Washington is rarely as exciting as TV political dramas may make you think. It's much more a Kevin McCarthy/Barney Frank city than a Kevin Spacey/Frank Underwood city. But every now and then, something happens that television screenwriters would scoff at as being too far-fetched for reality. What happened to James Comey--the reported FBI director nominee and former George W. Bush acting attorney general--on March 10, 2004, at George Washington University Hospital fits that bill.
"This was a very memorable period in my life; probably the most difficult time in my entire professional life. And that night was probably the most difficult night of my professional life," the then-Deputy Attorney General Comey testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 15, 2007.
That night, as acting attorney general in place of the ill Attorney General John Ashcroft, Comey physically blocked White House Counsel (and future Bush Attorney General) Alberto Gonzales and then-Chief of Staff Andrew Card from persuading a bed-ridden Ashcroft to reauthorize the classified domestic surveillance program, which Comey and Ashcroft questioned the legality of. Comey did this with the help of FBI Director Robert Mueller, whom he now hopes to succeed.
Sound a bit unbelievable? Here's the video of Comey (uncomfortably) describing the episode, complete with a mad rush to the hospital and the surprising words from a very sick man, to Sen. Chuck Schumer and the Senate Judiciary Committee.