There is a growing consensus that FBI Director James Comey has wielded the powers of his office more aggressively than anyone since J. Edgar Hoover, who died in 1972, to the consternation, and even anger, of some of his colleagues, says Politico. Comey has injected his views into executive branch deliberations on issues such as sentencing reform and the roots of violence against police officers. He has undermined key presidential priorities such as crafting a coherent federal policy on cybersecurity and encryption. He shattered longstanding precedent by publicly offering his own conclusions about the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email.
Politico says it would be difficult to argue that Comey is the next Hoover, in terms of temperament, manner, or motivation. Still, increasing numbers of critics believe he has displayed a worrying disregard for the norms that usually have constrained his predecessors, “straying with blithe confidence and with increasing regularity across the fine line that separates independence from unaccountability.” The consensus is that the next president will find Comey just as untouchable as Hoover once was, and perhaps nearly as troublesome. “[Comey] is totally acting inappropriately,” says criminal defense attorney Nick Akerman, a former U.S. attorney and special assistant Watergate prosecutor. “There’s no question about it.”