FBI Director James Comey is coming under stinging criticism today for his decision on Friday to write a vaguely worded letter to Congress that states the FBI would review new e-mails from an unrelated case that appears connected to Hillary Clinton’s e-mail probe over her private e-mail server while she served as secretary as state.
Although Comey wrote to Congress on Friday that he couldn’t assess whether the newly discovered material was even significant, he spoke in ambiguous language when he explained in the same letter that it appears to be pertinent to the FBI investigation.
Comey’s contradictory and loosely worded language has created confusion and led to widespread speculation about the nature and motives of the new FBI probe.
The letter from FBI Director Comey has also raised questions about how damaging the new e-mail discovery is for Hillary Clinton at the final hour of an important U.S. presidential election.
Hillary Clinton explained during a press conference that she is confident the new e-mails won’t change the FBI’s original conclusion on July 5th when FBI Director Comey admitted that Clinton was careless but not criminally liable for e-mails sent from a private e-mail server which she operated from home while working as secretary of state.
“The director himself has said he doesn’t know whether the e-mails referenced in his letter are significant or not. I am confident, whatever they are, will not change the conclusion reached in July” Clinton said.
“Therefore, its imperative that the bureau explain this issue in question whatever it is without any delay” Clinton added.
FBI Director Comey has come under intense criticism for refusing the Department of Justice’s request to not inform Congress about the new e-mail discovery at an early stage of an investigation and before a critical presidential election.
The newly discovered e-mails were confiscated by New York FBI agents from a computer laptop from Anthony Weiner, a former N.Y. Congressman and husband of Huma Abedin, a close aide of Hillary Clinton.
Weiner is alleged to have sexted with a 15 yr. old female from North Carolina.
During a campaign rally in Florida, Clinton rebuked the FBI’s new announcement of the new e-mail probe, calling the decision “unprecedented” and “deeply troubling.”
“Its pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election” Clinton said.
Speaking on ABC’s This Week that aired on Sunday, Clinton’s VP pick Tim Kaine offered the same type of criticism towards FBI Director James Comey.
“Now this is an unprecedented move, as your folks were describing earlier, because it happens close to an election, which is in violation of normal Justice Department protocol and it involves talking about an ongoing investigation, which also violates the protocol” Kaine said.
“And as far as we know now, Director Comey knows nothing about the content of these e-mails. We don’t know whether they’re to or from Hillary at all. And so this is a distraction” Kaine added.
Kaine said on ABC’s This Week that he worked with James Comey when he was in the Eastern District of Virginia U.S. Attorney’s Office and noted that during the first FBI investigation which concluded in July, the FBI weren’t releasing investigative information before the investigation had even been concluded.
“They did a very thorough investigation of this matter and they weren’t releasing tentative conclusions along the way” Kaine said.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democratic House member, also criticized FBI James Comey for his handling of the latest FBI probe.
“And at the outset, I think this was a terrible error in judgment by the director to release this kind of ambiguous letter. These may be pertinent. They may be significant. They may not be significant. They may not be pertinent” Schiff said on ABC’s This Week.
“That kind of an ambiguity bomb this close to election was a terrible lapse in judgment. The DOJ policies against making a statement about a pending or closed case… and certainly not doing it in the days leading up to an investigation…. is there for a reason. It’s designed to ensure fairness” Schiff added.
The Washington Post just published a new article this morning that states FBI agents knew several weeks ago in early October that the newly discovered e-mails were “germaine to their case” but yet still waited “weeks” before finally briefing FBI Director James Comey.
The Washington Post cited people familiar with the case.
The timing of the FBI agents to wait until the end of October, extremely close to an important November 8th presidential election, has raised some fresh questions about the motives of the FBI agents handling the case and whether politics has played a role to maximize collateral damage for Hillary Clinton.
Trump seized on the FBI’s latest e-mail probe and used tough sounding rhetoric to attack his challenger during a rally in New Hampshire.
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before” Trump concluded.
Trump has also said that the case against Clinton was “so overwhelming” even though he doesn’t know the true facts of the new FBI probe since the details haven’t yet been released.