yes, Jim Comey violated a department rule at the time, but he did so as a whistleblower. And a whistleblower blowing on the whistle on some of the most disturbing conduct you could imagine by a president of the United States. So the idea that it's important AT ALL that he violated these department rules just seems to me very short-sighted and reflects a very narrowly-scoped view of the world by the bureaucrats in the Inspector General's office.

Thank you, Matt Miller. Everyone else, take note. This is not your usual, run-of-the-mill IG report about someone who violated a DOJ rule. This is the person who is supposed to protect our democracy from attacks (Comey,) doing all he could to protect our democracy from one of the hugest threats of all coming from the most dangerous place (inside the house, as it were) and person in position to carry it out (Trump.) This was a master class in "Not Normalizing."

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