Home 2016 elections This Second Comey Communication Matters

This Second Comey Communication Matters


So FBI Director James Comey has now come forward and said, in essence, that they’ve completed the review (announced so unfelicitously in Comey’s notorious letter to Congress), and that Hillary is basically in the clear. The decision that prosecution is not called for has been affirmed.

I believe this matters. It matters less, I think, in terms of how many votes Hillary will get on Tuesday, though there could be a bit of that. More important is that it matters in changing the mood. A shadow that Comey unwisely cast over the presidential race in its final days has now been dispelled.

That changes the feel, the climate of our glide path to Election Day.

Yes, the battle against those determine to demonize and criminalize Hillary will still have to be waged. This is not the end of the Republicans’ attempts to discredit her, and rob her of her presidential powers.

But we can go into Election Day with a bit less burdened brow, and a sunnier sense of possibility. Less bull determination to vanquish the SOBs, and more celebration of what we have good reason to hope will be, come Tuesday night, an important victory.

The spirit plays a role in human affairs.

  • notjohnsmosby

    The problem is, it gave some air to the Trump campaign. They’re still drowning, but it bought them time to edge a couple million voters their way. They’ll still lose, but Dem Senate and House gains will be reduced, which was probably the main point in the first place. Stir crap up for a week or so, then say “oh yeah, nothing there”. Damage done.

    • That damage was also transmitted down ballot, which I believe was James Comey’s and his employees intent. The good news is that James Comey and the FBI leakers can now be removed from their positions via Hatch Act violations.

      • Elaine Owens

        Sen. Franken said today that there should be a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee about Comey and the FBI rogue elements.
        I agree. I also agree with Thomas. Comey, at least it appears so, was trying to help down-ballot Republicans with his ploy. I don’t think for a minute he did this because of his testimony before Congress. He never should have said to Congress that he would keep them informed of anything that came up.

        • They were looking at a absolute blowout and they simply decided that the punishment of the Hatch Act would be more of a reward than a liability, since they now can get far better jobs in the emerging alt-right American fascist regime apparatus.

        • Andy Schmookler

          I have long suspected what you assert here, Elaine, that it was all politically motivated on Comey’s part. But I also feel uncertain, for two reasons: people who know Comey, and whom I respect — including top Democrats — interpret his motives differently; and there’s the story, which I don’t really understand, that he was trying to head-off the FBI leakers of “Trumpland” inside the FBI.

          So bottom line: I don’t know. But regardless of his motives, his judgment was so poor and his control over the agency seems so inadequate (though this might not be fair– would some other Director have been able to head off these pro-Trump, Guiliani-connected FBI people?) that he has to go.

          It cannot be OK to botch things that badly in that way at that time in such an important position as head of the FBI.

          • Elaine Owens

            The fact that the FBI leaked information concerning an ongoing investigation should concern every American. This nation is a nation of laws, not rogue elements that have the power to intimidate and insinuate guilt before any proof has been given. If Comey did what he did because he needed to head off a rogue office in New York, then he does not have the ability to control the FBI. At the very least, the inspector general should investigate that office, people close to the Trump campaign – like the former mayor of New York – should be deposed under oath, and any agent of the FBI who is found to have leaked information should be summarily fired. As for Comey, he needs to face congressional hearings . I do believe he was smart enough to avoid breaking the Hatch Act in such a way that his actions could be prosecuted under that law. In short, the Federal Bureau of Investigation needs to be investigated.

    • Andy Schmookler

      I agree that the damage that Comey did has not been undone. For whatever reason — and people entitled to an opinion on the matter disagree about what that reason was — Comey unncessarily and inappropriately breathed life into the Trump campaign, as you say. But given that the whole episode is unfortunate and should never have happened, nonetheless it is worth noting that this dispelling of the shadow matters. What was already promising has been fortified further, and the feeling of the moment is a tad less burdened.

      • A few of my tweets so far:

        Why is he still FBI Director? And why are the rogue agents still employed?

        SHOCKER that it was about NOTHING, which is what 99.999999% of stuff about the Clintons is about. NOTHING. So sick of this crap.

        All the more reason for Dems to turn out in DROVES on Tuesday and tell Comey where to shove it!!!

        Every “journalist” and rogue//right-wing FBI agent who pushed this bull**** emails non-story needs to be fired. Immediately.

        FBI Director Comey says agency won’t recommend charges over Clinton email http://wpo.st/IvKC2 //Of course not. Stupidest non-issue EVER

        • Also posted this comment on the Washington (Com)Post:

          “So…Comey, a bunch of rogue, right-wing FBI agents and you fine people in the corporate media make this stupid non-issue into a HUGE issue, and now two days before the election – with untold damage done – it’s like, “oh, forget all that?” Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”

        • Andy Schmookler

          A thought re the question, “Why is he still FBI Director?”

          What I expect will happen is that he will no longer be FBI Director by Inauguration Day (assuming Hillary wins). Obama would want to spare Hillary the task of compelling him to resign, when she has a kind of personal stake that may make it look like an act of political revenge. Obama has better standing to do this, and he has been very gentle in his criticisms of Comey and has spoken words of praise of him, even if he ought not to have operated “in terms of innuendo.”

          Bottom line: it would have been a mistake to have taken any kind of official action against Comey (by the president or the attorney general), injurious to the campaign.

          But once the election is over, Obama can asked Comey to submit his resignation, perhaps saying something like the need for new leadership to restore a greater degree of professional order into the FBI, while Obama accepts his resignation and recites Comey’s many fine qualities and long-time public service, including his standing up to Bush’s bullies by the bedside of the ill John Ashcroft).

          Hillary comes in a nominates her own person to head the FBI, with none of Comey’s blood on her hands.

          • Also need to clean house at the FBI, starting with any agent who put their own personal political views ahead of justice.

          • Andy Schmookler

            I agree about the house-cleaning at the FBI. Maybe Obama should make sure that some sort of Inspector General or Special Prosecutor or something with presumed integrity ferret out any FBI people who violated FBI rules or American laws and deal with them appropriately. Again, easier for him to get that started than for the new president to have to antagonize an agency that is of great importance, and that has already shown itself to be — in some potentially impactful rogue part — able and eager to hurt her.

          • notjohnsmosby

            I might be wrong, but I don’t believe the President can actually fire the FBI director. That’s why their terms are 10 years, so they stretch over at least two different Presidencies. They’re supposed to be independent and non-political.

            I don’t think the email stuff moved the dial more than a point or so. All of the tightening of polls was from the collapsing Gary Johnson campaign. Once Republicans abandoned him – similar to Dems who took a look at Stein and then ran screaming away from her – they re-examined Trump. That’s why Trump’s support is up 2 points over the last couple of weeks – Republicans coming home.

            The panic did energize a lot of Dems to get out of the complacent move they were in in mid-October, when dreams of a double-digit Hillary win were being hypothesized. The polls stabilized mid week anyways, and with the Hispanic turnout a lot higher than anyone thought, the polls were already looking a little shaky. With today’s news, none of it’s impact will show up in the polls, so we won’t really know for sure what true impact Comey had on the top of the ticket.

          • Andy Schmookler

            ” I don’t believe the President can actually fire the FBI director”

            I don’t know how it works in terms of the FBI director, and how he can or can’t be relieved of his job before his 10-year term is up.

            It has been a long time since Watergate, when L. Patrick Gray was left “twisting slowly in the wind” by the Nixon gang. I don’t recall how his departure worked, except that some misconduct was exposed and he submitted his resignation.

            I would imagine that whatever the official immunities may be, this would not be any Saturday Night Massacre with Comey being fired. More like some acceptable way for him to take the step of resigning, albeit everyone would know that he took that step under some pressure.

            It might also be that Comey doesn’t need to be pushed. It’s no secret that the FBI has been greatly damaged and compromised, and this has happened under his watch. Whatever the level of individual fault, the buck for the FBI stops at the Director’s desk.

            (It is lucky for Comey’s intestines that he is not a traditional Japanese. In that ethic, screwing up as badly as Comey has might well lead to something more drastic than mere resignation from office.)

  • Well the good news is that we now know that James Comey and a good fraction of the employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation still worship H. Edgar Hoover’s aszhole.

  • I strongly agree with what my friend, Josh Israel of ThinkProgress, says: “FBI Director Comey needs to resign immediately, or President Obama needs to fire him on Wednesday. His behavior was, if I may say it, deplorable. And once again, it is clear that Clinton has been vindicated.”

  • Andy Schmookler

    A word about how Clinton’s probabilities have moved upward on the futures market predictit.org in just the past few days.

    Not at all long ago, partly as a result of the FBI misdeeds — maybe it was Thursday — Clinton’s probability
    had sunk down as low as 65 percent on the futures market. Now they are
    at 80 percent.

    Much of that move happened as a result of poll numbers, I
    think, and the sense that the Trump rise had stopped with her still in
    good shape, and maybe even begun to reverse. And there was all this encouraging talk
    about the tidal wave of Hispanic voters.

    Now with this second
    communication from Comey, there has been another jump, with the gap
    between Clinton’s chances and Trump’s increasing by another 8 percent.