Epps: History will sternly judge ‘formerly respected’ FBI chief

Professor Garrett Epps

Professor Garrett Epps

Professor Garrett Epps writes in a Nov. 1 Atlantic column that history is unlikely to be kind to James Comey, “the formerly respected” director of the FBI.

Comey’s “maladroit” handling of a cache of emails that might – or might not — contain messages to or from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “threatens to change American history,” said Epps, a regular contributor to the magazine.

“A few weeks ago, I wrote that the rise of Trump is a sign that the Constitution is ‘gravely, perhaps terminally, ill,’” Epps said in “Comey’s Actions Are Just the Latest Symptoms of Trumpism.”

“I underestimated how far the rot has spread and how hard it will be to cure. A constitution is not simply a collection of words, or even a set of rules; it is a complex focus of text, history, values, and institutions,” Epps wrote. “And as the nation forsakes the values and devalues the history, the institutions — for all their marble majesty — are hollowing out. The Comey episode is but the latest symptom of a seriously ailing civic culture.”

Saying he had always considered Comey an “admirable figure,” Epps writes that the FBI director’s email announcement “seems not to have been a partisan maneuver so much as an extraordinary lapse in judgment inspired, in large part, by fear of being destroyed by partisan bullies on Capitol Hill.”

That is, Comey’s actions indicate “the collapse of a responsible official under pressure.”

Read the story here.

Learn more about Professor Epps.

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