The former director of the FBI seeks a pound of revenge in a combined memoir and defense of the values of an independent Department of Justice.
Before heading the FBI, Comey was a U.S. attorney, a defense attorney in private practice, and a federal prosecutor. Much of this book, a fairly unremarkable follow-up to A Higher Loyalty (2018), centers on the juicier cases he pursued. In pre–9/11 New York, he took a special interest in the Mafia, going after members of the Gambino family. Of Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, Comey writes, “The guy may have killed nineteen people and devoted his life to a savage criminal organization, but…Gravano’s guilty plea and cooperation meant the feds were finally going to get [John] Gotti.” The cops-and-robbers stuff is all well and good, but the meat of the book concerns more recent matters. Comey has nothing good to say about Donald Trump, who demanded his fealty and, when not granted it, fired him. Trump, writes the author, “lied more often and about more things than any leader in our history, but he and his followers also did something profoundly dangerous: they attacked the idea that truth exists.” Comey spares no scorn for William Barr (“How could an accomplished lawyer start channeling the president in using words like ‘no collusion’ and FBI ‘spying’?”), assails Robert Mueller for a too-long, too-vague report on Trump’s Russian collusion that “left his work susceptible to cynical distortion,” and defends his choice to reveal the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails that helped land Trump the White House: “Even in hindsight,” he writes wanly, “I believe it was the best thing for the FBI and for the Department of Justice”—institutions that, he concludes, must be rebuilt and kept free of political interference.
A middling political memoir that may appeal to die-hard anti-Trumpers.
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 240
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020