Putin offers Comey asylum in Russia. Maybe he should take it

Is James Comey in the sort of trouble which could land him in jail? Not that I’m aware of. I only ask because generally the threat has to be pretty severe before someone decides to flee the country and seek asylum elsewhere. Comey hasn’t asked (again… at least not to my knowledge) but he’s got an offer on the table if he changes his mind. Vladimir Putin will find a spot for him in Russia. (The Guardian)

Vladimir Putin made a sarcastic offer of asylum to former FBI director James Comey on Thursday, during an attack on Comey’s claims of Russian interference in the US election.

“It sounds very strange when the head of the security services writes down a conversation with the commander-in-chief and then leaks it to the media through his friend,” said Putin. “How, in that case, does he differ from [Edward] Snowden?” the Russian president asked, referring to the NSA whistleblower who has been given political asylum in Russia.

“That means he is not the leader of the security services, but a human rights defender. And if he faces pressure, then we are happy to offer him political asylum too,” said Putin.

First of all, in terms of awarding points for style, allow me to agree with Jonah Goldberg at National Review. Trolling level: Grand Master.

Of course, the comparison to Snowden is a bit odd, isn’t it? That was a guy who was eagerly giving away massive amounts of sensitive data to the Russians (and probably the Chinese and God only knows who else) so he at least had some value. Comey was still in the process of accusing the Russians of hacking and at least some form of attempting to tamper with the American elections. It doesn’t sound all that much like a situation where the former FBI director would like to become a guest of Vlad’s.

Putin had his own accusations to lay out and they dealt with “United States interference in foreign elections.” This is a story we’re probably going to be hearing more and more about since it deals with NGOs in other parts of the world.

Putin accused the US of interfering in countries across the world by financing NGOs, and said many world leaders had complained about this to him but were scared of saying it publicly for fear of angering Washington.

“As for us, we have our opinion, we say it openly, but it’s not some kind of underground sabotage activity.”

It’s easy enough to brush off anything Putin has to say as more of his usual propaganda, but this foreign NGO question has come up before. Hungary is in the process of throwing out all of the NGOs financed by George Soros, claiming they are “meddling” in that country’s elections. In fact, just last week the country’s Prime Minister was comparing the billionaire’s operations there to the mafia and pushing a new law to eject them from the country entirely. But let’s be honest. You can make a case about how “dark money” (or in this case foreign money) influences elections, but that’s still a different flavor of “meddling” than actual hacking of voting machines or other related crimes.

Still, as I said, you can expect to hear a lot more of this in the future. If we agree that putting out advertising or any other form of TV, radio or print material on policy or politicians (whether it’s real or fake) is considered election tampering, then there’s a whole lot of tampering going on. I’m not trying to make Putin’s point here for him, but what’s good for the goose, as they say.