Debate: Yes, Director James Comey, You Are A Weasel
November 1, 2016 (Fault Lines) — Ed. Note: In light of the reaction to FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress regarding the trove of Hillary Clinton emails discovered on Anthony Wiener’s computer, Josh Kendrick and Andrew King have been pressed into service to debate the following: Should Director Comey have sent the letter to Congress or waited until after the election? This is Josh Kendrick’s argument:
Never have so many people, with so little actual knowledge, had so many opinions about a proverbial call from the FBI. The normal American has no real idea what that call means. When you hear what Ronald Reagan considered the nine most terrifying words in the English language come out of the mouth of an FBI agent, life as you know it is over.
Last week’s October Surprise came straight from the mouth of not just any FBI agent, but the head FBI agent, Director Comey. The man in charge. The man who previously found Clinton’s e-mail habits to be extremely careless, but not criminal.
Comey got big praise for his integrity and non-partisan handling of the Clinton probe. From Democrats. Republicans were convinced he was a hack who was just another Clinton cover up artist. Of course, now everybody has flip-flopped. Comey is a Republican hack, according to noted sources like your Facebook feed. Or he is once again a man of integrity and honesty, but this time according to the right wingers.
No matter which party floats your boat, and which candidate you hate more (or less), Comey’s move was bullshit. He doesn’t have the information required to release any real news on this investigation. Comey should have kept his mouth shut until he could actually tell people something.
When your friend or neighbor or boss gets arrested for drunk driving, you don’t know about it. Or don’t care about it. But when you hear that same person is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, everything changes. When the feds show up, it is serious.
The FBI doesn’t come by itself. It comes with the full weight of the Department of Press Releases Justice. The weight of a federal investigation is more than an arrest. It is more than an accusation. It is the full power of the United States of America, brought down heavily on your head. There are news conferences and early dawn raids and windbreaker wearing agents with assault rifles and search warrants.
When all of that is over, guess what? No one cares if you end up guilty or innocent. The taint of the federal investigation sticks with you forever. Hillary Clinton is running for President of the United States. And she is going to be President or not be President in seven days. Eleven days after Comey decided to vaguely inform the country he was investigating more somethings from somewhere that mean whatever. Comey’s non-announcement could make his vague words quite powerful.
Comey is probably not calculating an effect on next week’s election. He isn’t sly like a fox. His move wasn’t a show of force to push the election one way or the other. Not strong like bull. No, his words were ambiguous and misleading. He said something that sounded like something that didn’t really mean anything. Google says that makes him a weasel.
What is the point of all of this? Hard to say. Comey has already said Clinton’s emailing was not criminal, but “extremely careless.” It’s kind of hard to believe a search for Weiner pics turned up a smoking gun that somehow changes that earlier opinion.
If Comey wanted to tell us something, he should have told us something. Instead he makes a vague assertion that there is new evidence in an investigation he already said didn’t reveal any criminal behavior. Then he sends another vague follow up saying he is going to do whatever he is doing with whatever he might have found just as quick as he can.
All this matters, because unfairness flows downhill, not uphill. If the FBI can so cavalierly disregard a presidential candidate, what do you think is going to happen to you? It’s nice they have decided to speed up the investigation, but where does this leave the rest of us?
Agents had already taken exhaustive steps to track down the emails from her private account, so it was unlikely that undiscovered ones would be found now, [legal experts and former federal agents] said. Agents also would have to find evidence that Clinton intentionally violated classification laws, which Comey said they did not find in their investigation that concluded in July.
In other words, Comey’s weasel words are much ado about nothing. But less than two weeks before an election, they could have a significant impact on an important process. To be clear, I want the FBI not to say anything about you and your federal shenanigans until it is quite sure you did something wrong. I am not arguing Clinton should get special treatment. I am arguing all of us should get fair treatment.
Rebuttal: Andrew King thinks Comey got it wrong the first time and is correcting his mistakes. That makes sense if you think everybody is just a criminal waiting to be caught. By the same reasoning, if he got it right the first time, this is wrong. Seems like your opinion will turn on whose yard sign you have in front of your house.
Comey hasn’t made any emails public. He has just made an investigation public. In fact, you can google your heart out. As of this morning, there is not a single clue available as to what those emails might say, or not say.
I agree with Andrew that it sucks when poor black people get chewed up by an unfair system and a rich, powerful white woman gets a pass. But that is a familiar, and puzzling, refrain. So we let the system chew up Hillary Clinton and spit her out, jobless and busted? Somehow that makes up for all the unfairness poor people experience?
Here is a thought. From the corner crack dealer to the presidential candidate, how about the FBI keep its mouth shut until it has something to say?