Like the president who fired him, former FBI Director James Comey made news with a tweet this past weekend. Unlike Trump, Comey didn’t do it by attacking people or claiming credit for the work of others (the upcoming release of the JFK assassination records Trump has been boasting about is mandated by a law signed in 1992). Instead, Comey published a tweet on Sunday featuring a photo of himself standing in the middle of a road, which was his way finally confirming his Twitter handle is Reinhold Niebuhr (@FormerBu). The tweet came from Iowa.
Goodbye Iowa. On the road home. Gotta get back to writing. Will try to tweet in useful ways. pic.twitter.com/DCbu3Yvqt3
— Reinhold Niebuhr (@FormerBu) October 23, 2017
It was one of three tweets Comey sent from Iowa during a brief visit to the state, and it ended months of speculation as to whether that Twitter account is his. In March, journalist Ashley Feinberg published a long, detailed article explaining why the account almost certainly belonged to Comey, but Comey had not publicly acknowledged having a Twitter account.
Comey has an obvious connection to his nom de Twitter. In college, Comey wrote his senior thesis on Reinhold Niebuhr, an influential 20th century American theologian and social thinker. He also has an obvious connection to Iowa. His wife, Patrice, is a native of the state.
But if Comey was hoping for a weekend escape from scandals involving an unjust firing — his May 9 firing is one the central issues in Independent Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation of the Trump Administration — Iowa may not have been the best choice.
Ed Failor Jr., Comey’s brother-in-law, is a senior staff member working for the Iowa State Senate Republican Caucus. Failor was a senior advisor to Sen. Majority Leader Bill Dix, when Dix fired another caucus staffer, Kirsten Anderson, after she complained about sexual harassment and racist statements made by Senate Republican staffers. At the time, Failor denied Anderson’s complaints had anything to do with her firing, telling WHO-TV, “She [Anderson] was terminated for cause, which has to do with her work product, which had been brought to her attention months ago. And it didn’t improve.”
Anderson eventually sued, and in July, a jury decided she had been wrongfully terminated and awarded her $2.2 million in damages.
The Des Moines Register contacted Failor to ask if Comey had visited him over the weekend, but Failor would neither confirm nor deny seeing Comey. But the general manager of 801 Chophouse in downtown Des Moines told the Register that Comey had attended a birthday party for Ed Failor Sr., his father-in-law, held at the restaurant on Saturday.