“Throughout his long career in law enforcement, the independence of FBI chief James Comey has rarely been questioned. Comey is a well-respected Republican who served as George W. Bush’s Deputy Attorney General. And when President Obama tapped him to serve as Director of the FBI, he was confirmed by a 93-1 vote.” – Statement from the Hillary Clinton campaign in July.
Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton, are now on a witch hunt to tear down the life and career of James Comey, the man they held up as a paragon of fairness and impartiality just three months ago.
The reason rests in a letter that Comey sent to the House Judiciary Committee last week letting them know that the investigation into whether Clinton illegally mishandled confidential information was going to be re-opened. New emails, which apparently called into question the investigation’s original conclusion, had been discovered in a separate probe of Anthony Weiner’s illicit texting with an underaged girl.
But it’s worthwhile to remember that Democrats once defended Comey.
Sen. Harry Reid said that “[no] one can question the integrity” of Comey. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called him a “great man” and noted that we “are lucky to have him as director of the FBI.” Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine said that his previous working relationship with Comey proved him to be a man “with the highest standards of integrity.” Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, personally commended Comey “for the independent investigation.” And Donna Brazile, the current Democratic National Committee Chair thanked Comey for “not playing [Congress’] game of gotcha.”
Then came Comey’s letter, which simply let Congress know that the investigative team briefed him, and tougher they decided that “the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps.” It was short, it was sweet, and given the options on the table, it was the best he could have done.
“Of course, we don’t necessarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed,” Comey wrote in a letter to FBI employees. “I also think it would be misleading the American people were we not to supplement the record.”
What else could Comey have realistically done? Imagine the damage that could be done to our democracy if Clinton were to be elected, the new investigation led to an indictment, and it came out that information was withheld prior to the election for political reasons. Heck, just imagine the hyperbolic mess that would have been created if the re-opening of the case was leaked without any official announcement. Either of those situations would have been disastrous.
But the Clinton camp doesn’t care. They saw a huge, unexpected political liability staring them in the face and immediately decided that they had to punch it right in the face. The New Yorker’s Nichola Lemann writes:
On Friday, it looked as if Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign might be in big trouble. James Comey, the director of the F.B.I., announced that the bureau had found new evidence that might be relevant to the investigation into her e-mails. … But, within a few days, the campaign had managed to change the subject from what Comey might find that Clinton had done to what Comey himself had done by making such a dramatic announcement less than two weeks before the election. Somebody mobilized a small army of congressional allies, letter-signing and op-ed-writing former high officials, and Sunday-morning-talk-show guests, all of whom offered severe critiques of Comey. Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, went so far as to accuse Comey of violating the Hatch Act, the federal law that prohibits some high-level officials from engaging in political activity.
It’s all a thinly veiled attempt to deflect attention away from Clinton, who, lest we forget was the one who made the decision to store classified information on a private email server. If not for that disastrous decision Comey would have been a non-factor. Heck, if the Clinton team would have simply provided the emails that the FBI discovered on Anthony Weiner’s computers during the initial investigation, Comey would have been a non-factor.
But neither of those things happened. Put simply, Comey isn’t the issue. Hillary Clinton’s behavior is. Don’t let Democrats flip-flopping views on an impartial public servant confuse those facts.