Just when you thought the 2016 Presidential race couldn’t get any crazier, it did.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said Sunday that no new evidence has been found to warrant charges against Hillary Clinton in the investigation stemming from her use of a private email server while in government.
In a race already fraught with angst and vitriol, here was the FBI Director backtracking on a 10-day old trail of new emails found on the laptop of Former Congressman Anthony Weiner. He is the estranged husband of top Clinton advisor Huma Abedin.
What is strange about this latest twist in the email saga is the fact that these emails were on a computer of a person outside of government. They were recovered as part of an investigation about the texting and sexual habits of this disgraced former Congressman.
Yet despite the precedent the General Petraeus case where a governmental confidential note book found in his paramour’s possession led to federal charges against him, thousands of State Department missives found on this individual’s shared laptop were deemed not relevant.
Calling the decision to reject any problems with the new information, Comey is attempting to damp down speculation about the emails which have dogged Mrs. Clinton for almost two years. Despite his protestations that there was “no intent” by Mrs. Clinton to do something wrong, a majority of Americans polled feel she was attempting to hide something by using her own private server.
While many in Washington speculated about his original letter to Congress outlining the FBI’s initial findings of the emails, most observers inside the beltway now think he believes Mrs. Clinton will win the hotly contested election. Therefore this last minute clearance of this latest email mess will help him keep his job.
While too late for a snap poll, initial reaction from voters being sounded by research agencies is a big yawn. Most Americans have pretty much decided how they feel about this issue. Reportedly, focus groups and some polling indicated most Americans expected this latest chapter to be left until after the election. Few expected the FBI to act so quickly.
The reason he acted so swiftly is his personal history.
Director Comey is a long-time Washington DC insider described in one published report as “always being on the right side of the beltway trends and the wrong side of justice.”
His about-face two days before the election is being portrayed as he reading the tea leaves of a Clinton victory.
Washington insiders say no matter who wins, he is toast. By tradition, the FBI Director offers to submit his or her resignation in a new administration. Comey might not but after his performance during the last days of this year’s election, a gesture like this would seem appropriate.
Directr Comey also has another hot potato on his plate. By her own admission, Mrs. Clinton said her family was “broke” when her husband, former President William Clinton left the White House. Today they are billionaires thanks to the Clinton Foundation. While it is a non-profit, they have profited hugely in this time period.
What is important to remember is the negative published reports concerning the Clinton Foundation. It is evident some FBI agents and investigative editorial groups are still probing its handling of the millions of dollars in donations.
Further, as my colleague Dan Perkins has pointed out, there are several Clinton Foundations set up in foreign countries and not subject to US oversight. Also, as reported over the weekend and before the election, a for-profit subsidiary was formed to handle $20 million of donations earmarked for Haiti. These funds have dwindled without public accounting.
If reports of infighting between the FBI and the Department of Justice are true and Donald Trump is elected, there will be considerably more investigations. Should Mrs. Clinton prevail, much will be swept under the rug.
Director Comey will make millions when he leaves office and writes about his experiences. Nothing he has done in these last days of the campaign can be construed as helpful to America. He has ill-served the American people during this critical Presidential election.