FBI Director James Comey on the Hot Seat

The letter sent by the FBI on Friday advising Congress that the Bureau had discovered new evidence regarding Hillary Clinton’s email server, has created a storm of controversy and put FBI Director James Comey on the hot seat.

Clinton campaign is livid

The Clinton campaign, who was pleased with Director Comey last July when he announced that the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails concluded that there were no grounds to go forward, was livid on Friday. Campaign chair John Podesta called the director’s action “extraordinary” and said the review was “long on innuendo and short on facts.” According to CNN, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her deputy, Sally Yates disagreed with Comey’s decision to send his letter just eleven days before the election.
Lynch and Yates objected after Comey gave advance notice to top officials at the Justice Department before sending the letter to lawmakers, law enforcement officials briefed on the matter said. Justice officials didn't sign off on Comey's decision and he didn't seek their approval, one official said. — CNN

Comey aware of turmoil

It is reasonable to assume that Mr. Comey had an awareness of the turmoil that his letter to eight congressional committee chairs and the ranking Democrats would have. According to journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, it seems likely that the FBI has found a “bombshell” in the emails that were discovered on a computer shared by Anthony Weiner, who is under FBI investigation on another matter, and close Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
We don't know what this means yet except that it's a real bombshell. And it is unthinkable that the Director of the FBI would take this action lightly, that he would put this letter forth to the Congress of the United States saying there is more information out there about classified e-mails and call it to the attention of Congress unless it was something requiring serious investigation. — Carl Bernstein

Republicans in jubilant mood

Republicans, who were unhappy with Comey last July and attacked him for his decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton, were in a jubilant mood this weekend. Donald Trump has made alleged corruption by Clinton the cornerstone of his campaign, and the FBI letter appears to give some credence to his attacks.
This is the biggest political scandal since Watergate, and it’s everybody’s deepest hope that justice, at last, can be properly delivered. Hillary has nobody to blame but herself for her mounting legal troubles. Her criminal action was willful, deliberate, intentional and purposeful. — Donald Trump
It is not clear what, if any, effect Director Comey’s letter will have on the election which is just eleven days away. In a normal political year, an announcement that the FBI was opening an inquiry into one of the candidates would be a devastating blow. However, 2016 has seen so many ‘defining’ moments that it’s impossible to determine if this latest episode will have any effect on the outcome.

October surprises will continue

Mr. Comey will be under intense pressure from both political camps over the next ten days to provide further details of what caused the FBI to reopen its inquiry. What does seem certain is that the never ending string of ‘October surprises’ will continue into November and keep Director Comey on the hot seat.

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