May 4, 2017

DAVID HARSANYI: Comey Didn’t Sink Hillary. Hillary Sank Hillary.

Clinton’s counterfactual tale about the infamous “Comey letter” has been a security blanket for many Democrats. But, as luck would have it, the FBI director was testifying in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee today, and he reminded us of some factors that Clinton ignored. That’s because even if we concede that Comey’s letter to Congress helped sink Clinton, Hillary deserved that letter, and the FBI director had no choice but to send it.

In essence, what many Democrats have been arguing for the past six months is that Comey should have actively buried evidence that was pertinent to an ongoing congressional investigation — one that, incidentally, had turned up plenty of potential wrongdoing — because it might hurt their preferred candidate’s chances.

On Tuesday, Comey, in fact, confirmed that the FBI had learned that classified emails were forwarded from Clinton’s email account by Clinton aide Huma Abedin to her husband Anthony Weiner so he could print them out. (This appears to be illegal, but perhaps all those immunity deals Comey was handing out came in handy.) Her computer, like other servers and laptops that Hillary’s staff tried to dispose of, hide, clean, and whatnot, were supposed to have been in the hands of the FBI.

It’s worth pointing out that everything in the Comey letter was almost surely going to leak anyway. Not only because of its connection to the Hillary investigation, but because this “fella Anthony Weiner,” as Comey referred to him today, had access to classified information. That may not have made things any better for Hillary, but it certainly would have made the FBI look like it was actively protecting a candidate — which is undoubtedly why Comey said it was potentially “catastrophic.”

The fact is that Comey’s superiors at the Justice Department did actively protect Hillary Clinton as best they could, as Charlie Martin posited yesterday:

Comey knew that the Justice Department was no way going to indict Hillary. The “intent” excuse was just that — an excuse (18 USC 793(f) again.) At the same time, he could not bring himself to let a multiple felon be elected President.

There’s no way of knowing what Comey’s thinking really was, but Charlie’s theory goes a long way towards explaining Comey’s erratic behavior.

The best thing for the Democrats would have been not to use the DNC to stack the deck against Bernie Sanders, and not to use Justice to “hack” the election for Clinton — but it seems they just couldn’t help themselves.

And for once, a Clinton was hoist on her own petard.

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