James Comey and the Continued Trial By Innuendo

James ComeyThe big news yesterday was that the FBI is going to further investigate Hillary Clinton about her email server. The Washington Post was typical of the angle of the coverage, Computer Seized in Weiner Probe Prompts FBI to Take New Steps in Clinton Email Inquiry. I think this is deceptive. Is this actually how the causality works? I think it’s the opposite. I think it’s more like this:

After months of attacks on FBI Director James Comey, he was looking for any reason at all to bolster his reputation in the Republican Party — the party that he belongs to. So when email files were found on a computer used by Weiner’s wife and Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, they pounced. The odds that there is anything here are minuscule.

The whole thing is entirely in keeping of all the Clinton scandals: innuendo and no substance. The FBI hasn’t gone through the files that they found. They don’t even know if the files they have are all duplicates of files they already had. But that didn’t stop James Comey from telling Congress that the FBI would take “appropriate investigative steps.” In a vacuum, that wouldn’t mean much. Less that two weeks before the election, it simply soils Clinton without any way for Clinton to defend herself nor any time for the FBI to finish its new investigation.

Working the Refs

There is a more charitable way to look at all this, of course. After all that Comey has been through, he wants to make sure that he protects himself. But it all comes to the same thing. The Republicans are the masters of working the refs. Thus far, there has been no real story about the FBI’s decision that there was nothing to prosecute Clinton over. But that hasn’t stopped the right wing from claiming that James Comey is absolutely part of some evil Democratic conspiracy.

The media play right along with it. After all, the media were the original referees that the Republicans got so good at working. They are the ones that fold at the slightest hint of disapproval — at least when it comes from conservatives.

But the truth is: the damage is done. All of Trump’s horrendous behavior and incoherent policies are so yesterday’s news. There is a new story out now! And the fact that there is almost nothing known actually makes it worse for Clinton. This, of course, is why the Clinton campaign is demanding that the FBI release any information it has.

James Comey Didn’t Say Anything Important

Comey’s letter basically said nothing. This is the most important part of it:

Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.

In short: I don’t know a damned thing but I’m terrified by you nut-jobs.

This is no way to run a democracy. I suspect that Comey’s banal letter won’t change the outcome of the election. People’s minds are made up. The people who care already “know” that Clinton is guilty of this and anything else you might want to name. But it does hurt her and just adds fuel to the fire of the crazies.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

11 thoughts on “James Comey and the Continued Trial By Innuendo

  1. I know nothing of the man, so I can’t assess his motives. But interestingly enough, that position is picked by the President and Senate. The House isn’t involved. And odds are a Clinton win carries the Senate with it, a Trump win vice-versa. Reopening the investigation gives him political cover in either case. So he could just be saving his job. But he could have done so after the election in the lame-duck period.

    I don’t know why the FBI even exists anymore. Per Wiki, here’s their mission:

    Protect the United States from terrorist attacks
    Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage
    Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes
    Combat public corruption at all levels
    Protect civil rights
    Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises
    Combat major white-collar crime
    Combat significant violent crime
    Support federal, state, local and international partners
    Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI’s mission

    Which of these can they point to with pride lately? Anti-terrorism? It’s all entrapment. White-collar crime? Civil rights? Hahahaha!

    Maybe their serial-killer unit is still good.

    • I’m more in favor of keeping the FBI. At least it makes a certain amount of sense. Now the CIA…

      But I quite agree about all these entrapment cases. Although I suspect there is heavy pressure on them to do that.

      • The mission statement makes sense. Are they actually competent at any of it?

        These secret agencies mostly have good beginnings. The FBI started as busting gangsters during Prohibition. Once Hoover got his hands on dirt he could use against politicians, it became a gay-hunting, civil-rights and labor-busting organization. The CIA started as the OSS, a spook agency in WWII. Then the agency’s director’s brother became Sec State, got Ike’s ear, and they were able to pursue their global shenanigans.

        I understand the need for some secrecy, but clearly it’s more abused than not. Maybe have some civilians on a kind of oversight panel? I dunno, yet obviously the Congress doesn’t rein them in.

        • Yeah, secrecy tends to corrupt. Most secrecy is just about shielding powerful people from embarrassment. And these faux sting operation are just about the appearance of getting things done. I don’t know. I’m feeling pretty cynical these days.

  2. I voted for Clinton last week, and it was a positive vote for her, not just a negative vote against Trump. The thought of Hillary Clinton as president excites me. But the thought of four to eight more years of “Clinton corruption” and ginned-up “scandals” that “cast shadows” over and “raise questions” about her ethics is so depressing that I want to blow the whole thing up and start over.

    • It was a blessed relief under Obama. He’s so personally liked by Democratic voters that the GOP could never really make accusations of his duplicity stick. Instead they went after Obamacare, the IRS, and Clinton. She’s never gonna get over refusing to play “the little woman” during Bill’s tenure, is she?

    • True. Although look at Obama’s years. There were no scandals of merit, but that hasn’t stopped the Republicans from pushing them. It really doesn’t matter who the Democrat is, it will be this way. But having lived through 8 years of it with Bill, it isn’t pleasant to think of 4-8 years of it with Hillary. But what are we gonna do? I keep wondering if some country in South America would take me.

  3. The entire admission that people like Chaffetz are going to abuse their power is so enraging. They flatly admit that this is what they plan on doing-just go after Clinton constantly. Why? “We don’t know. We just will.”

    So why don’t voters hold them accountable for their behavior? It is mind-boggling.

    • And the money! How much taxpayer dough to these “fiscal conservatives” waste on this stuff? It’s so ridiculous.

    • Voters don’t hold anyone accountable. Based upon what the Republicans have become over the last 35 years, they should have no supporters if this were about policy and competence.

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