Is James Comey Trying To Influence The Election? Here Is Why People Allege He Is
FBI director James Comey shook up this election, with just 11 days left to go. On Friday, Comey released a letter to Congress that announced that new emails had been found that are "pertinent" to the investigation about Clinton's private email server. But is James Comey trying to influence the election by releasing this letter when he did? The jury is still out on that one, but some people believe he is. The FBI press office did not return a request for comment.
According to The New York Times, the emails were found on former New York congressman Anthony Weiner's computer during the FBI's investigation. Weiner's estranged wife, Huma Abedin, is one of Hillary Clinton's top advisors. However, it is still unclear whether the emails were sent from Clinton or sent from her private server. But one thing is clear, according to Comey's letter, these emails are "pertinent" to the investigation. Because there is so much that people — like Hillary Clinton herself — are still trying to figure out, one has to wonder why Comey's letter was released Friday and not after the election. Many people are speculating on Twitter as well, wondering how if and if it will influence voters.
If we don't hear more from Comey, we just have to conclude that he was trying to swing election. And *that* should be the story.— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) October 28, 2016
Note to Comey: In news business, you wouldn't publish story so thin 10 days before election, w/o providing details. https://t.co/dvdQIVWElm— David Ignatius (@IgnatiusPost) October 28, 2016
Feinstein "shocked" at Comey. "FBI has a history of extreme caution near Election Day...Today’s break from that tradition is appalling.”— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) October 28, 2016
James Comey is playing games with the Presidential election process and the American people with his cryptic letter.— Matt Murphy (@MattMurph24) October 28, 2016
10 days before the Election? Comey should be investigated himself. Partisan BS. J Edgar would be so proud. GOP Scumbag.— ernest lamonica (@ErnestLamonica) October 28, 2016
Comey thrusts himself into election, going to bat for GOP. Letter says nothing, so Trump can claim -- anything! Reckless & irressponsible— Mike Signorile (@MSignorile) October 28, 2016
Comey investigated Hillary for a year found no wrong doing but 10 days before election he dumps this, no doubt orchestrated by Republicans. https://t.co/3ab83GGLIS— Shereen Skittles (@sheenA_8886) October 28, 2016
@DavidCornDC Why bring it out now if not to change the outcome of the election. Comey did this on purpose— Robyn Rudd (@lisette225) October 28, 2016
@FBI Director Jim Comey -you must come clean--if not it smells like your meddling in an election— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) October 29, 2016
On Friday the Democratic Coalition Against Trump filed a complaint against Comey with the Department of Justice, alleging that Comey's letter to Congress interferes with the election.
Inbox: Dem group files DOJ complaint against FBI Director James Comey for "interfering in the presidential election". pic.twitter.com/7PWEhF5PdS— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 28, 2016
If it is found that Comey's actions were "politically motivated," according to Politicus USA, he could be in violation with the Hatch Act. According to The Washington Post, the Hatch Act is an act that is designed to prevent members of the federal government (other than roles such as the president and vice president) from engaging in political activity. So, if Comey's release of his statement was done with political intent, then he could be potentially violating the Hatch Act. While Comey has been a registered Republican "for most of his adult life," according to Politico, Comey announced that he was no longer a member of the GOP this July. Therefore, if the investigation into these emails was meant to try to influence the election, it is unclear what his intentions are if he no longer is involved in the party that it would help.
Jason Chaffetz tells me he is NOT considering bringing Comey before the Oversight committee before the election.— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) October 29, 2016
Another reason why people allege that Comey is trying to influence the election? Because even former prosecutors don't understand Comey's motivation in opening up a can of worms this large with less than two weeks until Election Day. "The Justice Department's longstanding practice is don't do anything seen as trying to influence an election," former Justice Department and Democratic Congressional Campaign Spokesman told Politico. "That's usually interpreted as 60 days, let alone 11...It's completely unfair to Secretary Clinton and it's really unfair to the voters. There's no reason he had to send this letter."
But according to Newsweek, Comey had to deliver this letter, not with bad intentions, but because he was legally obligated by the Department of Justice to do so. After swearing under oath that the FBI was done with its review, once new information came in, "Comey had to notify Congress that he had to amend his testimony because it was no longer true."
While it is more than unlikely that Comey was trying to influence the election, his release of his statement, as well as investigation into these new found emails could not come at a worse time. And for undecided voters, this new information could be the deciding factor in their decision on who to vote for. Whether Comey knew it or not, this investigation into these new emails (which could turn up nothing new) could have inadvertently influenced the election.