Hillary Clinton’s email issues will apparently haunt her well beyond Election Day. FBI Director James Comey told Congress Friday that new emails have surfaced that need investigating. It’s unlikely the investigation will be completed by next Tuesday.
The emails in question were on a computer owned by disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. They surfaced during an investigation of Weiner sending explicit messages to a 15-year old girl.
In July, Comey publicly recommended closing the probe of Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State, without bringing charges. At the time, he said Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless” handling classified information, but no prosecutor would recommend charging her.
Now, the FBI director is accused of violating Justice Department policy and precedent by commenting on an investigation, especially a politically-charged one so close to the election.
And Clinton has eight days to conduct whatever damage control she can before most Americans cast their vote for president.
James Comey Is a Good Man, but He Made a Serious Mistake
Eric Holder – The Washington Post
I am deeply concerned about FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision to write a vague letter to Congress about emails potentially connected to a matter of public, and political, interest. That decision was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and tradition. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago (as Attorney General) laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season….
This controversy has its roots in the director’s July decision to hold a news conference announcing his recommendation that the Justice Department bring no charges against Hillary Clinton. Instead of making a private recommendation to the attorney general — consistent with Justice Department policy — he chose to publicly share his professional recommendation, as well as his personal opinions, about the case.
James Comey Did the Right Thing
William Barr – The Washington Post
Earlier this year, everyone was calling for a responsible investigation and rapid resolution of the email matter. The FBI pushed ahead, and in July, Comey announced that the matter had been thoroughly investigated and that he would not recommend prosecution….
The FBI then discovered that the investigation had not, in fact, been a complete one. It appears that thousands of emails exist on a computer belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner and Clinton aide Huma Abedin that had not been turned over during the investigation….The FBI’s investigation was not comprehensive and not complete, and the conclusions announced by Comey three months ago were therefore premature.
If the FBI remained silent about the newly discovered incompleteness of its earlier investigation, it would be deliberately leaving uncorrected a misleading statement being used by the Clinton campaign to its political advantage. Thus, failure to correct the record would have been deceitful and would have represented a political decision to influence the election by leaving in place a misleading statement.
Comey Is Not the One Whose Unorthodox Actions Are Casting a Cloud Over the Election
Andrew C. McCarthy – National Review
Put aside that Comey did not say a single thing last week that implicates Clinton in a crime. The biggest coup for Clinton in the waning months of the campaign has been Comey’s decision not to prosecute her — a decision outside the responsibilities of the FBI director and publicly announced in a manner that contradicts law-enforcement protocols. There has been nothing more irregular, nothing that put law enforcement more in the service of politics, than that announcement. Yet, far from condemning it, Mrs. Clinton has worn it like a badge of honor since July…
[T[he problem with which we are currently grappling is caused by Comey’s initial flouting of protocol back in July — the one that thrilled the Clinton camp. There should never be any law-enforcement commentary at any time about a criminal investigation in which charges have not been filed publicly.
Clinton’s Damn Emails, Revisited
Editorial Board – USA Today
Just when you thought the presidential race couldn’t get any weirder, along comes another “October surprise,” this one a cryptic letter to Congress from FBI Director James Comey stating that Hillary Clinton’s email saga might not be over after all….
Whether voters should think more poorly of Clinton is impossible to say. That’s why Comey — having disregarded Justice Department guidelines about commenting on active investigations, particularly ones so close to Election Day — has an obligation to accelerate the inquiry and provide voters with a more detailed update before Nov. 8.
The Long Shadow of J. Edgar Hoover
Tim Weiner – The New York Times
In hurling barbs at Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Comey has at once revived his reputation for confronting commanders in chief and resurrected the spirit of the F.B.I.’s most infamous high priest. Somewhere, tearing wings off flies in a dark star chamber in the sky, J. Edgar Hoover is smiling. The use of secret information to wound public figures was one of his favorite sports….
In his role as the director of the bureau, Mr. Comey is not supposed to be a Republican or a Democrat. He is supposed to stand as the living embodiment of the statue of Justice — wearing a blindfold, holding a sword in one hand, a balancing scale in the other. In light of his recent conduct, the blindfold and the sword seem intact, but the scale seems to have gone missing. America could use the balance.
The FBI Wasn’t ‘Irresponsible’ for Reigniting Clinton’s Email Scandal. It Was Doing Its Job
Marc Ambinder – The Week
Comey took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. He did not take an oath to follow best practices for preventing mass media freak-outs, or to consult the political calendar before deciding when to amend his testimony, or to prevent the stock market from gyrating. Likewise, he did not promise to subject himself to praise from the news media for his stellar grasp of optics….
What the FBI director says about a presidential candidate in the days before an election automatically becomes the only thing that people will talk about. It should be axiomatic that if he must say something, then, he should say it carefully, and with due regard for the political realities. His investigations ought to be above politics; his words are political, regardless of whether he wants them to be.
Imagine if James Comey Had Kept Quiet — Then Thank Him for Speaking Up
Michael Daly – The Daily Beast
What if he had stuck with protocol and only notified the Department of Justice that agents had come upon emails in Anthony Weiner’s computer?…
Right about now, word of the reopened investigation would be leaking to the press….
And everybody would be clamoring that the agents and Comey and the Department of Justice had conspired to hide it from the American people until after the election.
Time for FBI Director Comey to Go
Paul Callan – CNN
The FBI virtually never announces the commencement or termination of ongoing criminal investigations or the discovery of new evidence. Such inquiries are often conducted in relative secrecy, enabling a more efficient investigation….
The old, sensible FBI rule book apparently has been thrown on the trash heap this year. While undoubtedly attempting to be open and “transparent,” to protect the reputation of the FBI, the FBI director has tossed a Molotov cocktail into the presidential race.