By, Jason Taylor
This election cycle has become a referendum on the validity of democratic institutions with political partisans deliberately sowing seeds of discord, racism, and often inciting outright violence. Pure lies and innuendo about non-existent threats (like voter fraud and a rigged system) have been used to undermine and perhaps permanently damage American democracy. The last thing that was needed was the head of the almost entirely white male FBI to violate his legal obligations out of bias and a personal political agenda.
On October 28, only 11 days before the election, when it seemed Comey couldn’t make things worse, he did just that. He issued a statement about nothing, which effectively intimated just about anything imaginable. Now, with a day left before the election, after he’s severely damaged Hillary Clinton while profoundly aiding Donald Trump and his chances of winning the election, he says he has no evidence.
The cloud lifted over Hillary should by all rights shift now to the inner workings of the FBI. Guiliani’s admission that active FBI agents fed him information requires a full investigation by the Justice Department and Congress. Comey has turned an apolitical entity into a political behemoth.
Those of us who have just a basic understanding of how prosecutions work knew this would be the outcome. Right-wing partisans spent the last 9 days using Comey’s statement to reframe the race, going so far as to say they had information from the FBI (a blatant lie) that Comey’s statement proved Clinton would be indicted. This is precisely why the law precludes the FBI director from speaking and acting in such a partisan and illegal manner prior to an election. Comey’s conduct has seriously damaged law enforcement, the entire legal process, and our democratic system.
A week ago Trump loved Mr. Comey. Now he is corrupt and part of the rigged system. Unfortunately, Mr. Comey did a lot of damage, and with early voting, some people may have changed their minds based on the vague letter written October 28. There still should be an investigation regarding the matter. At the end of the day, though, what this illustrates is there is a good reason for the protocol and policy that has been in place not to make pronouncements near an election, and not to discuss on-going investigations.
By making insinuations that later were found to have no validity was very damaging. It is not only Mrs. Clinton that should be concerned about this type of activity. Many FBI investigations end up going nowhere — no recommendation of prosecution and no charges ever filed. It would be a travesty if people’s lives were ruined because law enforcement made broad pronouncements of possible wrongdoing, and then later said — OOPS — nothing here. The damage is already done, and the person will forever be under a cloud.
Time to start cleaning out your desk Mr. Comey.