Last night, news broke on the campaign Web site of Hillary Clinton that several of her political supporters agree with her that James Comey is a big jerk for opening his mouth about the re-opened (that right, lefties, “re-opened”) Hillary email investigation. The twist: these particular political supporters used to work in the Department of Justice. Washington Times:
The Hillary Clinton campaign circulated Sunday night an open letter from former federal prosecutors and Justice Department officials criticizing FBI Director James Comey for his actions in recent days in the Clinton email investigation.
The Clinton campaign website posted the letter, which had more than 90 signatories, the most prominent being Eric H. Holder Jr., the Obama administration’s first attorney general.
First, it’s worth asking: who are these people? Big Media will tell you they are former Department of Justice officials . . . and that’s all Big Media will say. Is there anything else we should know about them? Well, Eric Holder was President Obama’s partisan hack Attorney General. Andrew McCarthy has a great piece on the letter which notes a couple of other names on the list: “Jamie Gorelick (President Bill Clinton’s deputy attorney general) and Larry Thompson (Comey’s predecessor as President George W. Bush’s deputy attorney general and an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump).” Then there is Stuart Gerson, an acting Attorney General during the Clinton administration; James Cole, an Assistant A.G. appointed by Barack Obama, initially by a recess appointment; Donald Ayer, a Bush-era A.G. who signed a letter in August condemning Trump, and so forth.
Are you starting to see a pattern here? These people are not big fans of Donald Trump.
When you look at the arguments this partisan group makes, it quickly becomes apparent that they are filled with trickery, Hillary Clinton talking points (but I repeat myself), and internal contradictions. Take this key paragraph, for example:
It is out of our respect for such settled tenets of the United States Department of Justice that we are moved to express our concern with the recent letter issued by FBI Director James Comey to eight Congressional Committees. Many of us have worked with Director Comey; all of us respect him. But his unprecedented decision to publicly comment on evidence in what may be an ongoing inquiry just eleven days before a presidential election leaves us both astonished and perplexed. We cannot recall a prior instance where a senior Justice Department official—Republican or Democrat—has, on the eve of a major election, issued a public statement where the mere disclosure of information may impact the election’s outcome, yet the official acknowledges the information to be examined may not be significant or new.
There certainly are a lot of lawyerly qualifications in that sentence, aren’t there? Let me ask this question to these Trump haters: you say you never heard of an FBI official publicly commenting on evidence under these circumstances. Have you even heard of an FBI official withholding public comment under these circumstances? The answer is no, because they have so carefully circumscribed the description that it applies to this situation and this situation only.
Another relevant and related question: how often have we had a candidate for President under federal investigation in the final days of an election? See, Comey is having to make “unprecedented” decisions because he is in an unprecedented situation.
It’s also worth noting that it’s a situation that Comey contributed to himself — because of another unprecedented decision: his decision in July to publicly exonerate the target of an investigation (Hillary Clinton) before charges were ever submitted. And that decision, to all appearances, was prompted by another unprecedented action: Loretta Lynch chatting in a friendly manner with Bill Clinton, the spouse of the target of an investigation, before charges were submitted regarding that target. And, speaking of spouses, we have another unprecedented action here: the target of an investigation (Hillary Clinton) helping to raise half a million dollars for the campaign of the spouse of an FBI official who later supervised the investigation of the target.
So much unprecedented stuff going on there . . . and yet, I don’t recall reading a letter in July or since from these selfsame highly principled defenders of public integrity, complaining about any of these unprecedented actions. In fact, as we will see in the letter’s paragraph, they explicitly refuse to comment on the propriety of Comey’s comments in July. Hmmm. You know, the comments that benefited Hillary Clinton . . . by exonerating her of a crime when, under the language of the statute, she was clearly guilty.
What’s more, as you continue reading their letter, you see that right after complaining about Comey publicly commenting on evidence, these principled folks next complain that Comey is not commenting publicly in enough detail:
Director Comey’s letter is inconsistent with prevailing Department policy, and it breaks with longstanding practices followed by officials of both parties during past elections. Moreover, setting aside whether Director Comey’s original statements in July were warranted, by failing to responsibly supplement the public record with any substantive, explanatory information, his letter begs the question that further commentary was necessary. For example, the letter provides no details regarding the content, source or recipient of the material; whether the newly-discovered evidence contains any classified or confidential information; whether the information duplicates material previously reviewed by the FBI; or even “whether or not [the] material may be significant.”
You can’t have it both ways, partisan hacks. You can’t whine about the fact that Comey is talking about this in the first place, and then complain that he is not saying enough.
Even if those do happen to be the exact talking points of the Hillary Clinton campaign (and they do), that alone does not mean that they make sense.
It’s a partisan hit job by former DoJ officials against a sitting FBI Director. And that in itself seems — say it with me now! — unprecedented.