What we’re losing in James Comey

From The New York Times and written by Benjamin Wittes —

By the time he was fired on Tuesday, James Comey was not a popular man. But it is not an accident that many people have quickly gone from braying for his blood to fretting about how our country will get along without him: Who will lead the F.B.I.? Who will stand up to President Trump? Whom can we count on to tell us the truth, without fear or favor, about the Trump campaign’s possible connections to Russia?

The reason for the sudden shift is not just horror at Mr. Trump’s behavior, though the thuggishness of the firing and its seeming connection to the Russia matter are horrifying. The other reason has to do with Mr. Comey himself, specifically with three characteristics that made him a most unusual figure in Washington. Put simply, we’re scared about losing — and we are already missing — the very things we hate about him.

First, Mr. Comey is without subtext. He’s the only truly subtextless man I’ve met working in senior levels of government in Washington. If you want to know why he’s doing something, you just ask him. He doesn’t lie.

Second, Mr. Comey has an unfailing instinct to fall on every grenade. This is a highly unusual trait in Washington, a town where lots of people dodge responsibility for everything.

Third, Mr. Comey is genuinely fixated on independence and doing the right thing.

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