Now that the election is lost, the Democrats see no downside in portraying the Clinton e-mails investigation as its dispositive event — even though they told us during the campaign (which they expected to win and are still shocked that they lost) that the significance of the e-mails had been overblown, and that Director Comey had shown great integrity in clearing Mrs. Clinton of criminal culpability.Read more here.
If the e-mail investigation is seen as the make-or-break episode in the campaign, then there are two possible narratives: (1) Director Comey cost Mrs. Clinton the election by making public statements about the investigation that were in violation of Justice Department guidelines, including — critically — a statement just eleven days before the election that appeared to nullify his earlier exculpatory statements, and that could only have misled voters into believing that the FBI had discovered damning evidence against Clinton; or
(2) The Obama Justice Department conducted a sham investigation to ensure that Clinton, though patently guilty of serious national-security crimes, would not be charged — a scheme that included: refusing to open a grand-jury investigation; denying the FBI the ability to compel the production of critical evidence; granting immunity to any suspect who appeared guilty and might otherwise have been incentivized to cooperate against Clinton; imposing ludicrous restrictions on the FBI’s interviews of witnesses and examination of physical evidence; permitting subjects of the investigation who had received immunity agreements to appear as counsel for the main subject of the investigation, in violation of ethical rules and federal law; leaking information to the press that suggested Clinton and her confederates were cooperative and had no intent to harm the United States (which was not the legal standard for criminal liability); and a furtive meeting on an airport tarmac between the attorney general herself and President Bill Clinton, the spouse of the main subject of the investigation, only days before Mrs. Clinton submitted to a perfunctory FBI interview and was proclaimed innocent by Comey.
The Democrats erase your first argument by reducing the whole election down to the e-mails investigation, such that Mrs. Clinton’s many other flaws as a candidate do not matter. The Democrats erase your second argument by making sure the IG investigation focuses on James Comey, not on Hillary Clinton’s crimes and the Justice Department’s outrageous machinations to make sure she was not prosecuted for those crimes. There you have it. The public’s perception of Trump’s legitimacy may hinge on the public’s understanding of the Justice Department inspector-general’s probe. The Democrats fully grasp this and are lining things up so that they’ll win before Republicans even realize the game is on.
’Twas ever thus.
Monday, January 16, 2017
’Twas ever thus.
Andrew McCarthy writes at National Review,