Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony laid waste to the conspiracy theory of President Trump’s involvement with Russia to influence the election. Indeed, it may have confirmed the opposite – that Democrats were misusing their levers of power to protect the reputation of their favored candidate—Hillary Clinton—during the presidential race.
Director Comey testified that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch directed him to refer to the Hillary Clinton email probe as a “matter,” not an investigation.
“The Clinton campaign, at the time, was using all kind of euphemisms — security review, matters, things like that, for what was going on,” Mr. Comey said on Thursday. “We were getting to a place where the attorney general and I were both going to have to testify and talk publicly about. And I wanted to know, was she going to authorize us to confirm we had an investigation?
“And she said, ‘Yes, but don’t call it that, call it a matter,’” Mr. Comey continued. “And I said, ‘Why would I do that?’ And she said, ‘Just call it a matter.’”
Mrs. Lynch’s request to forcefully echo the messaging of the Clinton campaign may not have been purposeful, but it also wouldn’t have been accurate and would have been sure to create serious questions about coordination between the Attorney General’s office and the Clinton team. Little wonder then that Comey testified that Lynch’s request gave him a “queasy feeling.”
Ultimately, Comey testified, “That was one of the bricks in the road that lead me to conclude I have to step away from the (Justice) department if we are to close this case credibly.”
Director Comey then took the unusual step of publicly announcing his decision not to bring charges against her. Comey felt that his hand was being forced by Lynch’s seeming lack of independence, which could (and did) lead to accusations that the investigation was politically compromised.
The final straw came when Lynch had a private meeting on the tarmac with former President Bill Clinton, a stunning breach of protocol that led to a round of accusations about the integrity of the investigative process.
“Yes, in a a ultimately conclusive way, that was the thing that capped it for me,” Comey told the Committee. “That I had to do something separately to protect the credibility of the investigation, which meant both the FBI and the Justice Department.”
Although Director Comey was limited in what he could say in an open forum, he did hint that there were additional, classified reasons for going public with his decision. It’s unclear exactly what he was hinting at, but the New York Times did report this bombshell in April:
Early last year, F.B.I. agents received a batch of hacked documents, and one caught their attention.
The document, which has been described as both a memo and an email, was written by a Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far, according to several former officials familiar with the document. …
If Ms. Lynch announced that the case was closed, and Russia leaked the document, Mr. Comey believed it would raise doubts about the independence of the investigation. … Mr. Comey’s defenders regard this as one of the untold stories of the Clinton investigation, one they say helps explain his decision-making.
Whether or not this is the additional reason that Comey was referring to, the totality of his testimony makes clear that he was grievously concerned about the politicization of the Department of Justice. As former Attorney General Michael Mukasey explains, that’s an astounding and troubling charge.
“[I]t made the Department of Justice essentially an arm of the Clinton campaign,” Mukasey, who served as the attorney general from 2007 until 2009, told Newsmax. “That is a betrayal of the department and of its independence to illustrate that clearly that the attorney general was essentially in the tank for Secretary Clinton.”
It also shows that our democracy may be under siege, not from Donald Trump, but from Democratic bureaucrats who attempted to leverage their positions of power to get Hillary Clinton elected.