Cruz Nails Comey: How Would You Handle an FBI Agent Who Did This?

This really doesn’t seem that difficult. Negligent handling of classified government information is a crime, whether you intend to be negligent or not.

Hillary Clinton negligently handled classified government information. So did her top aide, Huma Abedin, who routinely forwarded classified government information to her husband, Anthony Weiner. Not just one or two pieces of classified information. Hundreds of pieces from thousands of emails – all to a man who lacked security clearance.

Hillary and Huma both say they didn’t mean to do it. It doesn’t matter. People who kill their children by an act of carelessness don’t intend to do so. That’s the very definition of negligence – by failing to take reasonable care, something bad happens.

And since the law forbids negligence, it doesn’t matter whether there was intent or not – it’s still a crime demanding prosecution.  Again, not difficult. Yet the embattled FBI Director James Comey decided that a lack of intent to break the law meant that both Hillary and Huma could walk without consequences.

At least one guy in the U.S. Senate was not pleased with that decision. Ted Cruz grilled Comey relentlessly over his inexplicable decision, and as you would expect, it didn’t go well for Comey:

“You described the reason why the case was closed against Ms. Abedin as that you could not determine she was aware her conduct was unlawful…Any first year law student learns in criminal law ignorance of the law is no excuse, and that mens rea does not require knowledge that conduct is unlawful.

In fact, the governing statutes – 18 USC 793f and 18 USC 798a – have no requirement of a knowledge of unlawful [intent]…under the terms of that statute, the fact pattern you described in this hearing [of Abedin’s behavior] seems to fit that statute directly. In that, if I understood you correctly, you said Ms. Abedin forwarded hundreds or thousands of classified emails to her husband on a non-government, non-classified computer. How does that conduct not directly violate that statute?”

The best response for Comey would have been to simply cue the sound of crickets. Instead, he attempted to answer by suggesting that company practice “for generations” has been to require intent even if the law doesn’t call for it. In other words, Comey admits that he arrived at his conclusion not to prosecute Abedin (or Clinton) not on the basis of the law, but his own preference.

Cruz was understandably incredulous:

“On its face, anyone dealing with classified information should know that conduct is impermissible. And let me ask you, how would you handle an FBI Agent who forwarded thousands of classified emails to his or her spouse on a non-government computer?”

Ouch. Obviously everyone of us knows the answer, but Comey decided to pretend like we didn’t:

“I’m highly confident they wouldn’t be prosecuted.”

Unless they’re affiliated with Clinton, Inc., rational people are highly confident that’s not the case.

BREAKING: Trump To Continue Love-Hate Relationship With FBI’s Comey

Donald Trump has had a love-hate relationship with FBI Director James Comey. The new president alternately criticized and praised the chief of the FBI during the campaign and post-election Russian hacking scandal, but now it seems that all is forgiven. Numerous sources are reporting that President Trump plans to keep Director Comey on the job in the new administration.

Back in July, after the FBI declined to recommend an indictment for Hillary Clinton, Trump accused Director Comey of corruption on Twitter, “FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem.” He also tweeted, “The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very [sic] unfair! As usual, bad judgment.”

In October, when Comey sent a letter to Congress advising them of newly discovered emails in the Clinton case, Trump praised the director. “I have to give the FBI credit,” Trump said in Politico, “It took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution. You know that. It took a lot of guts.”

A few days later, Trump reversed course again when Comey excused Clinton a second time. Trump accused Comey of lying to cover Clinton, telling The Sun, “You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days. You can’t do it, folks.” Trump added, “Right now she’s being protected by a rigged system. It’s a totally rigged system. I’ve been saying it for a long time.” Trump even explicitly accused the FBI of covering for Hillary saying, “Hillary Clinton is guilty, she knows it, the FBI knows it….”

After the election, Trump also had sharp words for the FBI over the agency’s conclusion that Russia purposefully worked to help Trump win the election. “I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News. “I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it… No, I don’t believe it at all.”

Now, four days into the Trump Administration, President Trump is apparently past all his concerns about Director Comey’s competence and integrity. Although the Trump Administration has not publicly confirmed that Comey will continue his 10-year term which began in 2013, the New York Times reports that Comey told top agents at the FBI that he had been asked to stay in his position. If true, there may be future chapters in the love-hate saga between President Trump and his FBI head.

FBI Never Asked Clinton Staff For Email Devices

The FBI’s on-again-off-again investigation of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information has shaken the presidential race. Now new revelations are coming out about the way that the investigation was handled last spring that shed light on how the normally efficient FBI could have missed 650,000 emails on a computer belonging to the husband of Secretary Clinton’s closest aide.

According to a report in Politico, the FBI never asked for devices used by staffers when Clinton was Secretary of State. The report, based on an anonymous source, said that while agents did try to obtain the computers that were part of Clinton’s private server as well as laptops where Clinton received and reviewed emails, they never made an effort to gather the smartphones and computers that were used by staffers in her State Department office.

“No one was asked for devices by the FBI,” Politico quoted the source, who is familiar with the investigation.

There had been speculation as to why the Huma Abedin, Clinton’s top aide, never turned the computer containing the emails over to the FBI. There had been speculation that Abedin had withheld the computer. Politico reported earlier that Abedin claimed to be unaware of how the emails came to be on her husband’s computer and now it seems that the FBI may have never asked to examine the computer. The email trove was found in a separate investigation of former congressman Anthony Weiner who was allegedly sexting a 15-year-old girl.

Republicans are asking how the FBI could have made such an obvious error. “The more we learn about the FBI’s initial investigation into Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server, the more questions we have about the thoroughness of the investigation and the administration’s conclusion to not prosecute her for mishandling classified information,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told Politico.

One possible answer is that there was interference in the investigation. The Wall St. Journal reported last week that a PAC associated with Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) gave more than $600,000 in donations and support to the Senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe. Jill McCabe is the wife of Andrew McCabe, then an associate deputy director of the FBI. After the McCabe campaign ended in defeat, Andrew McCabe was promoted to deputy director where he an oversight role in the Clinton investigation.

The Wall St. Journal also reported that the FBI had found the new emails in early October and that agents had notified Mr. McCabe, who instructed agents on the two investigations to get together to determine whether the emails were relevant to the Clinton investigation. A decision was made to let the Weiner investigators proceed with their examination of the laptop’s metadata. McCabe apparently did not inform Director Comey at the time.

According to the Journal report, the Department of Justice refused to authorize aggressive investigation techniques such as subpoenas, formal witness interviews or a grand jury. Opinions differ on whether the resistance from the Justice Department was due to lack of compelling evidence presented by the FBI or whether it was present from the beginning of the investigation.

McCabe seems to have been caught in the middle. The Journal article reports a call on Aug. 12 from a “senior Justice Department official” who was unhappy that agents were still pursuing the investigation of the Clinton Foundation in the middle of the campaign. McCabe’s defenders say he asked, “Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?” and was answered, “Of course not.”

Opinions differ on whether the call was simply trying to make sure that the FBI remained neutral in the election as longstanding policy dictated, was based on the prosecutor’s opinion that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict or was a move to protect Clinton. Some sources told the Journal that McCabe ordered the investigators to continue with the nonaggressive investigation. Others said that field agents were told to “stand down” based on orders from McCabe.

Whatever the reason, the FBI’s failure to mount a full investigation last year led directly to the Director Comey’s October surprise for the Clinton campaign last week. If Clinton used influence within the Department of Justice to stymie investigators, the sudden reappearance of the FBI investigation may be poetic justice.

Email Scandal Will Hurt Hillary, But Probably Less Than You Think

Last Friday, FBI Director James Comey dropped a bomb in the middle of the presidential election. Comey’s revelation that the FBI had found additional emails that might be pertinent to investigation of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information turned the campaign on its ear. The big question is how the Comey bombshell will affect the outcome of the election.

Donald Trump was quick to capitalize on Comey’s letter to Congress, calling it the “biggest political scandal since Watergate” according to USA Today. For her part, the Clinton campaign says the emails are nothing new and that voters have already made up their minds about her use of a private server while Secretary of State. The truth is that the revived scandal will almost certainly benefit Donald Trump, but probably by less than you think.

The bottom line is that Hillary Clinton’s image is unlikely to go much lower. Both candidates are historically unpopular. Even though Hillary Clinton’s unfavorable rating has been deep in negative territory for the entire campaign, Donald Trump’s has consistently been worse. People know them both and dislike them both.

Trump has alienated large swaths of the electorate over the past year. Those voters are unlikely to rally to his banner in the wake of renewed questions about Hillary’s emails. After campaigning for a wall on the Mexican border and deportation of illegal immigrants, a recent NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll found Trump 50 points behind Hillary with Hispanic voters, who make up a large share of voters in many swing states. After weeks of accusations of sexual misconduct, Clinton led Trump by 10 points among women according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released last week. Trump led by only two points among Republican women. Other recent polling found Trump with only four percent support among black voters and 21 percent among millennials. Perhaps with the exception of Republican women, few of these voters are likely to switch to Trump.

In the same way that many Trump supporters refused to believe the allegations against Donald Trump, many hardcore Clinton supporters and Democrats will simply refuse to accept the revelation of an additional trove of emails or rationalize it away. As Trump supporters argued against the credibility of Trump’s accusers, Clinton supporters will argue that the email scandal is almost two years old and has already been considered by voters after Director Comey’s July announcement that Clinton’s private server was careless, but not criminal.

Essentially, most people have made up their minds that the other candidate is worse than whatever problems their own candidate might have. According to Real Clear Politics, about 85 to 90 percent of the electorate has consistently supported either Trump or Hillary regardless of scandals or bad news of the day. Third party candidates account for another five to 10 percent. That leaves only about five percent of voters who are undecided and perhaps another five percent whose support for their candidate is soft enough to change. This means that the impact of the email scandal will be felt among a tiny sliver of the electorate.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that two-thirds of likely voters said that the investigation makes no difference in their support for Clinton. One-third said that it made them less likely to support Clinton, but nearly 70 percent of these voters already leaned Republican. This leaves about 10 percent of voters who are less likely to support Clinton and who weren’t already unlikely to vote for her.

The timing of the scandal also works against Donald Trump. For maximum effectiveness in the campaign, the Comey letter would have come several weeks earlier. In some states, early voting had already been going on for weeks. Reports on early voting show that Democrats were overrepresented in early voting in battleground states. These votes were locked in before Comey’s announcement. The fact that these voters cannot now change their vote or stay home works in Hillary’s favor.

Aside from swinging a few voters, there are possible additional benefits for Trump from the scandal. First, it could dampen enthusiasm among Democrats and cause some to stay home. Even with a high unfavorable rating, FiveThirtyEight noted last week that a majority of Clinton voters are voting for Hillary rather than against Trump. Even if new questions about her competence as commander-in-chief don’t push voters to Trump or third party candidates such as Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, some might find themselves busy with other activities on Election Day.

The reminder of Clinton’s failings as Secretary of State is also likely to help motivate the Republican base. An ABC News poll released on Oct. 31 shows a surge in Republican support for Donald Trump. The poll, which was taken during the period in which Comey notified Congress, shows Trump at 89 percent support among Republicans, up from a low of 82 percent. The upswing of support from undecided Republicans accounts for much of the tightening in the polls.

The final caveat is that national polls are misleading at this stage of the election. There are 51 separate elections rather than a single national vote. While many swing states are close and the email scandal may tip some of them to Donald Trump, the Electoral College still heavily favors Hillary Clinton. Clinton would have to lose virtually every contested state (Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio plus a blue state such as Pennsylvania or Wisconsin to lose the Electoral College. At this point, such a sweep by Donald Trump seems unlikely.

Barring another October surprise, it seems likely that Director Comey’s shocking announcement will have only a marginal effect on the election. It may help to shore up states like Arizona, Georgia, Missouri and Texas by energizing Republican support and could possibly push Florida, North Carolina and Ohio into the Trump column. The final result of the Electoral College is unlikely to change, however.

FBI Director Comey Lied and He Should Resign Today

The Director of the FBI just stood up and told America that nobody at the Department of Justice knew what he was about to recommend. He said that President Obama didn’t know. He said he was being “unusually transparent” in his remarks. He lied through his teeth and should resign today.

This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. Second, I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.

On July 2, CNN picked up the leak from DOJ that no charges would be recommended.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton in private and then announced that she would follow the FBI’s recommendations. She knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that no charges would be recommended. President Obama knew a year ago how big of a problem this was and made sure that every rock was turned over before he let Clinton off the hook.

For Director Comey to stand up and lie in front of the press and the American people, take no questions and walk off the stage taints the entire American system of justice. It turns us into no better than the Kremlin, inventing or ignoring any law that serves a political purpose.

What consequence other than facing criminal charges could hurt Clinton, who very likely will be the next occupant of the White House? Nothing. She, and the men who will occupy the triumvirate presidency with her (Obama is staying in Washington, and Bill will always be handy) will remain above the law and rule as kings.

The top law enforcement official in the government–the chief of the national police, if I may–has totally abdicated his responsibility and corrupted the integrity of American justice. He should resign today.

Here is part of Comey’s statement on video.