By now most people have probably heard about the latest conspiracy Donald Trump and Republicans are pushing about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, concerning a draft of a statement which former FBI director James Comey began working on around six weeks before interviewing the former Secretary and several of her aides.
For those who haven’t, essentially what it boils down to is that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham claim transcripts from interviews with former aides to Comey indicate he was working on his draft to exonerate Clinton before he had spoken to her or several key individuals the FBI was going to question.
Naturally, Trump quickly picked up on this Friday morning, declaring that this proves the “system is rigged.”
The desperation from Trump and the GOP to continue using Clinton’s emails as a distraction from his incompetence and corruption is palpable. When all else fails, and they’re needing something to get conservative voters all worked up so they won’t realize how terrible he is or how their party isn’t getting anything done despite controlling both the House and the Senate — just bring up Clinton’s name.
However, like they often do, Trump, the GOP, and the conservative media are completely ignoring context, or how any of this stuff works, to push more ridiculous conspiracy theories.
By the time Comey began working on this draft, the FBI’s investigation was nearing its end. While they hadn’t yet interviewed Clinton, anyone with even an ounce of common sense should know that the FBI was already aware of what their ultimate conclusion was going to be. Unless Clinton or one of the last few people they planned to interview said something completely unexpected, by the time Comey decided to start working on this exoneration letter, I’m sure they knew there was nothing criminal linked to her use of a private email server.
Sources who spoke to CNN said almost the exact same thing:
A person familiar with the matter pushed back on the notion that Comey had already reached a conclusion that affected the investigation.
The person said back in spring 2016, agents and Justice Department officials were talking about how the investigation would end and there was a belief that the evidence was going in a direction to not support bringing charges. This individual said by April 2016 the FBI had reviewed most of the evidence and didn’t find evidence suggesting that Clinton had violated federal law. The person said the FBI wanted to interview her but didn’t believe it was going to change the outcome.
The source also said Comey was not involved in the day-to-day steps of the investigation, so even if he reached a conclusion it wouldn’t have affected the result of the investigation.
A second person familiar with the matter told CNN that Comey had not already made up his mind, and that it did not influence the investigation. The second source says the FBI had already reviewed much of the evidence by spring and it was becoming more clear that it was not likely to support bringing charges.
So, not only had the FBI already gone through practically all of the evidence, ultimately realizing nothing criminal had taken place — but Comey wasn’t even that involved in the day-to-day aspects of the investigation. Therefore his conclusion, if different from investigators, wouldn’t have affected the results of the overall investigation.
All Comey did was get a head start working on a letter he knew was going to be scrutinized and criticized by practically everyone.
Of course, to people who don’t know how any of this works, or have some sort of a personal agenda, such as Trump and the GOP, optically this looks bad. Whether they know it’s total b.s. or not doesn’t matter because Trump, his fellow Republicans, and the conservative media are going to try to make this into some giant scandal.
The bottom line is this, by the time James Comey began drafting this letter, the FBI had spent the better part of a year sifting through tens of thousands of emails and other various pieces of evidence. At that point, absent any shocking new evidence, or stunning testimony from Clinton, I think it’s safe to assume that they were already certain there wasn’t any reason to believe any laws were violated.
So, likely realizing what a delicate situation all of this was, especially with the general election quickly approaching, Comey began working on his public statement about the investigation several weeks beforehand so that it would be ready soon after everything wrapped up.
This is nothing more than another pathetic attempt by Donald Trump and the Republican Party to undermine the credibility of the FBI, while evoking Hillary Clinton’s name, because they know doing so gets conservative voters worked up and distracted from how absolutely incompetent, dishonest, and corrupt this current “president” and the GOP are.
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