On Wednesday, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director, James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. What was believed by many to be a probe into the now overwhelming consensus by our nation’s several intelligence communities, that Russia interfered with our election for the presidency of our country last year which favored the forty-fifth president while opposing the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, seemed to be a two-pronged investigation with Republicans questioning a variety of things such as the Bureau’s supposed “reliance” on the dossier provided them by Christopher Steele (a man the Bureau had used to obtain other noteworthy convictions related to the FIFA scandal), and why nobody was arrested for alleged “classified” material ending up on Anthony Wiener’s computer (husband of Huma Abedin and former Aide to the former Secretary of State.)
If the republican diversions were not enough, those watching the public hearing witnessed Director Comey answer Democrat ranking member, Dianne Feinstein’s following question:
“Why was it necessary to announce 11 days before a presidential election that you were opening an investigation on a new computer without any knowledge of what was in that computer. Why didn’t you just do the investigation as you would normally, with no public announcement?”
In response to Feinstein, according to the Director, he was faced with a conundrum of sorts, first due to what he considered a possible compromised leader of the Justice Department, Loretta Lynch – and her “handling of the investigation – due to her impromptu meeting with Bill Clinton on a tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona, when the two realized they were on the same tarmac at the airport. At that time, Justice Department head, Loretta Lynch confirmed the interaction with President Bill Clinton but reiterated nothing was discussed about any matters pending before the Justice Department and reiterated the conversation by her surprise visit by Clinton surrounded grandchildren.
Interestingly, when that meeting took place, Texas Senator John Conyn explained the “incident is why a Special Counsel should take over the email investigation,” referring to the months long investigation led by Senate and House Republicans throughout much of the time of the presidential campaign. Now? Not so much, with the exceptions of Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and Bob Corker advocating such action. This despite Congressman and Chair of the House Committee tasked with investigating the forty-fifth president, Devin Nunes, being a part of forty-five’s transition team, and Republican Senator Burr, also playing a role on his team. Of course, Nunes did eventually end up recusing himself several weeks ago, when it was discovered that he received information from someone at the White House which reinforced the forty-fifth president’s demonstrably false claim and narrative that he “had been wiretapped by then President Barack Obama.”
During testimony Wednesday, James Comey further stated that the decision to bring attention to the matter of emails allegedly appearing on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, is what spurred his decision to alert Congress via private letter to the Committee Chair, which was then made public by him and House Republicans. Moreover, he stated that the reason he sought a warrant and needed to notify the Chairman at that time, was due to the agency never being able to locate the first three months of emails which “could have shown intent” to send classified information to those within Clinton’s circle which had no business receiving them.
Comey tried to portray the painful extent of his decision by saying that the morning when he decided to issue a warrant reigniting the investigation – only to demonstrate a mere seven days later that there was nothing additional to be found on Weiner’s laptop – that he could not see a door which said, “no action,” and was faced with two doors; one labeled, “speak,” with the other labeled “conceal.” He chose to speak.
The Director further testified that while his decision made him “mildly nauseous” to “think that we might have had some impact on the election,” he “honestly would not change the decision.” Reiterating his position, he challenged those who disagreed with him to “come back to October 28 with him and stare at this and tell him what to do.” Fair enough and point taken. However, even if the decision was painful, Comey paints a false dichotomy here. Why? His decision should not have been between “speaking” and “concealing” because concealing is a value judgment he placed upon himself. In fact, he violated policy which states one does not speak out on an open investigation, especially that close to the election. If anyone placed pressure upon Comey, it was himself, not Congress – which many believe served as the impetus to his decision to speak in order to keep Congress appraised versus honoring a time-honored practice at the Justice Department.
Furthermore, Comey – whether he realizes so or not – also made a political decision here. What is considered to be a solid and accurate accounting of Comey’s partisanship coupled with justification for the manner in which he approached Mrs. Clinton, an article in the New York Times highlights Comey’s decision-making process as to whether to “speak” or “conceal,” as he placed the terms of his decision in testimony yesterday.
According to Michael Steinbach, Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Director, who sources say provided an accurate portrayal into Comey’s mind when confronted with the decision, provided the following to the Washington Times:
“In my mind at the time, Clinton is likely to win,” Mr. Steinbach said, echoing Comey’s thoughts and replaying them for the Times. “It’s pretty apparent. So what happens after the election, in November or December? How do we say to the American public: ‘Hey, we found some things that might be problematic. But we didn’t tell you about it before you voted’? The damage to our organization would have been irreparable.”
The reader will quickly note that Comey began his decision-making process with a political assertion that Clinton was going to win, something which is now considered to be quite an accurate portrayal of events at that time. With political analysts arguing vehemently that Clinton did in fact, have a healthy lead in the polls at that point, Mr. Comey begins there, versus beginning his decision-making process with policy from the Justice Department. But this is not the double standard the headline for this piece alludes to. No, far from it; that standard occurs when Comey decides to “speak” about the Clinton investigation but decides to – in his words – “conceal” – the fact that the FBI had been investigating the soon to be forty-fifth president regarding possible ties between several serving on his campaign staff – many being key players – and possible collusion between him, his campaign and Russians. THAT is the double-standard.
Comey could very well have decided to not “speak” about either investigation, and sadly, it now shows that Comey not only made the wrong political calculation in his decision-making, but wrong investigatory calculation as well. Why? The forty-fifth president was and continues to be the ONLY person under federal investigation on Inauguration Day and beyond. Mrs. Clinton had already been cleared weeks prior to Election Day but then had to be re-cleared due to Comey’s incorrect calculations, or better yet, double standard when it comes to investigating the forty-fifth president and Hillary Clinton.
It very well may have been a decision that made Comey “mildly nauseous,” but it should have every single American vomiting over the inept handling of the two investigations by Comey, which arguably did assist the forty-fifth president towards winning the election. The fact that the president and many in his inner circle remain under federal investigation for possible collusion with the Russians calls into question his very legitimacy as he occupies the highest office in our land.
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