“Coup,” as in coup d’etat, is a funny word. It can denote a conspiracy or it can denote a relatively open usurpation of power, or a gradual part-open/part-covert one, as in the rise to power of Hitler.
Congressman Jerry Nadler took a lot of heat in the late 1990s by calling the Republican impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton an attempted “coup.” But in fact there was a secretive conspiracy by a group of lawyers called the Federalist Society that started the ball rolling. And although the Republicans lacked sufficient domination of Congress to carry through on the legislative “coup,” the blow-back resulted in a judicial “coup” by the Republican-dominated Supreme Court in 2000 that handed the White House to George W. Bush.
This in turn resulted in the usurpation of power by Dick Cheney, which one might call a “coup based on an IQ deficit” (or a “coup based on naivete and inexperience” if one doesn’t think Bush was all that dumb). Such coups were common in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance when a hereditary monarch proved to be either lacking in smarts or excessively timid or mentally ill. (Well, aren’t the Republicans the party that keeps trying to take us back to the Middle Ages?)
Now we see what amounts to an attempted coup by way of the FBI, an agency riddled with far-right Republicans. We have FBI director Comey breaking with precedent and defying the Justice Department to announce, just 11 days before the Presidential election, that he has some files–supposedly from an unrelated (???) investigation of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner–that contain copies of Hillary Clinton emails. Comey and the FBI have thus handed the Trump campaign a lifeline–and may have determined the course of the election.
At this point, we don’t know if the emails are duplicates of ones that were examined by the FBI in its now closed investigation of Clinton’s emails, or if any of them contain evidence implicating Clinton in ANYTHING of legal significance. Examining them certainly can’t be done in 11 days and probably will take months. The FBI has also, reportedly, been looking into activities of Donald Trump, but it has obeyed precedent and made no announcement about such an investigation that might influence the election–or otherwise put the FBI in the role of acting like a dirty-tricks secret police.
Does Comey want to help Trump become president? Perhaps not. But Breitbart and other Alt-Right media, and more conventional conservative media as well, have been reporting for a long time that some FBI agents really, really want to bring Hillary Clinton down. Comey may have figured that if he didn’t announce about Anthony Weiner’s computers, others in the agency would leak the information and make matters worse for Comey himself.
So to cover his ass, Comey becomes a “coup” participant of sorts. Like Hindenburg. Even J. Edgar Hoover would not have done this.