House Speaker Paul Ryan had some positive things to say about former FBI Director Jim Comey during an event Wednesday hosted by the news site Axios. Asked about a report that President Trump told two Russian officials Comey was “a nut job,” Ryan replied, “Yeah, I don’t agree with that. And he’s not.”
Ryan was asked a bit later what he thought of Jim Comey and replied, “I like Jim Comey.” He continued, “I know there are people who are, on both sides of the aisle, concerned about decisions he made. I think he was put into an impossible position.
“I think when Lynch went on that plane or Clinton went on her plane…I think that put him in an impossible position. I remember getting that letter from him, it’s like October 28th or something like that, I can’t remember the date…That one really kind of took me by surprise. And I remember thinking to myself, what an impossible, no-win position or decision he had to make.
“So I think the guy was forced into nearly impossible decisions. Understandably he was going to get criticized for making those decisions but I think he served his country ably.”
Ryan is referring to Comey’s letter announcing that he was continuing to investigate the Clinton email case. He sent the letter after emails were discovered on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, husband of Hillary aide Huma Abedin. Comey has been blamed by many, including Hillary Clinton, for swinging the election to Trump. Comey said he felt obligated to alert congress because he had previously testified that the investigation into the emails was over.
Given that the left blames Comey for Trump’s election victory, you might think the right would have some fondness for him. But much of that fondness evaporated last year when Comey announced he would not be bringing charges against Hillary Clinton for mishandling of classified material. The chants of “lock her up” which sometimes broke out during the campaign were aimed at Hillary but they were also at least partly a rebuke of Comey by people who thought he’d failed to do his job.
Ryan’s praise of Comey also won’t win him any points with Trump supporters. Comey supposedly kept memos on all of his interactions with Trump. Those memos are likely to become part of the three investigations into Russian influence now taking place on Capitol Hill. It will be interesting to see if Comey also kept memos on his interactions with Hillary Clinton and Loretta Lynch. The GOP has already requested to see all of those memos as well, if they exist.