Monday, October 31, 2016

Feeling Sorry for James Comey

That's just not something my temperament leans toward, and given his generalship in the state's war on encryption, I doubt I have to explain why.

On the other hand, it's hard not to feel for him in the current controversy over the whining from Hillary Clinton's surrogates that he should have continued to cover Clinton's ass for just a little while longer on the Servergate scandal.

I stay away from "here's what we know" claims, because really they are "here's what we'd like to think we know but really may not" claims. So here's what I think we kinda sorta know that may or may not be entirely accurate.

According to CNN, "[b]y mid-October, Comey learned investigators in the [Anthony Weiner sexting] case might have found something that could have an impact on the now-closed probe into Hillary Clinton's private email server, according to one law enforcement official."

Also according to CNN, Comey received a full briefing as to what that something was on Thursday, "triggering his decision to notify members of Congress Friday that the FBI was reviewing emails potentially related to Clinton's server."

A couple of things to keep in mind here:

  • From the Clinton campaign's perspective, there was no "good time" for this information to come out. If it had come out two weeks ago, or two months ago, or two years ago, the Clinton camp would have claimed that it was just a political attempt to derail her presidential aspirations. If it hadn't come out until three weeks from now, they would have claimed it was just a political attempt to derail her presidency. The Clinton campaign's attitude is that Hillary Clinton is entitled to do anything Hillary Clinton wants to do because she is Hillary Clinton, and that anyone who even hints to the contrary is just part of a vast right-wing conspiracy to make The Greatest Human Being in History look bad. So Comey was going to be in trouble from that side if he even feinted in the general direction of doing his job, and no matter when said feint might take place.
  • From the perspective of congressional Republicans, the timing probably isn't TOO bad. On the other hand, it could have been better in several ways. Comey could have recommended indictment/prosecution of Clinton back in July when the evidence clearly called for doing so. Or he could have waited until after the election to reveal this latest so that its effect would be felt more in potential impeachment proceedings instead of election results (personally I think the GOP would be a lot happier with Clinton's head on an impeachment platter than with beating her at the polls, especially if they have to beat her with Donald Trump). But given how things are playing out, you know that if Comey had waited the Republicans would have accused him of playing politics even as they loved it.
So he's just not going to have a good couple of weeks, is he?

He was never going to, but the Clinton camp should be grateful that they got this much grace time.

The only reason Hillary Clinton is on the hustings instead of in the hoosegow right now is that she's Hillary Clinton. Any mere mortal who did what she did vis a vis the security of classified information would have been charged a long time ago, well before Comey gave his "well, we would charge her, but she's Hillary Clinton" press conference in July.

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