Hillary Clinton disagrees with Donald Trump over nearly everything except, at least initially, his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.
That’s according to an excerpt from a new book by Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief at The Intercept. We’ve Got People: From Jesse Jackson to AOC, the End of Big Money and the Rise of a Movement was officially released on Tuesday, and though it traces the rise of progressive politics in the modern Democratic Party, there are notable reporting vignettes sprinkled throughout.
That includes details about Clinton’s initial reaction to Trump’s firing of Comey in early 2017. In the aftermath of that decision, the former Democratic nominee, Grim reports, was “ecstatic” and had to be talked out of applauding it publicly.
Clinton’s instinctive response was driven by what she felt was Comey’s out-of-line treatment of her presidential candidacy. Just days before the 2016 presidential election, the then-FBI director announced that he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server after earlier that year declaring her conduct was “extremely careless.” Both moves infuriated Democrats, with some insisting the late-campaign announcement threw the election to Trump.
Months later, Trump fired Comey. And prior to then, the White House had DOJ officials put together a memo to assess Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation, which the president subsequently used to justify the firing.
When the news broke, Clinton was at her home in Chappaqua, New York, and, according to Grim’s book, felt vindication.
“She had spent the winter and spring poring over survey and turnout data, calling friends and former aides relentlessly, analyzing and re-analyzing,” Grim writes. “It was, her friends believed, both part of her grieving process, but also holding her back from moving on. When she learned that Comey had been fired by Trump, she was ecstatic. Comey had finally gotten what he had coming.”
Grim interviewed Brian Fallon, one of Clinton’s top campaign advisers and her former spokesperson, who suggested there was an initial sense of confusion over how the team should address the news.
“In the immediate aftermath, people weren’t sure how to respond,” Fallon said. “There were people who started buying into Trump’s rationale.”
Former Clinton senior adviser Nick Merrill did not return a request for comment.
Clinton’s euphoria reportedly did not last long. She was “ultimately dissuaded by advisers from issuing a statement applauding the move,” Grim writes.