The New Yorker:

“I don’t know whether folks notice this, but, in Washington, Democrats tend to wear blue—men tend to wear blue ties. Republicans tend to wear red ties,” James Comey, the former director of the F.B.I., told George Stephanopoulos in an interview, sections of which were aired on “20/20,” on Sunday night (ABC News posted other clips and a full transcript online). Comey, whose six-feet-eight-inch frame seemed folded into his chair, didn’t wear any tie for the interview. Stephanopoulos had just asked Comey about how he’d decided what to put on for the press conference on July 5, 2016, when he announced that there would be no criminal charges against Hillary Clinton related to her private e-mail server. “I chose a gold tie that morning, ’cause I didn’t want to wear either of the normal gang colors,” he said.

The phrase “gang colors” might be an example of what Comey referred to elsewhere in the interview as “gallows humor.” He mentioned the term to describe why he smiled and made a joke when a deputy told him that the decision of whether or not to prosecute Clinton left him “totally screwed”—meaning that neither political party would be happy. But this reaction also reveals something about Comey’s essential, and essentially disdainful, view of politics. His well-earned sense of horror at Donald Trump is only one example of this disdain; a theme of his statements in the interview was that the F.B.I. must be seen as trustworthy at all costs, because there’s not much chance that politicians will be. That is a depressing and, to borrow another of Comey’s words, “dangerous” notion for a democracy. In Trump’s case, however, Comey does not seem to see the “gang” designation as a metaphor. From the moment he met him, during a visit to Trump Tower shortly after the election, Comey had a “flashback,” he told Stephanopoulos, to his days chasing the Mafia as a prosecutor in the Southern District of New York.

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