Republican Questioning of FBI’s Comey Turns Into Embarrassing Disaster for the GOP

The Republican witch hunt against Hillary Clinton for using a private email server is far from over (they did stretch the Benghazi nonsense out for nearly four years), but things have not gone how they had hoped they would after the the FBI announced that it would not recommend criminal charges against the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

Well, on Thursday, Republicans decided they’d hold a blatant political stunt hoping for a “gotcha” moment bring FBI Director James Comey in front of Congress for questioning.

While they did get Comey to say a few things negatively about Clinton, when they asked most of their blatantly leading questions, the answers he provided typically did nothing but debunk a lot of the propaganda Republicans have been pushing about this entire situation for over a year.

Let me run through a few of the “lowlights” for Republicans.

1. When Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) asked if the classified emails that Clinton received were properly marked, Comey said they were not. He stated that they should have had headers and banners indicating they were classified. He even went on to say that it would be a “reasonable inference” to assume that, with the absence of these banners and headers, Clinton could have easily assumed the email was not classified.

This means that while some were marked classified (which is a contradiction to what Clinton has been saying this whole time), none of the ones found on her server were properly marked and he believes it was “reasonable” for Clinton to then assume that those emails were not, in fact, classified.

2. When Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) asked if Clinton lied to the FBI, Comey said, “We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.” 

In other words, what she told the FBI lined up with the rest of their extensive investigation.

3. When Chaffetz asked, “Did Hillary Clinton break the law,” in reference to her setting up this private email server, Comey said that based on his experience as a lawyer and in law enforcement that it was his “judgment that she did not.” 

Yes, that’s the Director of the FBI saying that Hillary Clinton did not break the law when she used the server. This is huge considering the whole basis for most of the GOP’s propaganda about this situation is their belief that she should be indicted because she broke the law — even though the Director of the FBI just told Congress that she didn’t.

4. When Republicans tried to compare what Clinton did with former CIA Director David Petraeus, Comey slammed the door on that really quickly by pointing out the huge differences between the two situations: 

In that case, you had vast quantities of highly classified information … not only shared with someone without authority to have it, but we found it in a search warrant, hidden under the insulation in his attic, and then he lied to us about it during the investigation. So you have obstruction of justice. You have intentional misconduct. And a vast quantity of classified information. He admitted it was the wrong thing to do.

“The Petraeus case, to my mind, illustrates perfectly the kind of cases the Department of Justice is willing to prosecute,” Comey said.

He also said what Petraeus did was “far worse” than anything Clinton did by using her server.

5. Republicans tried to bring up the case of former CIA Director John M. Deutch who pled guilty in 2001 to mishandling classified documents, only for Comey to instantly shut that comparison down just as quickly as he did their attempt to compare what Petraeus did by pointing out that the two situations are much different:

He [Deutch] took a huge amount of documents, attempted to destroy some of them when he got caught, admitted: “I knew I wasn’t suppose to be doing this.” Those are the kinds of cases that get prosecuted.

This whole thing was asinine. Unless you’re someone who simply dislikes Clinton, I’m pretty sure most rational people watching what went on Thursday could clearly tell that this whole thing wasn’t about questioning FBI Director Comey to find out why the investigation concluded the way it did — it was just Republicans asking leading questions, trying to get him to feed into attacks they want to use against her.

To call what happened Thursday a farce wouldn’t even do it justice — it was an absolute joke. Instead of getting their “gotcha” moments that they were obviously hoping for, Republicans got Comey to:

  • Admit that, even though classified emails did pass through her server, none of those emails were properly marked and it was “reasonable” for her to have assumed they weren’t classified.
  • Say that she didn’t lie to the FBI.
  • Debunk the biggest lie Republicans have been pushing this whole time that she broke the law by flat-out saying that she didn’t break any laws.
  • Destroy all these Republicans who’ve been claiming that Clinton was getting “special treatment” since two individuals (Deutch and Petraeus) were convicted of crimes for similar behavior by pointing out that, not only was what Clinton did not remotely similar to the behavior of those two men, but the crimes they were convicted of were much worse. That actually proves just how little these Republicans trying to compare these situations actually understand about what Clinton was investigated for and the crimes for which Deutch and Petraeus were convicted.

Unfortunately, this is far from over. Republicans are going to stretch this out for months, if not years, doing everything they possibly can to make this into a bigger deal than it really is. Trust me, if there’s some sort of political stunt or rule they can use to try to go after Clinton over this, they’re going to use it.

And just like Benghazi, no matter what the truth ultimately is, all they’re going to do is waste time (and probably millions of taxpayer dollars) on nothing but a political stunt aimed at trying to slander the reputation of a political rival.

It won’t matter one bit that a director of the FBI — who worked for George W. Bush — went in front of hostile congressional Republicans and essentially shut down most of their biggest arguments against Hillary Clinton, because he didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear – even though everything he said was the truth.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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