FBI director James Comey this morning gave a press conference in which he described in great detail precisely what it was that Hillary Clinton did in the email scandal and the relevant legislation. At the very end, he stated that the FBI was not going to recommend to AG Loretta Lynch that a criminal indictment take place.
The general response among pundits was that this was a “great victory” for HC. Perhaps. But was it a great victory for the Democratic Party? Time will, of course, be the final arbiter, but there’s another possible take here.
In effect, what Comey did may be more subtle than appears.
On the surface, the whole affair, including the meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton, smells to high heaven. It smells so much that it is difficult to understand how it could have been allowed to go so far. And when Comey did his strange routine, the whole thing became even more mysterious.
What Comey did was this: the laid out in the greatest detail the strong criminal case against HC under “gross negligence” legislation and then declined to recommend prosecution! This certainly increases the impression that “the fix is in.” But, if the fix was indeed in, then why would he lay out such a damning case against her? It makes him look bad and it certainly energizes the conservative voting public against her. Well, maybe that was precisely his intent, especially if there was indeed pressure being applied on HC’s behalf.
Here’s a possible scenario. Obama or his minions lean on Comey. Comey contacts Lynch who has also had pressure. They decide that Lynch would shift the decision burden to Comey (which she did). Comey decides to satisfy his bosses by meeting the letter of their demand: he agrees to not recommend criminal indictment (which he did). But, he’s a pissed off Republican, so he reasons that publishing a complete and damning case against her even as he recommends no criminal indictment will have the following consequences.
First, it will avoid a bad and likely outcome. Had Comey recommended indictment, it is very likely that the Party would have dumped HC and brought in Biden. The voting population on both sides would likely have heaved a sigh of relief and moved on masse behind him, assuring a Democratic victory. Comey’s move, instead, has the effect of simultaneously wounding her severely and yet keeping her as the Dem candidate.
At the same time, his move will further energize that vast part of the voting population who already believe that the fix is in.
There are two things in this speculation which are not really essential. There’s no need for Comey to have been pressured; he might have just decided that far more was to be gained from having a wounded HC staggering around on the campaign field than by finishing her off in a legal mercy killing. Second, it isn’t necessary to involve Lynch here at all. Lynch was in a terrible bind and her decision allowed her to escape her problem. In a sense, Bill Clinton’s “accidental” meeting with her was a great favour since it provided her with a convenient pretext for getting out of the fix she was in.
All in all, I think it likely that Comey’s performance will do much more damage to the Hildabeast than to Trump.