Ousted FBI Director James Comey has an interesting family: A wife who is a foster parent and Hillary Clinton supporter, a son who played college basketball, a brother who was once held hostage with him by a notorious criminal, and a father who detests Donald Trump.
Trump’s firing of Comey, and Comey’s expected June 7 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee have thrust the former FBI director even more into the national hot seat. He was already controversial, of course, for his decision to reveal to Congress that the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails again (that investigation resulted in no charges and accusations that Comey had shaped the direction of the election).
At Comey’s side through it all: A large and devoted family, including his wife, Patrice Failor. Who are the family members of Jim Comey?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. James Comey’s Wife, Patrice Failor, Was His College Sweetheart & Works on Juvenile Justice Issues
Comey’s wife, Patrice Failor, met him in college.
According to the Daily Press, both Patrice and James Comey went to William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia, and they met there in 1978 as freshmen. When he was nominated to be Barack Obama’s FBI Director in 2013, WestportNOW reported, Comey said of his wife, “Nearly everything I am and have done in my adult life is due to the great good fortune of marrying up.”
In 2011, the William and Mary Law School named Comey the Carter O. Lowance Fellow, one of the law school’s highest honors, the Daily Press said. The news site called the Comeys “a William and Mary family” and said that, in addition to attending the school, Patrice Comey worked in Student Affairs. James Comey graduated in the class of 1982.
Patrice has focused on juvenile justice issues. She wrote on Facebook in 2014, “I am a foster parent, have served as a guardian ad litem for foster kids and work with aging out foster kids in my community.”
The couple has a net worth of at least $11 million and a $3 million home in Connecticut.
In his interview with James Comey on April 15, 2018, George Stephanopoulos stated to Comey: “your wife, Patrice, Hillary Clinton supporter.”
James Comey responded, according to ABC’s transcript of the interview, “Oh yeah. And– and the– the– I didn’t take a poll among all the kids, but I’m pretty sure that at least my four daughters, probably all five of my kids, wanted Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president. I know my amazing spouse did. My)– my wife and girls marched in the women’s march the day after President Trump’s inauguration. There was a lotta passion in this house for Hillary Clinton. And I– I get that. But again, I hope it illustrates to people that I really wasn’t making decisions based on political fortunes.”
Patrice Failor confirmed that during the interview, saying she was “devastated” when Clinton lost. James Comey further revealed to ABC of his decisions over the Hillary Clinton email investigation, “she knew enough, Patrice, the pain that I was in that– and how hard these decisions were that I don’t think she spent a lotta time– I think she got actually where I was. I d– she didn’t spend– she expressed frustration.”
“She hated the fact that I had to make these decisions, and ’cause she loves me dearly, she hated the fact that I personally was stepping in front of the institutions to get shot repeatedly. She would say, “Look, I get what you’re doing. I get that you’re trying to protect the institutions.”
2. James Comey’s Father, J. Brien Comey, Generated News Headlines When He Called Trump ‘Crazy as a Hoot’
James Comey’s dad, J. Brien Comey, doesn’t mince words. He doesn’t like Donald Trump. At all.
Although his son has been circumspect in his public commentary on Trump (until now), the elder Comey went off on the president in news interviews.
Here’s a sampling of what the 86-year-old Comey, who still lives in the family’s New Jersey home where his son grew up, said about Trump to The Record and CNN:
“Jim tells the truth, (while) Trump runs around lying most of the day,” he said in one interview.
Comey also told CNN that Trump fired James Comey because Comey “didn’t give him 100% loyalty, and he demands that of people who work with him. [Comey] said he would give 100% honesty, but not loyalty.”
To CNN, he added, “Oh my God, I think he should be impeached immediately — yesterday. He’s a very incompetent guy. He’s out of his league. I think the man should be in a home quite honestly, he’s crazy as a hoot.”
To the Record, he said of the president, “I’m convinced that he’s nuts. I thought he belonged in an institution. He was crazy before he became president. Now he’s really crazy.”
All this despite the fact the elder Comey is a Republican who liked John Kasich. J. Brien Comey is a “retired real estate executive” who “was an Allendale councilman in the mid- and late-1980s,” reported The Record.
J. Brien Comey and his wife, Joan, had four children together: Patricia, James Comey, Peter Comey, and Christopher Comey. According to her obituary, Comey’s mother “was the first woman underwriter for Mutual of New York Ins. She then became a substitute teacher in the Allendale School System, followed by her career in computer education with the Girl Scouts of America.” Joan Comey died at age 79 in 2012.
3. Comey’s Son, Brien, Was a College Basketball Standout
James Comey and his son Brien share the same height in common. Both are extremely tall, standing 6 foot 8 inches.
Brien Comey played basketball for Kenyon College in Ohio.
Brien Comey was a senior in 2015-16, according to the college’s website. He averaged 12.5 points per game.
According to a profile of Brien Comey on Kenyon College’s website, he aspired to be a law enforcement officer, telling the school, “My dad was a federal prosecutor for most of my childhood, and he would tell me stories of his cases all the time. Hearing stories about catching bad guys got me hooked.” He interned at the Arlington County Virginia Police Department, the school reported.
4. The Comeys Have Six Children but Lost an Infant to a Treatable Ailment
James Comey and his wife, Patrice Failor, are the parents to six children, but one of those children died as an infant. As a result, Patrice has spoken out about the tragedy in an effort to help other parents.
She wrote a lengthy, moving column about the experience of losing the child.
The boy was named Collin, and the Comeys lost him in 1995 at the age of 9 days. He died from a Group B strep infection, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Patrice Comey wrote an op-ed column for the Baltimore Sun about the boy’s death and “lobbied in support of screening for the bacteria during pregnancy,” the newspaper said.
In the column, which was called “To Save a Baby,” Patrice Comey wrote, “MY BABY DIED a month ago today. He was nine days old. Collin Edward Comey was killed by a preventable infection. I am sharing our tragedy so other mothers’ babies might be saved.”
It’s believed the infant contracted the bacterial infection in the birth canal; he died in Patrice’s arms as she sang him lullabies.
Patrice Comey said she was writing the column in the Baltimore Sun newspaper because the bacterial infection is common yet treatable, and she wanted to help prevent other families from suffering similar tragedies. A screening test for it costs $40 or less, she wrote.
The couple’s surviving children are Abby, Claire, Brien, Kate and Maurene. The couple’s daughter, Maurene, also attended William and Mary and then Harvard Law School, the Daily Press said.
5. James Comey & His Brother Were Once Held Hostage by a Notorious Rapist
One dramatic twist in James Comey’s biography came when he was a teenager and a notorious criminal held him hostage along with his brother. Luckily, they both managed to escape unharmed, but it took wriggling out of a bathroom window to do it.
According to New Jersey.com, the horrible incident unfolded in New Jersey in 1977 when a man known as “the Ramsey rapist” held Comey, then 15, and his younger brother “at gunpoint after breaking into their Allendale home…one of a string of break-ins that included the rape of two area baby sitters.”
The brothers staged an escape. “The Comey brothers, locked in a bathroom while the intruder searched the home, escaped through a window, only to encounter the man again on their lawn. The brothers ran back inside the house, locked the doors and called police, setting off a massive manhunt,” the newspaper reported.