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Friends & Friction: Justice is the art which gives good to friends...

May 14 2017 07:16
Muzi Kuzwayo

‘You’re fired!” is the quintessential Donald Trump bark, although he was more business-like this time when he fired the director of the FBI, James Comey.

No phone call, no forewarning.

Comey saw it on television while addressing his staff. As he was speaking, the TV screens in the background started flashing the news, and he thought it was a bad prank.

The letter confirming his “termination” came afterwards, and the reason that Trump cited was the way in which Comey handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Comey was leading the investigation into the Russian connection and, according to Vanity Fair columnist Keith Olbermann, at least 28 witnesses have been contacted for the investigation, and two separate grand juries have been or are in the process of being set up.

You do know James Comey.

He is your colleague without the sixth sense, who lives and breathes by the rule book. Everything in his life is neatly cut and packed. There are no aberrations.

He’ll debate you to death, and if you ever get to the crossroads, he’ll choose the road that makes sense to him, and doesn’t take the consequences into consideration.

His world is mechanical and the rules are applied equally and indiscriminately, regardless of the prevailing conditions.

Eleven days before the US elections, his staff tells him that there is new evidence to investigate Hillary Clinton, who is leading in the opinion polls.

Comey calls his team to debate the issue. A young attorney argues that this may alter the election result. You know his answer: We have to do what is right. He tells the Senate, the news leaks.

Trump shouts: “Lock her up!” Clinton’s lead dwindles. Comey later says there’s nothing there, but the trust is broken, and it can never be recovered. She loses.

Months later when Comey is questioned at congressional hearings about his timing of the announcement, he replies:

“It makes me mildly nauseous to think I may have affected the election.”

He continues to say that if he were to be put back in the same position, he would make the same decision.

No, he is not arrogant about it, only methodical. But you have to be in his shoes to understand his stance.

Comey argues that to hide the information that the FBI had reopened the case would have been worse.

It is only after the election that we realise that the man is not driven by malice, because he investigates Trump as well.

Comey himself acknowledges that he is working with different prosecutors on this matter.

Spoiler alert: Trump has already fired or forced at least 46 prosecutors to resign, all of whom were from president Barack Obama’s era.

Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who leaked classified information, supports Comey against Trump.

He tweeted: “The FBI director has sought for years to jail me on account of my political activities. If I can oppose his firing, so can you.”

President Donald Trump is mechanical in his megalomania. He has no regard for consequence, and there are many people like him who are colleagues, clients or bosses.

As far as they are concerned, the whole universe was created for their service.

As Plato wrote in The Republic:

“If, Socrates, we are to be guided at all by the analogy of the preceding instances, then justice is the art which gives good to friends and evil to enemies.”

It’s dirty business, this thing called democracy, and as South Africans we must start getting used to it.

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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