For the sake of FBI Director Comey’s reputation and career, as well as that of the agency he leads, he better have two things nailed down ASAP.
1: A press conference explaining why, contrary to advice from his superiors he involved the FBI in an election, and 2: He damned well have something indisputably, unequivocally criminal that can be laid on Hillary Clinton. Lacking either, the guy is in for some serious blowback, a taste of which he is already getting.
Here’s the nut of it as far as I’m concerned. We may live in a time when “non-partisan bureaucrat” has no meaning. It may be that everyone in D.C. is playing a game on behalf of one team or the other. But the FBI of all people has to at least pretend it has no dog in the hunt. And the way it pretends it has no dog is by following long-established Bureau policies … policies and standards Comey decided to free-lance away with his letter to congressional committee heads last Friday.
Now, if Comey intends to assert his and the FBI’s non-partisan, neutral standing in election matters he has to explain how he, as a supposedly intelligent, above-the-fray veteran bureaucrat, thoroughly familiar with the folkways and partisan battles of DC could have blundered into one of the hoariest and most partisan memes of the last 25 years. Namely, “The Clintons are hiding something big.” (And let’s not overlook the fact that he pressed the siren of scandal without so much as a warrant — yet — to read this latest e-mail trove, which could be copies of stuff the FBI has already scanned.)
After watching nothingburger after nothingburger consume the Capitol and the country for the last quarter century, while producing, at worst, a case built on lying about sex as the most serious charge any committee or special prosecutor could come up with, only a fool would hang his reputation and that of the FBI out there on the basis of … nothing, yet again. (Oh, and here’s another.) But that appears to be what Comey has done.
If Comey has something this time, OK. I’m all ears. Let’s hear it, and let’s hear it now, dude.
And no, you can’t possibly claim you’re unable to comment because it’s an on-going investigation. YOU brought it up.
And no, other than desperate Trumpists, no serious person, no prosecutor and no judicious jurist is interested in a revisit of the “extremely careless” e-mail protocol. That boat has sailed. Thousands of e-mails and god knows how much taxpayer money later and the worst of E-mailgate Version #1 were passing references to the drone program? The drone program any idiot could read about in USA Today? That’s the national security breach the Rooskies may have exploited for their evil machinations? Good effing christ.
I don’t like, but I have no choice but to accept chuckleheaded Tea Party whack jobs sitting on actual congressional committees. But do we now have tolerate incompetence in the FBI?
Comey has dropped a bombshell of suspicion 11 days before a presidential election. A stink bomb of suspicion exactly like fevered partisans have been throwing at the Clintons since Whitewater, (with age-old nemesis Judicial Watch in on this one again). None of them, not Whitewater, not TravelGate, not TrooperGate and not Benghazi (where all this began) have turned up anything substantive, much less anything of a remotely criminal nature.
What they have generated, precisely as anti-Clinton crackpots and enemies have long strategized, is a constant, regular restoking of the smoky-but-never-burning fire of suspicion, or appearance of serious scandal … the “sense” that something is out there somewhere, somehow … if only the dastardly Clintons would let us keep investigating it, whatever “it” is.
Unless Comey wants his reputation — and that of the FBI — rolled into the same swamp as that of Judicial Watch, Breitbart and that whole frenzied, manifestly undisciplined crowd, he better have something bona fide. Something serious. Something big. Something indictable. And he better have it teed up for TV cameras in the next 48 hours. Otherwise he has demonstrated either stunning naivete, incompetence or the kind of reckless, disqualifying partisanship that should cost him his job.