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Gayle King on Comey Movie: FBI Director ‘Cost Hillary the White House’



The journalists on CBS This Morning on Wednesday pressed actor Jeff Daniels about his role as James Comey in a new Showtime movie. Co-host Gayle King wondered if the former FBI Director was a “hero or a villain.” But if you think that’s about partisanship or Donald Trump, you’d be wrong. King was concerned about the treatment of Hillary Clinton. 

Daniels, a well known Hollywood liberal, said his initial response to Comey reopening the FBI investigation into Clinton’s e-mails in October of 2016 was this: “I was one of the people going, ‘What is he thinking?’” Co-host Anthony Mason wondered, “Having played the part, do you have a different appreciation of James Comey now?” 

Of course it was Democratic donor Gayle King who made the focus of the two part TV movie all about Clinton: “Back to Anthony’s question: a hero or villain? How did you see it? Many people he cost Hillary the White House.” 

 

 

Here’s what the MRC’s Tim Graham said about Comey in August: 

[James] Comey bragged to MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace in 2018 that he flouted the usual protocols for interviewing a top White House official. Usually, they contact the White House counsel and carefully arrange an interview. In this case, Comey ignored the protocols and sent in his agents, the ones scheming to “prosecute him or get him fired.” Comey aide Josh Campbell admitted in his own memoir that Comey said “we just decided, you know, screw it” to the normal procedures.

Think any of that came up on CBS? No, of course not. Again, the focus was on poor Hillary. To introduce the segment, the co-hosts played this clip of Daniels as Comey in The Comey Rule: 

Where’s that put the credibility of this institution? Another scenario —  Hillary’s just been elected. A Republican-controlled House is drafting bills of impeachment before she’s even sworn in. Now imagine we find something incriminating. We present those findings to House Judiciary. They ask us when we first found these emails, and we’ll be obliged to say that we learned of them a month before the election. The world will conclude that we actively concealed this from the American public in order to tip the election. Where does that leave the credibility of this institution? 

Daniels blamed the media and uninformed voters for being too hard on Clinton: 

But when they found nothing, it wasn’t as big a story. But by that point, the American voters had — that ship had sailed. They decided she was guilty. No one was paying attention. And you know what, “I —  I’ll elect Trump — I’ll vote for Trump, and I’ll get my taxes cut, and he’ll have ten people around him that will stop him from doing something dangerous.” Well, those ten people are gone. 

The propaganda on the CBS segment was sponsored by Home Advisor and Nissan. Click on the links to let them know what you think. 

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

CBS This Morning
9/23/2020
8:41:58 

GAYLE KING: Emmy award winner Jeff Daniels, love him, too, played TV anchor will McAvoy in The Newsroom. For his latest role, Daniel joins a different team. He plays former FBI Director James Comey in the new two-part series The Comey Rule, it’s called. Adapted from Comey’s best-selling book for Showtime, a division of Viacom CBS. And in this preview, Comey wonders about reopening an investigation of Hillary Clinton just before the 2016 presidential election. 

JEFF DANIELS AS JAMES COMEY: Where’s that put the credibility of this institution? Another scenario —  Hillary’s just been elected. A Republican-controlled House is drafting bills of impeachment before she’s even sworn in. Now imagine we find something incriminating. We present those findings to House Judiciary. They ask us when we first found these emails, and we’ll be obliged to say that we learned of them a month before the election. The world will conclude that we actively concealed this from the American public in order to tip the election. Where does that leave the credibility of this institution? 

KING: Oh, boy. Jeff Daniels, good morning to you, and welcome back to CBS This Morning. 

DANIELS: Morning, Gayle. 

KING: It was such a complicated story at the time. Did you follow it in real time at the time? 

DANIELS: Well, it was a kind of tsunami of events and incidents —  incidents that happened in that particular month. That certainly was one of them when in October when he reopened the investigation, I was one of the people going, “What is he thinking? Yeah. 

KING: Yeah, what is he — a lot of people were thinking what is he thinking. So what piqued your interest? You said, “I want to play this role.”  There were so many layers, so many people who had very strong opinions about Comey. Yay and nay. What were you thinking at the time? 

DANIELS: You know, you first think like an actor. You look at the role, and it was yet another complicated role. I’ve gotten a lot of those since Newsroom, which I’m blessed for. But I didn’t know how to do it. I looked at it going, oh, I’ll —  you know, I didn’t say, oh, I’ll do what I did in Newsroom or do what I did — no. It was like, “I don’t know how to do this,” so I said yes. Which is —  at this age, that’s what keeps me interested is the risk of failure and the challenge of it all. 

KING: What’s interesting, too, is that Comey didn’t really play a part — he wasn’t involved in the production, but he did come to the set. And he came to the set on a day where you guys were shooting that very crucial dinner scene. I’m wondering what that was like for you, a, playing the dinner scene —  Brendan Gleeson is knockout. It’s eerie how much he imitates Trump’s mannerisms.

ANTHONY MASON: Having played the part, do you have a different appreciation of James Comey now? 

DANIELS: I know more. I know what he was thinking, now you know what he was thinking. The movie is all about what Jim was thinking, and the thought process he went into each decision. And each decision I found out was between a rock and a hard place. There were no easy decisions. I came out more informed, which I think would be a good thing for everyone going into this election. 

KING: Yeah. I think so, too, Jeff. Even the scenes where he’s at home with his wife and his daughters who seemed to disagree with his decision. Did you come out —  back to Anthony’s question — a hero or villain? How did you see it? Many people he cost Hillary the White House. 

DANIELS: Yeah. I think that he had an impact. I think there are other elements of that. I think the Russians certainly had something to do with that. Just ask, you know, people like James Clapper. But it’s also the media. You know, when that came out that Chaffetz had leaked the letter prior to Giuliani going ahead to leak it himself with Wikileaks and the 33,000 emails and all that,  the media jumped on it. That was red meat. But when they found nothing, it wasn’t as big a story. But by that point, the American voters had — that ship had sailed. They decided she was guilty. No one was paying attention. And you know what, “I —  I’ll elect Trump — I’ll vote for Trump, and I’ll get my taxes cut, and he’ll have ten people around him that will stop him from doing something dangerous.” Well, those ten people are gone. 



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