Former FBI Director James Comey to Teach Ethics Course As Bureau Accused of Corruption

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Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Russian Federation Efforts to Interfere in the 2016 U.S. Elections" on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Former FBI Director James Comey, who's been embraced and excoriated by politicians on both sides of the aisle over the past year for his conduct in and out of public office, is slated to teach a college ethics course in the fall semester.

Comey, whom President Donald Trump fired last May amid the agency's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, will teach a course on ethical leadership at College of William & Mary this coming fall semester, the university announced on Friday.

"I am thrilled to have the chance to engage with William & Mary students about a vital topic — ethical leadership," Comey said in the school's announcement. "There is no better place to teach and learn about it than the W&M Washington Program."

The news came as the bureau found itself embroiled in accusations of corruption and conspiracy by Republican lawmakers.

Comey has been a controversial figure and whipping boy for both Republicans and Democrats for the past year. Democrats pounced on his decision to send Congress a letter saying the bureau had reopened the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server just 11 days before the presidential election. With two days left before the election, Comey confirmed the probe had gleaned no new information and that the FBI had closed the investigation. Nate Silver, of the polling and analysis site FiveThirtyEight, said "the Comey letter probably cost Clinton the election."

Trump's sentiments on Comey have vacillated. He praised Comey for having the "guts" to send the Clinton letter, but fired him in May, later telling NBC's Lester Holt he was thinking about the FBI's Russia investigation when he decided to get rid of Comey.

Comey subsequently leaked contemporaneous memos he had written detailing conversations with Trump. "I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter," he told the Senate Intelligence Committee in June. In the memos, Comey said Trump had asked him to drop an investigation into the president's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.

Related: Democrats: Russian bots may have pushed #ReleaseTheMemo

In recent days, the FBI has come under fire from some Republicans who say they have reviewed a classified memo that purports the bureau used dubious information to secure surveillance on a Trump campaign adviser and that months of text messages sent by an agent who espoused anti-Trump feelings have gone missing. Top Democrats say the online campaign #ReleaseTheMemo was yet another Russian influence attempt. The bureau, in a letter to Congress, said it was unable to recover text messages from investigator Peter Strzok because of a software-upgrade problem with the FBI-issued mobile phones.

Since leaving public office, Comey has become a regular user of his former boss's favorite communication platform: Twitter. On Wednesday, he tweeted a quote from himself during his Senate hearing, saying, "Russia threat should unite us, not divide us: 'It's not about Republicans or Democrats. They're coming after America, which I hope we all love equally... And they will be back, because we remain...that shining city on the hill, and they don't like it.'"

Russia threat should unite us, not divide us: “It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. They’re coming after America, which I hope we all love equally... And they will be back, because we remain...that shining city on the hill, and they don’t like it. “ Me (Senate Intel 6/8/17)

— James Comey (@Comey) January 25, 2018

This won't be Comey's first post at a university. Howard University, a historically black college, invited him to lead a series of lectures last year. He was greeted with protests, many students criticizing Comey's support for the so-called "Ferguson Effect"—the notion that police officers are increasingly reluctant to interact with the public for fear that they will be video recorded.

Comey is an alumnus of College of William & Mary who graduated in 1982 with a double major in chemistry and religion, according to the university. He was appointed as an executive professor in education and will co-teach the ethics course with Drew Stelljes, an executive assistant professor of education in the fall 2018, spring 2019 and summer 2019 semesters.