Back in July former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s apologists and enablers praised FBI Director James Comey for not recommending criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton for mishandling classified emails. But now, days before Tuesday’s presidential election, Team Clinton is attacking Comey as a partisan political hack for reopening that same email investigation so close to Election Day. So is he a hero or a political villain?
Let’s go back to July and recall Comey’s blockbuster national TV statement in which he accused Mrs. Clinton of being “extremely careless” with her emails and clearly laid out reasons for indicting her, only to reverse course and recommend against a criminal prosecution. A political firestorm ensued in which Clinton surrogates like Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) praised Comey as a national hero. “I don’t know whether your family is watching this (congressional hearing),” Cummings told Comey, “but I hope they are as proud of you as I am.”
Now, however, Cummings has “grave concerns” about the FBI director’s decision to reopen the Clinton email investigation after more than 600,000 of them were located on a home computer shared by Mrs. Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin — “One of my staffers,” said Hillary — and Ms. Abedin’s estranged and unsavory husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner (aka Carlos Danger), a New York Democrat who resigned from Congress after he was caught “sexting” underage girls. And if you don’t know what sexting is, just send a suggestive photo to Carlos Danger.
God only knows what the FBI will find on Weiner’s computer, but that’s not the main issue here. The FBI is looking for classified, Clinton-related emails on the unsecured Abedin/Weiner hard drive. If there are, this becomes an important national security case involving foreign intelligence gathering and military secrets. “There is no case here,” Mrs. Clinton claimed, but the FBI is also investigating alleged “pay for pay” schemes at the Clinton Foundation.
James Kallstrom, a retired senior FBI officer who was in charge of the Bureau’s New York City office on 9/11, last week told a radio interviewer Mrs. Clinton and her husband, disbarred and impeached former President Bill Clinton, are “part of a crime family” and described the Clinton Foundation as a “cesspool.” He also blasted Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch for impeding the Clinton email investigation, “which was never a real investigation.” Ouch!
We recall Ms. Lynch met with Bill Clinton on an Arizona airport tarmac last summer a few days after Comey declined to prosecute Mrs. Clinton. Ms. Lynch, Comey’s boss, has now criticized the FBI director for reopening the Clinton email investigation. Draw your own conclusions.
Writing in “The Hill,” Charles Faddis, a retired CIA operations officer, said that mixing classified and unclassified information “is unheard of, and a major criminal offense. . . . Nobody uses a private email server for official business. Period. Full stop.” I agree because if I had handled classified information the way Secretary of State Clinton did on her unsecured home computer, my Foreign Service career would have been over instantaneously. Period. Full stop.
Of course Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump immediately highlighted the Clinton email controversy in a last-minute attempt to turn his struggling campaign around. “Trump got a lifeline courtesy of the FBI,” wrote David Jackson of USA Today. In Las Vegas last Sunday, Trump told supporters “we have one ultimate check on Hillary’s corruption, and that’s the power of the vote.”
We’ll know by Tuesday evening how this unanticipated October Surprise affected the final election results. Stay tuned. And by the way, if you don’t vote on Tuesday don’t complain about the results on Wednesday.
Guy W. Farmer, a retired diplomat, is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.