Monday, November 07, 2016
James Comey and the E-Mail Scandal That Never Was
Until the U.S. election FBI director James Comey had a fairly decent reputation, as a Republican who claimed he had no time for partisan politics.
But then in July when he cleared Hillary Clinton of criminal charges in her e-mail investigation, he chastised her publicly for being "reckless" when he should have kept his mouth shut.
And then late last month he sent a letter to Congress to let everybody know that the FBI was examining a new batch of e-mails found in the laptop of the sexting pervert Anthony Weiner.
Which damaged Clinton's winning campaign, as Comey must or should have known it would.
While breathing new life into Donald Trump's sagging campaign, by giving that orange demagogue a chance to claim wildly that the e-mail affair was a bigger scandal than Watergate.
And slander Clinton as a criminal who was certain to be indicted, and jailed.
So the big question now is whether Comey's announcement yesterday, will be enough to lift the cloud he helped place over Hillary.
The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, told Congress on Sunday that he had seen no evidence in a recently discovered trove of emails to change his conclusion that Hillary Clinton should face no charges over her handling of classified information.
Mr. Comey’s announcement, just two days before the election, was an effort to clear the cloud of suspicion he had publicly placed over her presidential campaign late last month when he alerted Congress that the F.B.I. would examine the emails.
And how will Comey answer this burning question?
Why did Mr. Comey raise the specter of wrongdoing before agents had even read the emails, especially since it took only days to determine that they were not significant?
For there is no good answer to that one, and no doubt whatsoever that Comey totally botched the last ten days of this campaign.
He needed to understand that to say something about Clinton's email investigation so close to the election meant that he had very real concerns about the possibility of a president-elect being indicted. To simply say - after a nine-day hurricane of news stories about Clinton's emails - that there was never anything to see here is a remarkable swing and miss on Comey's part.
The Clinton campaign won't say much about Sunday's Comey announcement for fear of re-injecting the FBI and her emails into the conversation in these last few days of the campaign. But, if I were them - or lots of down-ballot Democrats - I would be livid.
And what makes all of this even more appalling, is that Hillary Clinton's e-mail imbroglio was never a real scandal
In total, network newscasts have, remarkably, dedicated more airtime to coverage of Clinton’s emails than to all policy issues combined.
This is unfortunate because emailgate, like so many Clinton pseudo-scandals before it, is bullshit. The real scandal here is the way a story that was at best of modest significance came to dominate the US presidential election — overwhelming stories of much more importance, giving the American people a completely skewed impression of one of the two nominees, and creating space for the FBI to intervene in the election in favor of its apparently preferred candidate in a dangerous way.
She may have shown bad judgement, but in that matter at least she is no criminal. Her flaws pale into insignificance compared to those of Donald Trump.
And by making such a big deal out of that e-mail story, and ignoring far more important issues, the media only helped demonize Clinton further...
Played into the hands of Trump and his depraved deplorables, and did their country no favours.
We now know that Comey may have done what he did to head off a group of rogue FBI agents, who were funnelling leaks to the greasy Rudy Giuliani.
Who last night was sounding both disappointed and desperate...
With good reason.
For he must know that the FBI director's latest letter could help halt Trump's surge, and end his chances of becoming president.
But even that should not save James Comey, honourable man or not.
For failing to control his own agency, for being perceived by many as trying to affect the result of an election, and for exhibiting abominable political judgement.
Comey should resign, or be fired as soon as possible...