FBI Director Comey must clean up this mess he created
Garth A. Rose – [email protected]
On Friday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, his campaign surrogates, and top ranking Republicans including US House Speaker Paul Ryan reacted with profound glee to news contained in a letter from FBI Director that the agency found new emails giving reason to continue investigating Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private email server.
In his surprising letter to Congressional leaders, FBI Director James Comey indicated the FBI hadn’t perused the newly found emails, and couldn’t say how long it would take to peruse those emails to determine if they contained classified information.
In the immediate hours following the revelation of Comey’s letter, it was obvious it had seriously impacted the tone of the presidential campaign. It caused the Trump campaign to celebrate a new “got ya” moment over Clinton, and gave the campaign new energy to boost their flagging campaign.
It was also obvious from the Hilary Clinton’s reaction that her campaign knew nothing of Comey’s letter until her campaign plane landed in Iowa on Friday afternoon. She delayed her departure from the plane for almost an hour as she and her campaign staff huddled apparently to asses the new revelation. Obviously her campaign suffered a surprising disadvantage compared to the Trump campaign.
While Comey with his letter had thrown a bomb into the presidential campaign, it wasn’t until some three hours after the revelation of the letter, and the media igniting shockwaves through voters, that it was revealed the new batch of emails was not Clintons nor sent from her server. The emails were found on a laptop computer used by Clinton’s staffer Huma Aberdeen and her estranged husband Anthony Weiner.
Why wasn’t this information contained in the letter Comey sent to Congress? Why did his letter give the impression the FBI found mew emails directly linked to Clinton’s computer and server? What Comet’s letter did was immediately cast a negative image on Clinton and sullied her campaign. This cannot be right.
Moreover, Comey, whatever the experience he was undergoing within the FBI and the perception his staff have of him because of his original public conclusion that t Clinton had committed no criminal act in using a private server, flouted his authority and unfairly impacted the presidential campaign.
There’s an unwritten rule, but a norm nonetheless, within the US Justice Department that no public actions be taken with respect to any investigation involving a public figure within six months prior to an election in which that figure is a candidate. In fact, there are reports US Attorney General Loretta Lynch advised Comey against revealing any new information about the investigation against Clinton’s use of the email server with just a few days before the elections.
Furthermore, we must ask how could Comey even publicly reveal information on an investigation before conclusion of the new evidence was determined? If the FBI had investigated and scrutinized the new evidence and had definitive result that negatively impacted Hillary Clinton, than one could possibly understand his obligation to release such information. But amazingly, although the new emails allegedly was found on a computer used by Aberdeen and her husband, there is no indication the FBI has contact either of the two about these emails. Aberdeen has expressed surprise that the emails were found on the laptop her husband was using to send sexting messages to a 15 year-old female.
This entire situation sparked by Comey’s letter is an unholy mess. It reveals a FBI Director of weak character. It seems to many people that Comey was pressured by the Trump campaign, the Republican hierarchy and some FBI agents for his original conclusion on the Clinton investigation, and with this new information felt even more pressured to release it before he was accused of being partial to Clinton.
But Comey has several years of experience. Certainly, he’s aware, even if the person investigated was an ordinary citizen, much less a presidential candidate, that no public revelation of an ongoing case can be made until there’s conclusive findings. To just say there’s new information without investigating that information is totally irresponsible, and in this case, seemingly partisan.
If the agents investigating Weiner found emails on his computer that could impact Clinton’s use of a private email sever, why didn’t Comey insist these agents work none-stop to present him with valid evidence that these new emails indelibly implicated Clinton before alerting congress since he believed he had to?
There’s no reason to think Comey a fool. He must have known his letter would be advantageous to Clinton’s opponents especially so close to Election Day. He may not have predicted the massive controversy that has resulted. However, he has created this mess and he must clean it up for the benefit of the two presidential campaigns, and t f American voters. He is obligated to have his agents peruse the new emails even if they must work none stop for the next few days, and report to the American public their findings before Election Day. The inferences to improper actions by Clinton must be addressed one way of the other.
If Comey, for whatever reasons, cannot do this; if he cannot clean up the mess he created, he should imediately resign as FBI Director.