- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2018

As the publicity blitz for James Comey’s new book hits overdrive, mixed reaction has poured in from Capitol Hill, with some lawmakers defending the fired FBI director and others warning he could soon face criminal charges for writing his tell-all tale.

“A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership” paints a deeply unflattering portrait of President Trump, who fired Mr. Comey last May, and currently tops best-seller lists across the country.

With the men now battling to shape public perceptions, Mr. Trump has blasted out barrages of angry tweets denouncing the book while Mr. Comey has taken to America’s airwaves for a massive promotion push.

Some GOP lawmakers express scorn for Mr. Comey, linking him to the idea that “the Washington deep state” is actively conspiring to undermine Mr. Trump’s authority, according to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican.

Rep. Mark Meadows, who leads the Freedom Caucus, told The Washington Times he found the book troubling because it contradicts what the former FBI head told Congress during testimony last year.

“There will be a day of reckoning for Director Comey,” the North Carolina Republican said. “That day of reckoning will come when it is shown that what we are learning does not line up with what he has written.”

Senate Intelligence Committee member Susan Collins last year called Mr. Comey’s testimony before her panel “credible, candid and thorough” but she has also been highly critical of his judgment.

In fact, it was the Maine Republican’s question to Mr. Comey during the hearing that prompted him to tell the committee that he leaked memos recounting his interactions with Mr. Trump.

“He violated the FBI’s own guidelines’ with the leak, but didn’t break the law,” she told ABC.

While Ms. Collins doesn’t foresee jail time for the leak, she did say that at some point Mr. Comey “stopped making investigative judgments and began making political judgments.”

Mr. Comey has admitted his decision to reopen and make public the Hillary Clinton email investigation in the final weeks of the 2016 race was influenced by polls that showed the Democrat likely to win. Mrs. Clinton and her supporters have blamed him for costing her the election, while Mr. Trump has said that line of thinking proves Mr. Comey was angling for a job in a future Clinton administration.

Rep. Jim Himes, Connecticut Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, admitted that while Mr. Comey might have made an error of judgment with the email probe, it didn’t necessarily make him a “liar.”

“There’s a credible case to be made that he seriously affected the election, maybe even elected Donald Trump, but that doesn’t make him dishonest,” the Connecticut Democrat, recently told CNN.

Others Democrats, including House Oversight committee member Rep. Gerry Connolly, have cited Mr. Trump’s strong tweet reaction to the book. “Why would his tweets be so hysterical unless, maybe, Comey drew some blood telling the truth?” he said.

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