The 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:
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.