The letter on Sunday by FBI Director James Comey to Congress stating the FBI has not changed their conclusions from July led to some outrage by Republicans and caused new questions to surface about the partisan role the FBI has played during this divisive presidential election season regarding Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server.
Here is the full text of Comey’s letter on Sunday:
Dear Messrs. Chairmen:
I write to supplement my October 28, 2016 letter that notified you the FBI would be taking additional investigative steps with respect to former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Since my letter, the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation. During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.
Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.
I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.
James B. Comey
FBI Director Comey’s First October 28th Letter To Congress
FBI Director Comey wrote a vague letter to Congress on October 28th informing lawmakers about the discovery of additional e-mails on an unrelated case that appear to be pertinent to Clinton’s e-mail investigation but he also admitted in his letter that the FBI couldn’t determine whether the material was “significant.”
The bombshell FBI announcement to Congress on October 28th when early election voting was underway in several states has surprised Democrats and caused some Americans to question whether Clinton could still face criminal charges if elected.
Based on election poll results, Clinton’s lead over Trump has clearly weakened since the October 28th letter from FBI Director Comey and just stands at 1.8 percent based on a Real Clear Politics average of major polls taken from 10/30- 11/5.
The Trump campaign has benefited from the fallout tied the October 28th FBI letter to Congress.
Democrats were upset by the FBI’s decision on October 28th to comment about an unrelated FBI case that may not even be materially significant with its ties to Hillary Clinton before the FBI investigation was even concluded and just days before the presidential election.
The decision from FBI Director Comey to not investigate ties between Russia and Trump campaign staff including former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort, as well as cyber attacks of the Democratic National Committee’s computers by Russian hackers has the appearance of a double standard.
FBI Director Comey argued in private that it was “too close to the U.S. election” for the U.S. government to name Russia as meddling in the U.S. election even though U.S. investigators have claimed there is a Russian connection to the cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee.
If Director Comey had undertaken a full investigation of Russian meddling in the U.S. election, it could have thrown the Trump in a negative light during the election season since it is a prevailing opinion that Russia wants Donald Trump to reach the White House.
Although Comey commented it was “too close to the U.S. election” for the U.S. government to investigate possible Russian meddling, he was motivated and willing to open up a new FBI probe of Clinton beginning on October 28th at the final inning of the election even though FBI officials in the Bureau had known weeks earlier about the new batch of e-mails related to the new investigation which is believed to be connected to allegations involving former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting with a teenage girl in North Carolina.
Clinton’s Original FBI Probe Revisited
The original year long FBI e-mail probe into Clinton’s private e-mail server was criticized by Democrats for taking a long time but finally wrapped up on July 5th with an announcement from FBI Director that Secretary Clinton and her State Department colleagues were “extremely careless in the handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information” Comey wrote in his FBI letter on July 5th.
Director Comey later admitted that culture of the State Department during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State regarding unclassified e-mail systems was not consistent with the attention given to classified information in other government departments.
“While not the focus of our investigation, we also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified e-mail systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government” Comey wrote on July 5th.
Director Comey acknowledged the evidence of “potential violations” of the statues regarding the handling of classified information with Clinton’s case but said it is their judgment that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case” while emphasizing the lack of intent.
“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” Comey wrote on July 5th.
“Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past” Comey added.
Comey said “we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts” and explained that all of the other prosecuted cases involves some combination of “clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice.”
“We do not see those things here” FBI Director Comey concluded about Clinton’s private e-mail probe on July 5th.
Comey wrote that they didn’t find any direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s private e-mail was successfully hacked.
Trump Slaps Clinton With A “Guilty” Verdict
Speaking in Sterling Heights Michigan on Sunday, Trump criticized Hillary Clinton, calling her “the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of the presidency of the United States.”
“Investigations into her crimes will go on for a long, long time” Trump said before adding, “the rank and file special agents at the FBI won’t let her get away with her terrible crimes.”
Trump maintained that Clinton is “protected by a rigged system” and is “guilty.”
Trump insisted it is now up to the American people to “deliver justice” at the ballot box on November 8th.
Trump offered a grim outlook of U.S. trade agreements and put forward a new conspiracy theory involving the same “rigged system” that protects Clinton is also being behind the movement to steal and ship American wealth overseas.
“The same system that is protecting Hillary Clinton is the rigged system that has stolen your jobs and shipped our wealth, all of us, our wealth, overseas and to Mexico. It’s a one way highway into these countries. Nothing comes back. We get drugs, we get unemployment, we get poverty. They get jobs, they get everything” Trump told the Michigan crowd.
Trump claimed that he is going to make Michigan into the “manufacturing hub of the world” and “stop the jobs leaving the state.”
Trump repeated his usual negative mantra about the media, calling the media the “world’s most dishonest people” and said “they don’t tell the truth” before claiming that he’s leading in the polls in a variety of swing states.
Most polls show that Trump isn’t leading in most swing states.
A CBS/YouGov poll released on Sunday for Florida shows Clinton and Trump in a tie at 45 percent.
A Fox 2 Detroit/Mitchell poll released on Sunday for Michigan shows Clinton leading Trump by + 5 (46 percent to 41 percent) in the 4 way race.
A Gravis poll released on Saturday for Pennsylvania shows Clinton is up by +2 points (47 percent to 45 percent) in the 4 way race.
A Gravis poll for Colorado released on Saturday shows Clinton and Trump tied at 40 percent in the 4 way race.
One CBS News/YouGov poll released on Sunday for Ohio does show Trump up by + 1 point in Ohio by a margin of 46 percent to 45 percent.