Obama and the FBI — Connect the Dots

A photograph of President Obama with current and future FBI directors is neither ominous nor revealing.

  • Published 3 June 2018


A revealing photograph shows President Obama with current and future FBI directors.



A picture of two men walking with President Obama hit social media during the Trump administration, overlaid with ominous text reading “A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS” and “CONNECT THE DOTS”:

The two men seen with former president Barack Obama here are both former directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller and his successor, James Comey.

Mueller, who was appointed by President George W. Bush left the Bureau when his term expired in 2013, and in May 2017 he was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to serve as special counsel for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), becoming head of the Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and related matters.

James Comey, who was appointed by President Obama, was dismissed as FBI director by President Donald Trump, ostensibly for his conduct during the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Trump’s critics contend the president dismissed Comey to stymie a potentially damaging FBI investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, while Trump supporters maintain Obama’s DOJ colluded with Comey’s FBI to surveil members of the Trump campaign.

But whatever one might make of the current relationship and connections between Obama, Trump, Mueller, and Comey, this picture offers no dots to connect: It’s just an innocuous news photograph taken in June 2013 (years before Donald Trump entered the 2016 presidential race), documenting the three men on their way to a White House news conference at which President Obama announced his nomination of James Comey to succeed outgoing director Robert Mueller as head of the FBI.

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