aside Washington Post’s Editorial Board Is Critical Of FBI’s Timing In Its October Surprise

“POLITICAL TENSION is running high in the United States, extraordinarily so, we’d say. And so it behooves everyone in a position of official responsibility to do everything he or she possibly can to help maintain stability — while avoiding all avoidable provocations — until the bitter competition between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump runs its ugly course on Nov. 8.”

Ashcroft-Bush-Comey REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Ashcroft-Bush-Comey REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“That is the context for Friday’s announcement by James B. Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that his agency is again looking into Ms. Clinton’s private email server in light of newly discovered emails “that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”  (Mrs.Clinton’s email server was not in use; and involved no transmissions to and from Mrs. Clinton.) Mr. Comey may have had good reason to inform Republican committee chairmen in Congress of the review, but his timing was nevertheless unfortunate, given its potential to affect a democratic process in which millions of people are already voting.”

“What might his reason be? On the merits, Ms. Clinton erred by using a private email server for her official communications as secretary of state — though as we have previously argued, the matter has been greatly overblown. According to the previous FBI review, the small amount of classified material that moved through Ms. Clinton’s private server was not clearly marked as such, and no harm to national security has been demonstrated.”

Huma Abedin
Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner

“The FBI conducted a thorough investigation for any prosecutable offenses, especially any involving the transmission of classified information. Mr. Comey rightly recommended against bringing charges; he told his staff that the decision was “not a cliff-hanger.” In deference to the reality that the target of the inquiry was a major-party nominee for president, he gave the public a summary of the facts and law behind his decision.”

“Mr. Comey went too far, however, in providing raw FBI material to Congress, notwithstanding its important oversight role; that attempt to appease Republicans set a precedent that future partisans who are unhappy with the results of FBI investigations may exploit.”

clinton-good-podesta-photo-56d76d8b150000ad000b11e5“Mr. Comey found himself in a bind when his investigators turned up additional, previously unexamined Clinton emails, apparently on devices belonging to top aide Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner, seized during an FBI probe of the latter’s alleged sexual misconduct with a minor. (As if this could not get any more bizarre.) If Mr. Comey failed to tell Congress before Nov. 8 about his decision to review them, he would be accused — again — of a politically motivated cover-up. By revealing it, he inevitably creates a cloud of suspicion over Ms. Clinton that, if the case’s history is any guide, is unwarranted. Hence Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s not unreasonable demand that Mr. Comey “immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining.”

“Mr. Podesta said he is “confident” full disclosure “will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July.” If so, the question will be how badly damaged was Ms. Clinton’s candidacy by the 11th-hour re-eruption of a controversy that never should have generated so much suspicion or accusation in the first place.”

5 comments

  1. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Comey was between a rock and hard place, but he placed himself there. Comey’s history is one of being a stand up guy, but he did so by trying not to be political. I did find it interesting that Trump has called Weiner a “pervert.” He is indeed, but I guess in his mind sexting is worse than physical sexual assault. But, like with Clinton’s philandering husband, the woman here is made the issue not the purveyors of the behavior, the men who are thinking with their Johnsons.

    My fear is the chances of our ending up with president who could negatively change the planet (with his climate change stances and actions and his temperament and ego) for at least the rest of the century is scary.

  2. Dear Keith,

    The FBI is supposed to have the appearance of being non partisan. It is important for the FBI that its reputation for even handedness must take precedence over one’s political leanings. Yes, Director Comey was in a tough spot but that is the nature of his job. There are reasons why there are protocols and standards regarding what to do in this set of circumstances. He not only went against the rules, he went v the DOJ’s strong objections.

    He may have a well deserved reputation for being fair and reasonable but these actions belie his own declared standards. This is especially true, as he has admitted that he has no knowledge of whether the emails have any significance or relevance to the Clinton email case that he closed in July. Or could it be that Director Comey’s agents who have had access to the relevant laptop have already reviewed a sample of the emails without a warrant.

    In earlier blogs, I have covered how I believed it was a problem about how he was acting counter to FBI rules, guidelines which is a separate issue from his decision not to indict HRC.

    It is helpful to remember that the FBI is investigating the hacking done by Russia and DT’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s close connections to Russia. There are those who could legitimately now question why more data in these inquiries are not being shared.The reason is because this would be wrong.

    The pundits are saying, “Well he would have been in trouble if this information came out after the election if he had not informed the congress ahead of time.”

    Just frame the question a little differently. What if Director Comey finds out that all the newly discovered emails are duplicates already in the FBI’s possession and/ or there are no classified data involved or there is no relevance to the prior case. How does the FBI correct the damage done to HRC, the democratic process and the reputation of the FBI as a non partisan entity?.

    For all Director Comey’s knows, as of right now, the 2nd scenario is just as likely than the first one. This is why I am convinced that he acted foolishly and without sound judgment.

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Gronda, you raise good points There are more things being investigated than just this. Yet, what frustrates me more is the fact that the press and Trump can pour through her staff’s hacked emails, which is grossly unfair. If we read Trump’s staff and the GOP leadership emails, I can assure you they would have some very unflattering remarks about their candidate. Keith

      • Dear Keith

        I found the following information in Today’s NY Times.,

        A non partisan, Law Professor Richard Painter who has voted mostly republican but is voting for HRC this year has filed a complaint against the FBI and its Director with the Office of Special Counsel , which investigates Hatch Act violations, and with the Office of Government Ethics. Mr. Painter worked as the chief White HOUSE ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush.

        The Washington post today is reporting:

        “The FBI agents investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server knew early this month that messages recovered in a separate probe might be germane to their case, but they waited weeks before briefing the FBI director, according to people familiar with the case.”

        “FBI Director James B. Comey has written that he was informed of the development Thursday, and he sent a letter to legislators the next day letting them know that he thought the team should take “appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails.”

        Ciao, Gronda

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