On Sunday, FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI had concluded its review of emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer, and concluded that the emails were either duplicates of previously reviewed emails or personal emails that were non-government related. Comey pulled an Emily Litella: “Never mind!” 9 days after roiling campaign, FBI says it won’t seek charges against Clinton:
FBI Director James B. Comey said Sunday that the bureau had completed its examination of newly discovered emails connected to Hillary Clinton — an inquiry that had roiled the presidential race for nine days — and found nothing to alter its months-old decision not to seek charges against the former secretary of state for her use of a private email server.
In a letter to congressional committee chairmen, Comey said investigators had worked “around the clock” to review the emails. The investigators found that the emails were either duplicates of correspondence they had reviewed earlier or were personal emails that did not pertain to State Department business, government officials said.
The emails were on a computer used by former congressman Anthony Weiner — the estranged husband of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin — that was seized during an FBI investigation into lewd text messages that Weiner (D-N.Y.) is alleged to have sent to a 15-year-old girl.
In late October, Comey said that some of the emails on the computer, sent or received by Abedin, may have been “pertinent” to an FBI investigation of a private server that Clinton used to conduct government business.
On Sunday, however, Comey said that after reviewing emails on the computer, “we have not changed our conclusions expressed in July.”
A Clinton spokeswoman on Sunday made a brief statement to reporters on the Democratic nominee’s plane: “We are glad to see that . . . he has confirmed the conclusions that he reached in July,” Jennifer Palmieri said of Comey. “We are glad that this matter is resolved.”
This summer, Comey had ended an FBI probe into the server by saying that although he believed Clinton was “extremely careless” with classified information in the emails, Comey felt that “no reasonable prosecutor” would recommend criminal charges.
One of the government officials said Comey’s letter on Sunday was not an “interim report” but rather represented a conclusion of the investigation.
So, after nine days of uncertainty, the FBI’s investigators had ended where they began.
In the meantime, however, much had changed.
The FBI itself had been drawn into partisan politics, as leaks revealed internal fights between agents and prosecutors squabbling over proposed investigations of the Clinton family.
The presidential race had also been altered.
Republican Donald Trump, who had been trailing badly in the polls when the new emails were revealed, had since narrowed the gap, leaning on a message that Clinton was “crooked” and likely to be charged.
Clinton, who had been trying to expand the electoral map by focusing on red states that included Georgia and Arizona, drew back to defend blue turf like Michigan and Pennsylvania. In those days, millions of votes were cast.
Nine days of the FBI tainting early voting results. Over 41 million Americans have voted early through this weekend ahead of the election. There is no way to know how many of those votes were cast based upon the taint of the latest FBI investigation. This is a classic example of why the FBI has a policy not to disclose investigations during the final 60 days of a campaign — this investigation turned out to be a nothing burger.
But the FBI, by injecting itself into this campaign, altered the trajectory of the race, and on some level has effected the outcome of the vote not just for president, but for other candidates on the ballot as well.
The part of this story that has been under-reported by the media is the internal divisions within the FBI caused by “rogue” FBI agents who support Donald Trump leaking to the media, and their connections to Trump surrogate Rudy Guilliani. Joe Conason reports, In The Shadows, Rogue FBI Agents Deface Democracy:
Whatever the outcome next Tuesday, our political system crossed a perilous rubicon during the days leading up to that climax: For the first time in recent memory, officials of the nation’s premier law enforcement agency sought to influence a national election with illicit leaks.
Murky information about investigations of Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Clinton Foundation, even fraudulent rumors of “indictments” have flooded the media, all somehow traced back to the FBI — with Rudolph Giuliani of the Trump campaign boasting on Fox News that he had advance knowledge of these manipulations.
Owing to his longstanding connections with the bureau, Giuliani had predicted “a couple of surprises” to come in late October, just days before FBI director James Comey sent his fateful letter to Congress about reviewing new emails in the Clinton case he closed last July.
“You’ll see, and I think it will be enormously effective,” he said on Fox News. In fact. Giuliani had joined in publicly pressuring Comey for months, claiming to know of a “revolt” among agents against the decision not to prosecute Clinton.
Having covered the investigations of the New York FBI office for more than 30 years, reporter Wayne Barrett drew the connections between Giuliani, former FBI supervisor James Kallstrom (also a vocal Trump supporter), and the leaks that have plagued the Clinton campaign in The Daily Beast. Among the handful of real charitable donations ever made by Trump are some generous payments to a charity headed by Kallstrom — who, like Giuliani, predicted last summer that disgruntled agents might reveal “a lot more of the facts” about the email probe “come out in the next few months.”
Now perhaps those agents — along with Giuliani, Kallstrom, and their friend Donald Trump — don’t understand that there was nothing scandalous, let alone criminal, in Clinton’s decision to use a private email account like her predecessor Colin Powell. Perhaps they don’t understand that Clinton’s handling of “classified” emails — characterized as “extremely careless” by Comey, in one of his departures from normal Justice Department practice — was altogether routine in the federal government, where classification standards vary by department and change often. Perhaps they also don’t understand why Comey found that the evidence showed no bad intent by Clinton or the lawyers who reviewed her emails to delete personal material.
And perhaps they don’t realize why the public integrity professionals at the Justice Department rejected their ridiculous determination to investigate the Clinton Foundation, based on discredited accusations in a book created and publicized by the political extremist — [Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash, president of the “Government Accountability Institute,” which is chaired by Stephen K. Bannon of Breitbart.com) who later became the chief executive of Trump’s campaign. (The reported eagerness of federal agents to pursue the canards in that book doesn’t reflect well on their forensic skills, but that’s a different problem.)
It is more likely that the FBI agents involved in this operation do understand why prosecutors — including Comey, a former U. S. attorney and deputy attorney general — but simply don’t care because they are right-wing ideologues with a partisan preference. But that distinction doesn’t matter much, because in either case they have violated their oaths and their duty as federal agents, by seeking to influence this election through leaks.
Leaking investigative material is always a violation of the rules that govern the judicial system — which protect the rights of all citizens. In the days and weeks before an election, violating those rules to achieve a partisan objective is an assault on democracy.
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In a police state, prosecutors and police agents seek to direct politics from the shadows. In a democracy, law enforcement officials must never attempt to influence elections. What the rogue agents have done in these past few days is all too similar to the standard practice in Putin’s Russia and other authoritarian states. It is far below the American constitutional standard that those agents swore to uphold.
Conason appears to be of the opinion that these rogue FBI agents are political ideological extremists who sought to sway the election to Trump.
The Inspector General investigation into these rogue agents which must follow should not limit itself to this theory.
We know that Donald Trump long has had ties to the mafia. Yes, Donald Trump has been linked to the mob. The FBI has had an inglorious past of FBI agents having been turned by the mafia they were supposed to prosecute into working for the mafia. Did these rogue FBI agents do this at the behest of Trump’s mob friends?
We also know that Donald Trump has deep financial ties to Russian oligarchs, and that Russia has sought to undermine American’s faith in their electoral system in this election. Donald Trump’s Many, Many, Many, Many Ties to Russia; Here’s what we know about Donald Trump and his ties to Russia. We cannot discount the possibility that these rogue FBI agents are working for the Russians, just like several of Trump’s inner circle, in particular his former campaign chair Paul Manafort.
The scandal that has been under-reported all year is this connection between Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash, the alt-right web site Breitbart.com, rogue FBI agents, members of the Trump campaign inner circle, and major media outlets. Last year I explained how the “Clinton Rules” of reporting works after the New York Times, Washington Post and FAUX News announced an “exclusive” arrangement with Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer. The feckless media falls back on old ways: The Clinton Rules. This “exclusive” arrangement for opposition research (of dubious quality) has been the source of much bad reporting ever since.
This is the real scandal of the 2016 election.