FBI Director James B. Comey’s latest bombshell recommendation that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t face charges over thousands of emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop might come too late to repair damage done to both Clinton and the FBI ahead of tomorrow’s vote — and bolsters Donald Trump’s claim that a “rigged” Washington has put her above the law.
Trump wasted no time making the point
“Right now, she is being protected by a rigged system,” Trump said at a rally in Michigan last night. “You can’t review 650,000 new emails in eight days. You can’t do it, folks. Hillary is guilty, she knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know it, and it’s up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on Nov. 8.”
Trump added, “rank-and-file agents at the FBI” won’t let her get away with deleting 33,000 emails, and that investigations of her “will go on for a long, long time.”
Comey turned the race on its head a week ago when he announced copies of emails related to Clinton’s scandalous private server were found on the disgraced former congressman’s laptop. Comey announced in a letter to Congress yesterday that the bureau has worked “around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails.”
“During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State,” Comey wrote. “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton. I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.”
The laptop reportedly contained 650,000 of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails. According to CNN, many were personal in nature or copies of emails already reviewed in the FBI’s prior Clinton probe. In July, the FBI concluded Clinton’s use of a private severer didn’t warrant charges, but that she was “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
Clinton’s camp yesterday hailed Comey’s letter as vindication. Spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted the campaign is “glad this issue is resolved but for the record, this could easily have been learned before 1st letter was sent.”
Other Democrats noted that Comey’s eleventh-hour interjection into the race had been damaging.
“Obviously this has been a disastrous couple of weeks for the FBI as an institution,” U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston), who stumped for Clinton in New Hampshire this weekend, told the Herald. “On the one hand, it is encouraging that Director Comey is now trying to clean up the mess that has swamped the presidential contest while millions of Americans are going to the polls. However, it is hard to overlook that this whole mess was Mr. Comey’s own creation.”
Former Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman Philip Johnston acknowledged Clinton “paid a price for having a private server,” but called Comey’s decisions to reopen the email wound “troubling.”
“But at least they moved quickly and she’s cleared, and I think it will help the outcome on Tuesday,” Johnston said.
Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a Trump supporter, said Comey’s decision drives home the point Clinton appears to be above the law, and avoided a penalty other bureaucrats, such as Gen. David Petraeus, faced for similar security breaches.
“Once again, there are two separate sets of rules,” Brown said. “These are the types of things that drive people crazy, and they recognize that if it was anybody else, they’d be in jail or they’d be fired.”
But Brown predicted the announcement will have limited effect on tomorrow’s vote. He posited that Trump’s improvement in the polls last week was more related to his ability to stay on message in the home stretch, as well as news of skyrocketing Obamacare premiums.
“I think the momentum for Trump is going to be very difficult to stop,” Brown said.
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