The crazy 2016 presidential election cycle is playing out like a bad episode of “Game of Thrones.”
This week saw a character that everyone had thought was dead return for an encore: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is back.
This past Friday FBI Director James Comey, formerly Republican Public Enemy Number 1, showed just how fickle the wheel of fortune can be. The director sent a letter to Congress informing them of new developments in an FBI investigation that might be pertinent to the Clinton email investigation, which the FBI wrapped up in July without recommending any charges be brought against the former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate.
In the process, Comey pivoted from being the public official every Republican likes to bash to becoming the new Democrat Enemy Number 1, while also demonstrating just how hypocritical politics can be. Now many Washington insiders and Democratic officials are slamming a man they characterize as a politicized and partisan FBI director, who just a few short months ago they praised as the epitome of non-partisanship.
Comey was actually nominated to his current position by President Obama. When the President Obama appointed Comey, he praised the former federal prosecutor’s “fierce independence and deep integrity.” Looks like those are two qualities the president and the Clintons may be wishing Comey did not actually demonstrate after all.
In this writer’s opinion, Comey was wrong not to bring any charges against Hillary Clinton. Her use of a private server was completely illegal and should serve to disqualify her from the presidency. (In fact he even said that “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.” This is basically admittance that a crime was committed by the former Secretary of State.)
However, it did appear at the time and is somewhat confirmed now that Comey did believe he was doing the right thing. In the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, Captain Jack Sparrow memorably quips, “I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you never know when they’re going to do something incredibly stupid.”
This letter and potential reopening of the Clinton email investigation appears to be an example of Comey being that honest man. He apparently felt like he should send this letter to Congress, and he did, just as he felt that Hillary should not face charges and therefore did not recommend that she do so. Both decisions proved to be Comey following his own conscience – even if it meant going against what the book might recommend, it should be noted – in the face of resistance and pushback from both sides of the aisle. Particularly, though, he was slammed for near dereliction of duty for refusing to recommend charges for Clinton in July.
Since then, WikiLeaks has published thousands of Clinton’s emails on the internet (demonstrating the inability of the server to keep the emails private in the first place and rather explicitly showing that this illegal private server was in fact a security issue).
Additionally, since July, and the reason for Comey’s letter, is that former New York congressman and the most tragicomic figure in American politics Anthony Weiner allegedly committed criminal behavior online. The former representative is currently under investigation by the FBI for an incident/relationship involving him sending numerous sexually explicit text messages to a 15-year- old girl in North Carolina. Weiner is married to Clinton éminence grise Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s closest assistant, and it appears that in the course of investigating the congressman’s digital trail, FBI investigators turned up potentially incriminating evidence related to the Clinton investigation.
At this point, this revelation will probably not change much about this election. We the American people are choosing between the two least liked (by the numbers), least ethical and least responsible presidential candidates in American history. Polarization is higher than it has ever been, and there is almost nothing the candidates could do at this point to sway their hardcore voters one way or the other.
The two-party system may not have completely failed at governing our great nation just quite yet, but it has completely failed to produce acceptable candidates in this election cycle.
At various times this year, James Comey has been called an honest man by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Paul Ryan and Donald Trump. That recognized honesty is exactly why neither party is happy and why official Washington does not seem to care very much at all for the current director of the FBI. Regardless of who wins the election, I suspect that Comey will be looking for a new job come 2017.