James Comey thought he had a year. That’s the amount of time it was likely going to take the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General to probe Comey’s actions in handling the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. If President Donald Trump was looking for a pretext to fire the F.B.I. director, a critical inspector general’s report could presumably provide it. Next year.
Clearly, Comey underestimated Trump’s impatience—as well as the president’s pathological inability to allow anyone to question the legitimacy of his election, let alone keep pressing the investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible ties with Russia. Comey is now puttering in his yard in Northern Virginia. But the political and legal whirlwind that his firing has set in motion is just beginning to spin, with the White House and the F.B.I. subject to the greatest damage. Even pro-Trump agents are horrified and furious at how Comey was treated. “It shows us, the career people who care only about justice, that there is no justice at the top,” one agent says.