Who is James Comey

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(CNN) FBI Director James Comey’s announcement two days ago that he would not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton following an investigation into her use of a personal email system earned him an invite to Capitol Hill on Thursday, where he testified for nearly five hours before the Republican led House Oversight Committee.

The decision by Comey and, a day later, the Justice Department, not to pursue a criminal case against the presumptive Democratic nominee has thrust the career prosecutor into the bubbling cauldron of the 2016 presidential contest. But this isn’t the FBI chief’s first time in the headlines.

Here are seven things to know about Comey:

He opposed Bush White House officials in a dramatic standoff

Comey came into national prominence in 2007 when, during testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he told the story of a tense standoff over a federal domestic surveillance program with top officials from the administration of President George W. Bush.

The incident took place in the evening of March 10, 2004, according to Comey’s account, with then Attorney General John Ashcroft ill and incapacitated in a hospital intensive care unit. attorney general) and Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card had raced to Ashcroft’s side in an effort to have him sign off on an extension to the wiretapping program, which Justice Department attorneys had deemed illegal. The weakened Ashcroft managed to make clear his refusal and Gonzales and Card left the room with Comey, then Ashcroft’s top deputy, watching on without a word.

He prosecuted Martha Stewart

When lifestyle guru Martha Stewart was indicted in 2003 on a series of charges connected to a dodgy 2000 stock deal, it was Comey who brought the charges. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a press conference. ”Martha Stewart is being prosecuted not for who she is, but because of what she did.”

Stewart was convicted on all counts in 2004 and sentenced to five months in prison. She served her time and was released in March 2005.

This was not his first time investigating the Clintons

Nor his second. The email server probe marked the third time Comey has investigated Bill or Hillary Clinton.

His first run in came in the mid 1990s, when he joined the Senate Whitewater Committee as a deputy special counsel. There he dug into allegations that the Clintons took part in a fraud connected to a Arkansas real estate venture gone bust. No charges were ever brought against either Clinton, but the scandal would eventually lead to independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s probe that would result in the Lewinsky scandal.

In 2002, Comey, then a federal prosecutor, took over an investigation into President Bill Clinton’s 2001 pardon of financier Marc Rich, who had been indicted on a laundry list of charges before fleeing the country. The decision set off a political firestorm focused on accusations that Rich’s ex wife Denise made donations to the Democratic Party, the Clinton Library and Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign as part of a plan to get Rich off the hook. Comey ultimately decided not to pursue the case.

The kicker: Comey himself had overseen Rich’s prosecution between 1987 and 1993.

He was locked up and held at gunpoint by a high profile serial criminal as a teen

Comey’s first brush with the law was a traumatizing one.

In October 1977, he and his younger brother were held captive in their home by the so called “Ramsey Rapist.” The armed man, who cops were hunting following a series of home invasions, had recently assaulted two babysitters in the area.

According to an account in the Bergen Record, the Comey brothers were held at gunpoint and locked in a bathroom inside their family’s Allendale, New Jersey, house. They escaped through a window but were confronted outside by the suspect before bolting back in and contacting police.

He was overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate in 2013

Comey became the seventh FBI director when he was confirmed by the Senate on July 29, 2013, by a 93 1 count, with Sen. Rand Paul the lone holdout. The Kentucky Republican had threatened to block Comey’s nomination, but relented and allowed a vote after being further briefed on FBI drone surveillance policy.

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