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comey day

Professor: Comey 'may now be the most influential FBI director' since Hoover

Over the past year, former FBI Director James Comey has been making headlines for everything from his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server to his explosive firing to his highly-anticipated testimony Thursday in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

His omnipresence is making a major impact, David Menefee-Libey, professor of politics at Pomona College, told The Week Thursday. "James Comey may now be the most influential FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover," he said. "Despite never having run for office, Comey has asserted a massive role for himself as an arbiter of who is an acceptable leader of the U.S. government. His intervention last year may have kept Hillary Clinton out of the White House, and his intervention this year has deeply undermined Donald Trump's presidency."

Menefee-Libey doesn't expect the hearing will change many minds, saying, "Most Americans are fairly locked into their views about President Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress, and will find ways to assimilate what they heard today without breaking those locks." While a majority of Americans might not be swayed by what they heard, it doesn't mean the testimony wasn't powerful. "The substance of Comey's public testimony today — who knows what he said in the closed session — was striking enough to press the Senate Intelligence Committee to continue its work," Menefee-Libey said. "This Russia investigation may go on for months, or even years."