In This Review

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership
By James Comey
Flatiron Books, 2018
312 pp.

It is hard to know who hates Comey, the former fbi director, more: partisans of the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who blame her defeat in the 2016 presidential election on Comey’s decision to announce the reopening of an FBI investigation into her conduct days before the vote, or supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump, who see the former FBI director as part of a sinister “deep state” conspiracy against the Trump administration. In Comey’s own telling, he was an honest but unlucky man of old-fashioned principles who was forced to make fast decisions in a hyperpartisan atmosphere. Yet those principles were of little help in the wild world of Washington, where, based on Comey’s evidence, both Democrats and Republicans engaged in grave misconduct. Obama administration officials pressured him to downplay the seriousness of the FBI's investigation into Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server. Later, Comey had a one-on-one dinner with Trump that he describes as akin to an evening with a creepily insistent Mafia don. Throughout, Comey seems to have been out of his depth. But in times like these, many people struggle to keep their feet.

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