If Hillary Clinton thought she was out of the woods regarding the email server scandal, she’s dead wrong. There’s more talk about it now than before. Here are a few of the things being said about FBI Director James Comey’s decision not to recommend indictment.
Politico says there are five takeways:
For the past 16 months, since The New York Times “homebrew” server story broke, GOP operatives, voters and talk-radio and media types have banked on an FBI deus ex machina to once and for all crush the Wicked Witch of the Left. Then, on Tuesday, Bureau Director James Comey, a career prosecutor who reeks of rectitude and contempt for Clinton’s behavior, walked to a lectern to declare Madam Secretary’s actions had been “extremely careless” but not criminal.
Here are five consequences of Comey’s decision:
1) Americans still don’t trust Clinton. Imagine an alternate universe in which the email story wasn’t hanging over Clinton’s head for an entire campaign — a world in which the candidate hadn’t provided the hammers used to demolish her old sky-high State Department approval ratings. . .
2) Paranoia may destroy her. The email scheme (conceived by a half-dozen longtime aides and lawyers in secret) came as no surprise to everybody else not admitted to the innermost inner sanctum of Hillary land. . .
3) The system is rigged! Outsider rage is the fuel that rocketed Trump and Bernie Sanders through the primaries — and the FBI decision (fairly or not) immediately sparked charges that the fix was in. . .
4) Trump vs. Comey? The Republican “establishment” (which I will define as anybody not named Trump) reacted tentatively and with respectful disdain toward the FBI director’s decision to recommend against an indictment. “While I respect the law enforcement professionals at the FBI, this announcement defies explanation. No one should be above the law,” Speaker Paul Ryan wrote. . .
5) Stop using email. Put the politics and the legal issues aside: Comey’s statement essentially represented a public capitulation in the fight to safeguard government (or quasi-government setups like Clinton’s) for official business. . .
The Federalist was up in arms.
Well, everything the director said challenged that conclusion. At one point, for example, Comey explained that any “reasonable person should have known this was not an appropriate venue for classified emails.” Only minutes before that, Comey also said that “gross negligence” would suffice for prosecution.
And, of course, Donald Trump was upset, too. With this tweet,
FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2016
It is impossible for the FBI not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton. What she did was wrong! What Bill did was stupid!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2016
The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2016
Of course, Democrats were elated, such as in this FiveThirtyEight article.
The Republican yearning to pin a scandal on Hillary Clinton knows no bounds. Any scandal will do, real or imagined. She must somehow be — or appear to be — guilty of something.
They tried Benghazi. Boy, did they try Benghazi. House Republicans even put together a special committee, which House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy praised for hurting Clinton’s chances of being elected president. . .
Adding insult to injury, the Benghazi committee came up empty-handed. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the panel’s chairman, released a final report last week that found no smoking gun. In fact, it didn’t find smoke.
Meanwhile, Breitbart charges perjury.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified under oath before the House Select Committee on Benghazi last October that she had turned over “all my work related emails” from her private email server to the State Department.
But on Tuesday, FBI director James Comey revealed that the agency had found “several thousand” work-related emails Clinton had not turned over, including three that included information that had been classified at the time that they had been sent.
FiveThirtyEight says the FBI announcement may have made things worse for Hillary.
natesilver: There was that language, “extremely careless,” which we’d be likely to hear in Donald Trump attack ads, if Trump were organized enough to run attack ads. . .
micah: But as far as non-indictments go, this is bad for Clinton, no? I mean, no one serious really thought she would be indicted, and Comey was very critical. . .
natesilver: That’s my view, basically, Micah. The chance of an indictment was extremely low. And conditional on there not being an indictment, this wasn’t a great outcome for Clinton. Comey was quite critical of Clinton and elevated the issue above the partisan fray a bit, in a way that could play well in attacks down the line.
harry: (If Trump can afford any ads.) Comey basically confirmed what many people already thought about Clinton: She’s untrustworthy. That’s a major reason she has such poor favorability numbers.
Yes, Comey’s language didn’t make matters better for Hillary, so Republicans should be happy about that. But here’s another reason why Republicans might be happy.
“I can’t thank Director [James] Comey enough for coming to this decision,” West wrote.
The conservative firebrand said he “always” had “concern” President Barack Obama would “release the hounds” on Clinton in an effort to replace her as the presumptive Democratic nominee with Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden, West contended, would have been far more difficult for Donald Trump to defeat in November.
“That would be a really tough ticket to beat, since Joe Biden’s favorables, regardless of gaffes and such, are extremely high,” West wrote.
West wrote that Comey had instead opted to leave Clinton in the race as a significantly damaged candidate — a “gift wrapped with a bow” to Republicans.
Of course, this isn’t the first email scandal. George Bush had one, too.
With all the talk of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, there’s been little mention of a similar email scandal under President George W. Bush that didn’t get a lot of media coverage.
In 2007, the Bush White House admitted to losing millions of emails.
The revelation came when Congress was looking into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys. Investigators found that several White House officials, including top adviser Karl Rove, had been using private emails set up on a Republican National Committee server for White House business. Those emails were not properly archived.[and from CNN:]
The administration was already facing sharp questions about whether top presidential advisers including Karl Rove improperly used Republican National Committee e-mail that the White House said later disappeared.
. . .over a two-year period official White House e-mail traffic for hundreds of days has vanished — in possible violation of the federal Presidential Records Act. . .
“This story is really now a two-part issue,” CREW’s Melanie Sloan told CNN. “First there’s the use of the RNC e-mail server that’s inappropriate by White House officials and secondly we’ve also learned that there were between March of 2003 and October of 2005 apparently over 5 million e-mails [later found to be 22 million] that were not preserved and these are e-mail on the regular White House server.”
In the end, however, Breitbart reminds us the final decision will be made by voters in November.
“Despite an extensive investigation acknowledging Secretary Clinton was ‘careless’ and ‘reckless’ in her use of a private email server as Secretary of State, the F.B.I. has recommended not pursuing charges against Clinton. Fortunately, the American people still have a chance to render a final judgment on Election Day against crooked Hillary Clinton,” [David Bossie, chairman of the Super PAC Defeat Crooked Hillary] said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. . .
The Defeat Crooked Hillary Super PAC was launched for donors who wish to defeat Clinton, but do not want to publicly support Trump.