Let me get this straight. Donald Trump has been accused of tax evasion, sexual assault, colluding with Russia against the U.S., and yet somehow the idea that Clinton used a private email server during her time as Secretary of State continues to dominate headlines and influence polls. Now FBI Director James Comey has sent a letter to Congressional officials saying there is new evidence that may, or may not, be relevant to the Clinton server investigation, less than 10 days before the election. The Comey email update makes the bias against Clinton frighteningly clear. Will voters be swayed?
Romper reached out to the Trump campaign for comment but has not gotten a response. Trump has repeatedly denied any sexual misconduct with any of his accusers. The FBI also hasn't responded to Romper's requests for comment regarding whether Comey's move was political.
In July, Comey testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that, based on the FBI investigation, Clinton did "mishandle" information during her time as Secretary of State, but that bringing criminal charges would be inappropriate in his view, according to the Washington Post. Republicans were a little too mad, Democrats were a little too happy with the result, but the whole matter seemed largely settled.
The Clinton campaign breathed a sigh of relief and moved on. Then almost inexplicably last Friday Comey sent a letter to Congressional officials to update them on a new development in the case. New evidence had come to light, he wrote. What new evidence? He didn't say.
Subsequent reporting uncovered the new evidence amounted to emails discovered on a laptop once used by close Clinton aide Huma Abedin and shared with her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, now under investigation for sexting with teenagers, according to NBC News. Weiner and representatives for him have not responded to requests for comment. The whole sordid mess is just gross, but none of those details sound like a bombshell revelation regarding Clinton. The FBI is now working overtime to get those emails and determine their importance to the investigation.
Doesn't that sound like something they might have wanted to do before throwing a grenade in the middle of the election just a week out?
"In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear pertinent to the investigation," Comey wrote in the letter sent to eight Congressional committee chairmen according to CNN. "I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation."
You could practically hear heads exploding on Capitol Hill. Was this the smoking gun GOP loyalists had been waiting for? Could this new information sink Clinton's lead over Trump? Comey's letter didn't actually provide any details about any alleged wrongdoing on Clinton's part, it just gave enough information for speculation to run rampant almost before the ink was dry.
Why did Comey decide to send that letter? Both sides demanded more information.
The Washington Post spoke with several law enforcement officials who confirm the letter wasn't just a break with accepted policy, but that Comey was warned ahead of time by the Department of Justice that the announcement just two weeks before an election would be an overstep. But Comey went ahead anyway, The Washington Post said because he was more concerned that evidence could come to light after the election that would make it look like he withheld important information about the investigation.
This entire situation seems to be tied to the Republican obsession with trying to pin corruption on Hillary Clinton as far back as the 1990s. The Whitewater investigation into the Clintons' business dealings is what ultimately produced the evidence of the Monica Lewinsky affair. The Benghazi investigation is what uncovered Clinton's use of a private server, which sparked the hunt for evidence that she compromised classified information. Clinton is perpetually under fire from Republicans devoted to finding something — anything — to pin on her and bring down her political aspirations. The Atlantic recently put together a handy guide to Clinton scandals to help you keep them all straight.
"It’s a target-rich environment," Chaffetz told the Washington Post about his plans for a potential Clinton presidency, according to TalkingPointsMemo. “Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”
In contrast, Trump seems to simply brush aside the women who have come forward with accusations of sexual improprieties. Where's the outrage for a self-proclaimed billionaire who brags that not paying taxes makes him "smart" during a national debate? Where's the disgust for a candidate who appears to be under investigation by the FBI for potential ties to Russia, according to NBC News? At the end of the year Trump will go to court for a hearing because a woman accused him of raping her when she was 13, The New York Daily News reported. But why is no one outraged or chanting "Lock him up" in response to these allegations (for which he still hasn't been tried, unlike Clinton)?
With all of this swirling around Trump, how can emails still be a topic of conversation? The answer is that the two candidates aren't being treated equally by the press or the public.
Clinton for her part, endured 11 hours of grilling in front of Congress over Benghazi. They found nothing. She's published decades worth of her tax records, and, thanks to Wikileaks, we've read her campaign's most personal emails. How does it make sense that Clinton is the one who gets called "crooked?"
And the Comey letter last week played perfectly into that narrative. Following the Comey letter, polls appear to be tightening. According to a new poll from ABC News, Trump is now leading Clinton for the first time since May, gaining a miraculous 13 points in the polls in just under two weeks, according to USA Today.
And, the cherry on top of it all, is that Comey reportedly said that it was "too close to the election" to say that Russia was meddling or controlling the U.S. election, according to CNBC. Why was it too close for Russia and its alleged ties to Trump, but not for emails that may not even be related to the Clinton investigation? The GOP can no longer hide behind claims of "transparency" when it comes to Clinton's emails.