Comey's Failure
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Politics and Activism

Comey's Failure

How his plan to exonerate Clinton backfired

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Comey's Failure
Quartz Media

The interview between Former FBI Director James Comey and George Stephanopoulos revealed new information surrounding Comey's decision to reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. Comey explained in the interview that the decision to reopen the investigation was not made by him alone. Comey stated, "The senior team of the FBI, including the general counsel, thought we have to."

So now we know that Comey did not act alone, but it is important to note that the decision to reopen the investigation undoubtedly hurt Hillary Clinton's chances and could have very well cost her the election. It is evident that Comey was aware of this possibility going in, but facing pressure from other FBI officials, forced him to go back on his prior reassurance that Clinton was no longer in need of investigation. It would be easy to dismiss Comey as a political hack working against Hillary Clinton, but his explanation during the interview shines a new light on his reasoning.

Now, do I think Comey is a political hack? Yes, I do. But not against Hillary Clinton. After Stephanopoulos asked Comey if his decision was made in some capacity to legitimize Clinton when she won the presidency, Comey acknowledged that,

"I don’t remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been because I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump, and so I’m sure that it was a factor,” Comey said. "I don’t remember spelling it out, but it had to have been, that she’s going to be elected president and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out"

Based on Comey's response, it would appear that this was a man acting with a goal in mind. Let's further break down that goal using his own statements. Comey, by his own admission, was acting as though Clinton was going to win the election. He further realized the implication of new Clinton emails appearing on the laptop of Anthony Weiner. Comey was evidently concerned with how this would impact Clinton's presidency if left untouched by the FBI. So what was his next move?

The FBI had forced his hand and made him reopen the investigation days before the election. It would be idiotic to assume Comey did not understand that his credibility would take a hit with this announcement. Comey gives context to the situation in his discussion with other FBI officials with one saying, "We can't possibly finish before the election because we have to read tens of thousands of emails".

This, to me, highlights a major problem. It was clear that they could not adequately review the information before the election ended. But wait, why did Comey then tell congressional leaders that their was no criminal wrongdoing? He just admitted on ABC that they did not have time to review all the emails. So how exactly would he know if there was no criminal activity within those emails?

Here's my take: Comey knew he had to reopen the investigation and understood how it could negatively impact Clinton's chances. So, he did what any good lawyer would do. He presented the investigation and got the chance to paint the scene and exonerate her before her political opponents could go after her post-victory.

His acknowledgement that there was not enough time to review all the emails and his subsequent conclusion that she was not guilty shows clear intent to exonerate without proper investigation. It was a facade designed to appease the American public and convince them that Clinton did nothing wrong even after the evidence was not properly reviewed before a true conclusion was reached.

This would have worked out in Clinton's favor had Comey not gone about the investigation so poorly. Comey's investigation was not convincing and therefore left a bad taste in voter's mouths when it came time to hit the polls.

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