FBI Director James Comey told the House Oversight Committee in a letter that an FBI review of emails found on devices belonging to Anthony Weiner did not change the bureau’s conclusion that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be prosecuted.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July,” Comey said in the letter to top Republicans on the House Oversight Committee.
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said her campaign is validated in its belief that nothing would change.
We were always confident nothing would cause the July decision to be revisited. Now Director Comey has confirmed it,” tweeted Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon.
Comey’s last-minute announcement gives Clinton an opportunity for an I-told-you-so moment — but it’s unlikely to undo the political damage of his initial announcement.
“We has seen Director Comey’s latest letter to the Hill. We are glad to see that he has found, as we were confident that he would, that he had confirmed the conclusions he reached in July and we are glad that this mater is resolved,” said Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, speaking with reporters after the news broke.
Trump and his allies have seized on that announcement, using it claim Clinton is likely to face criminal charges.
“If she were to win, it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis,” Trump claimed Saturday night in Reno, Nevada. “In that situation we could very well have a sitting president under felony indictment and ultimately a criminal trial. It would grind government to a halt.”
The political benefit for Trump has been that Republicans who’d been skeptical of their party’s nominee have largely followed vice presidential nominee Mike Pence’s calls to “come home” to the party — finding Trump less objectionable than Clinton.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that Comey’s initial letter was “puzzling and troubling” — pointing to news reports about politics at play within the FBI.
“But those are questions for later. We have to focus on making the case as to why Hillary will be the best president between now and when the polls close on Tuesday, November 8,” Kaine said.
It was too much to hope that Comey would reveal the contents of any emails before the FBI was able to review them all. They apparently only searched for emails dealing with classified information and other criminal matters possibly relating to the Clinton Foundation. Also unanswered by Comey was why Clinton work emails that were never turned over were found on Weiner’s laptop.
As a practical political matter, this changes very little. By now, voters would have already factored in the new emails to their calculations and made a decision. At this point, there are very few undecideds and even fewer willing to change their minds.
For better or worse, Comey’s news today won’t impact the outcome.